gorerangerock_23.gif Rain to Silverthorne Ridge (easy fifth class)

I have done this nice rock ridge, easily visible from town, many times, in both directions. First was E-W with Larry Carter in 1996. Next was W-E with Bill Briggs (1997) while doing the Postman’s Traverse: Snow, Sleet, Hail, Silverthorne, Rain, and then back to my house in Mesa Cortina; this was before the Willowbrook Trailhead made for easier access. Later I did it E-W with Jonathan Kriegel and Herb Taylor. Then in August 2012, Elke Dratch and I did it without a rope (E-W). On July 2, 2013, Katie Larson, Elke, and I did it E-W in an attempt to avoid the low traverse on the N side that dodges many towers. Our idea was to get to the top of as many towers as possible, and we did indeed visit almost all of them, using a rope, and with one short rappel.

When going from E-W, one leaves the summit on easy Class 3 (moving a small bit E at the start to find a good way down). Then the hardest part is the descent that comes quite early on the ridge. I have now done it many different ways. When the ridge gets troublesome later, one can attack the towers if one has a rope in case a rappel is necessary, or just drop down into the N side and traverse under the towers without too much loss in elevation. Here are the ways we have dealt with the first hard descent.

1. A steep drop to an adequate ledge on the north, but it is about 5.1. A rope is welcome, as it is exposed.
2. A steep drop right into the col, but it is tricky to get to the start of this drop. 5.6. I have done it unroped, both down and up.
3. Like 2, but dropping to the N just E of the 5.6 drop right into the col. Elke did this. 4th class. It is tricky to get into this area though.
4. And in 2013 we could not find the right way to the top of #2 or #3, and ended up going down a 5.5 pitch that takes one just a few steps S of the col. Rope used.

So, with devious route-finding it can be done at the 4th-class or easy 5th level, with no rope needed, but it is quite complex.

A look back at the crux. In 2013 we downclimbed the dark gray patch of rock to lookers right of the slab that leads right down to the col. In 2012 we had no rope and were able to get to the top of the 12-foot lighter colored slab above the col, and I down-climbed it.


A closer look at that 5.5 descent, which starts from the skyline under the protruding rock on the right, steps into the corner, and then down the corner.


 Sometimes a rappel is the easiest thing, as it is hard, when descending into the cols, to see whether there is a good down-climbing route. Elke on rappel from a tower in the middle of the ridge. July 2, 2013.


Elke at a typical spot (2012).


Typical terrain on the ridge. Elke in a class 3 descent. Note the great weather, which is pretty important on these long days. Photo by Katie Larson.


Staying on the crest is fun. July 2013. Photo by Katie Larson.


A view of the ridge from the north. Rain Peak at left, Silverthorne at right. June 2013, from Thor Tower.


A view of the ridge from the S. Salmon Lake and the lovely cirque below the three peaks: East Thorne, Silverthorne, Rain. Photo by Katie Larson.


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