Peak(s):  Storm King Pk  -  13,752 feet
Seven, Pk  -  13,682 feet
Nine, Pk  -  13,402 feet
Silex, Mt  -  13,628 feet
Guardian, The  -  13,617 feet
Hunchback Mtn  -  13,136 feet
Date Posted:  10/05/2020
Date Climbed:   09/25/2020
Author:  WildWanderer
 Uphill, Both Ways   

Storm King Peak – 13752, Peak Seven – 13682, Peak Nine – 13402, Mt Silex – 13628, The Guardian – 13,617, Hunchback Mountain – 13,136


RT Length: 34.49 Miles

Elevation Gain: 11,981’

Day 1: Approach, Storm King Peak, Peak 7, Peak 9

I’ve put off these peaks because I was a bit anxious about the drive in from Silverton, but the weather was perfect and they’re on my list, so off I went. After a Girl Scout meeting where we sewed masks (I have a girl working on her Gold Award who did an awesome job leading the meeting), I drove 8 hours to the Hunchback Pass trailhead. Along the way I saw a moose. And let me tell you, this is why they don’t call it “moose in the headlights”: they really don’t care. I sat there for a bit watching her, and then just drove by. She munched on willows as I passed.


The drive in on the dirt road was underwhelming. I have no idea what I’d been worried about? It took me an hour and a half, and was actually quite pleasant. These pictures are from the way out, but it was just as easy to drive both ways. I never had difficulty passing others, and 4WD was only needed once or twice. This is actually one of the better 4WD roads I’ve done this year, and if weather permits, I’ll be back again next week. Here are some pictures from the drive in


And the Rio Grande river crossings (easy in late September)


I found a place to park much sooner than I needed to. I’m not sure why I stopped here except it was dark and I was tired and it was a good spot, but I could have continued driving another mile to the trailhead and been fine. I parked, slept for half an hour (I’d been up for 24+ hours, and needed the rest) and was on my way at 5:30am.


Since I’d parked along the road I followed the 4WD road for 1.3 miles before turning left onto Trail 813. There was room for 2 vehicles to park at the trailhead. There’s a trail register here, but nothing official.


I followed the class 1 trail as it curved up and over and then down hunchback pass. As I was hiking the sun rose, and I got a good look at Hunchback Mountain. I didn’t have a topo for it, but it looked doable. I’d file that one away and maybe attempt it on the way out.


From the top of Hunchback Pass I hiked for 3.4 miles and lost almost 2000’ of elevation as I followed the class 1 trail down the mountain, crossing small creeks and navigating through willows.





Stay straight at this sign/junction


I missed the initial turnoff and had to do some route finding (because there is no official turnoff). However, after hiking for 3.4 miles there are some logs on the right side of the trail, split in half, and a waterfall. There are waterfalls all along this trail, so don’t just look for a waterfall, but look for the split logs. Leave the trail here and head west.


From here you’ll quickly come to an easy creek to cross and a waterfall. This is Nebo Creek. You can camp here, and it’s worth spending a little time enjoying the area.



There is no clear trail here, but there is a bit of a game trail. Several in fact. They all go to the same place, so follow stormy creek by heading west, stay north of the creek for better terrain. Here are some pictures.


I headed west for just under 2 miles. I believe the standard way to enter the basin as it leads to Lake Silex is to use the obvious scree/rock filled gully (dotted line). I didn’t do this, and I’m glad I didn’t (I did take it down and was disappointed, as it seemed more trouble than the way I took up). Instead, I went further west, found a different, smaller gully by the rock/grass/willow filled slopes, and ascended that way. Here’s an overview


And step by step




I was able to follow game trails the entire way, and even saw some cairns in areas. At 11500’ I turned left and headed south, then southwest up the side of the mountain, aiming for this narrow gully.


Here’s looking up into the gully, and back down from the top. The rocks here were solid and it was an easy climb


From the top of the gully I still had a ways to go. I headed south, and then west, curving high along the side of the mountain. I wasn’t headed to Lake Silex today, but instead to the pass, so staying high was helpful.




After rounding Lake Silex I headed up the rocky gully to the pass at 12800’


It took me 10 miles to make it to the pass. I took off my gear and took a break. I ate a packet of tuna (I’d forgotten to eat breakfast) and decided to leave my large pack here and just take some water and a first aid kit in my small pack for the rest of the day. Before I left, I filled my water filter up with snow and laid it out in the sun, hoping it would melt so I could filter it later.

First up: Storm King Peak. Here’s a view of the overall route from further down the pass below later in the day.


And a view from the pass


I did some scrambling, following the ridge north east. There really is no established route here, just pick your line. It shouldn’t be harder than class 3



At 13430’ there’ll be a small dip, and an obvious place to cross the gully


After crossing the gully, I headed north along the ridge. The peak is just to the left




I summited Storm King Peak at 12:25am


Storm King Peak:

Here’s the route back down to the pass





From the pass my next objective was Peak Seven. I headed west, losing about 300’ as I descended into the basin, and then headed back up towards Peak Seven. Here’s an overall look at the route


This was pretty straightforward. Here are some step by step photos. First, I entered the basin and then rounded the side of Peak 8


There were a few game trails here. I stuck high, and then aimed for a gully that would bring me to the pond underneath Peak Seven



From the pond I turned right and headed west up the gully


Once I’d gained the ridge I headed south. There was some scrambling here, and due to the fact there was snow on the normal route I had to get a bit creative. Instead of going up the face I stuck to the left and avoided the snow, and had some fun class 3/exposed scrambling instead. Here’s the basic route



There was a nice, airy game trail that led me to some rock slabs, which I used to ascend




I summited Peak Seven at 3:10pm


Peak Seven:

50 Photos is all this site will allow me to post, so to see the rest of the trip report, click here.

Thumbnails for uploaded photos (click to open slideshow):
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Comments or Questions

Well Done, Laura
10/05/2020 12:31
You are a strong climber. I appreciate your 13er Trip Reports that get posted. They provide quality route beta, etc. So, keep it up

Great photos on route
10/05/2020 20:20
Storm King Peak has been on my list since 1971. I attempted it in 71 from Trinity Lake and found that the climb from this side was above my skill level. Been thinking about it forever since I didn't make the summit. I know now the route up is the way you did it. Your report had the best photos of the route that I've seen. I think I could do it as a backpack trip. I found the same gully you took up between Storm King and Mt Silex on the way over to Balsam Lake. I have some photos from the same spots. It was half filled with snow when I went up it. I have to get my grandson signed up for this trip. Thanks for the report.


Great info
10/12/2020 05:05
Thanks very much for sharing this excellent information and for taking time to write up a great trip report. Excellent photos!

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