WTC Experience Trip To Mount Silliman: Three Laid Back Days In The Sierra

  • Updated: August 28, 2016
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

August 26th to 28th, 2016
Mount Silliman (11,188')

Silliman is one of those peaks that gets led multiple times each summer by various WTC instructors to the point I'm convinced our program is the biggest source of traffic for that peak.  It's popular because it's a relatively easy trip and includes a very scenic camp at Silliman Lake and had enough cross country nav to count as a Sierra Club I provisional.

I'd done it before in 2011 as the traditional two day outing and the entire group lamented how they wished they had more time at the camp.  So when Paul Warren threw out leading it as a relaxed three day I jumped at the chance and it just so happened I had an open weekend between two more difficult trips in August.

The trip filled up instantly with Kaweah students and when August rolled around we all drove out to a campsite at Lodgepole Campground Thursday night.  I arrived last having driven up solo and was fortunate to get snagged by the others as I was driving around trying to find a place to park.

One of the benefits of doing anything with Paul is he liked to make breakfast burritos for everyone.  Which is a really nice way to kick off a morning when you're just a bit short on sleep.

Breakfast burritos make *almost* everyone happy in the morning

The first section is on trail climbing out of Lodgepole and eventually meeting Silliman Creek where the nominal cross country section starts.  These days there's a pretty heavy use trail the entire way so it's not quite the nav challenge it used to be.

We were taking a break before starting along the creek when Grace realized she was missing her sunglasses.  Not wanting her to go without I volunteered to run back and look while the others continued on figuring I could catch up well before the slabs.

The first group back along the trail remembered having seen the glasses but didn't know how far back they were.

I found them about halfway back to the trailhead hanging off a branch.

By the time I caught up with everyone I was slightly winded considering I hadn't wanted to leave my pack behind (never a good idea when there's food in it in bear country) and I'd packed fairly heavy since it was a relaxing party trip.

These are the slabs right below Silliman Lake where we planned to camp.  They're steep but stay 2nd class as long as you pick your way around carefully.

Up top we reached our home for the next few days Silliman Lake.  We had it to ourselves except for one slightly odd individual out day hiking the peak by himself who we declared to be Jake.  Because he looked like a Jake.

Some of us wasted no time jumping in the water.  It was cold but manageable as long as you were moving.

Warren filtering water before dinner

Happy Hour

We saw another group setting up camp nearby which was surprising.  The next morning we found out they were just starting a longer trip and were planning to hike over a notch to Crescent Lake the next day.

We weren't in any particular hurry the next morning since the peak wasn't very far away.  People naturally got up for breakfast.  Followed by yoga...

And then finally got hiking a little before 9.

Near the summit the photo ops started.

Followed by the summit photo ops...

Followed by the summit naptime...

It took some work to get everyone up and rallied for a group summit shot but I eventually succeeded.

We returned to camp and celebrated our miles of hiking with another swim.

Followed by more napping and then dinner.  It was a grueling day...

Connie gets slightly threatening at dinner

Star watching at sunset

The last day was all for hiking out and driving home early.

The sun didn't hit our camp for some time in the morning.  Some people said it was cold...

While some of us took one last opportunity for yet another refreshing jump in the lake

And everyone was generally happier once we were in the sun.

Top of the slabs

Back at the trailhead
Some of us dropped by Cafe Mendoza on the way through Three Rivers which has decent food and a rather nice deck to sit out and eat.

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