Location: Sierra Crest – Squaw Valley, CA
Duration: 2.5 – 4 hours from Hwy 89
Elevation Change: 2,328′ – from 6,020′ to 8,348′
Map of General Route:
Visible from the Squaw Valley parking lot, and also near the 7-11 on Highway 89, this hidden backcountry treasure has been skied by locals for decades. You’re often the only people on the upper half of the mountain, while hordes of Squaw and Alpine Meadows skiers have no clue what you’re up to right next door. This long, mellow ski tour usually starts from Highway 89, two miles north of Squaw Valley Road. After an hour of low-angle snow-covered road, you’ll begin a moderate 1,500’ climb to a beautiful east-facing bowl. The top small round summit gives you a real “king of the mountain” feel.
With a deep snow pack, you can also climb Silver Peak’s southern slopes, from behind the Olympic Village Inn at Squaw Valley. Or, book a few nights at the popular Bradley Hut just north of Silver Peak. This rustic Sierra Club Hut sits just below the Sierra Crest, above the Deep Creek Drainage. It puts you in position to explore Tinkers knob, and then hit Silver Peak on the way out.
The terrain around Silver Peak is mostly low angle and treed. Route finding may be difficult on the descent back to your car on Hwy 89, so just find the snow-covered road you came up on. Avalanche activity is rare in the east bowl of Silver Peak, but it would pile up pretty deep due to the gully in the center. Simply descend on either flank in the trees if you’re not sure it’s safe. Try kicker skins to save time skinning up the first half of this route; you can cut your time to the summit by a third.