UN 13,253 is sequenced with four other summits and is preceded in the sequence by Virginia Peak, West Virginia Pk., Sheep Rock Mtn. and UN 13,235. One-way mileage and elevation gain are measured from the summit of UN 13,235. Round-trip mileage and elevation gain assume completion of the entire sequence of five summits. Virginia Peak, followed by West Virginia, followed by Sheep Rock Mtn., followed by UN 13,235 will serve as the "approach" for UN 13,253.
This last summit is the rockiest of the day as you approached from the northwest. The additional mile of ridge hiking took us about 45 minutes, slowed somewhat by the more tedious rock. Along the way, afternoon clouds were building and showers were showing up, especially west over the Taylor Park area, which we could clearly view. Fortunately, the showers never came directly over us and we were never threatened by lightening, but hikers should keep the weather in mind as they finish this last part of the sequence because it will likely be afternoon when you reach this section.
The ridge walk to the SE will begin with an immediate drop to another minor saddle, losing about 375 ft. Next, there will be a ridge section with at least a couple minor ups & downs followed by the final 275 ft. ascent to the last summit on rocky rubble. Enjoy the expansive view in all directions and savor this last summit.
From this final summit, we returned NW by way of the ridge to a saddle about ¾ mile back from the summit. Here, we turned east and began descending in Silver Basin, utilizing some of the snow to expedite progress. At about 12,300 feet, we found a small, pear-shaped little lake with wildflowers abounding all around, so we paused for photos. Below the lake, we continued to descend on grassy slopes into Silver Basin. We were now about to come to the best part of our day. This fairly remote and seldom visited basin was the abode of a nice herd of elk. Our descent path had led us to a location where at first, they had not spotted us or picked up our scent. So from about ¼ mile away, we stopped and watched them as they grazed and took numerous, fuzzy photos of them. There were many young among the females. Eventually, we had to continue on down valley and so our movement and closer approach sent them running away as we dropped to the creek and continued hiking down the open valley until reaching trees at about 11,600 ft.
Sometimes, forest can dramatically impede progress, but we had little difficulty with this particular area. So we were able to continue another two miles down stream and picked up the old pack trail along the west/north side of this SW Fork of Clear Creek and make our way back to the creek crossing we utilized in the morning. We arrived back at the pickup around 5:00 PM, well-worn out from the long day, but very satisfied to have added five ranked summits in one day with so little effort overall. Overall time without hurrying came to a little over 10 hours.
Another descent option: From the summit of UN 13,253, one could also find a descent route that would lead down toward the basin with the two larger, unnamed lakes located on Harrison Flat. From there, you could pick up the Lake Anne Trail #1462, follow it north back to Hamilton and continue on the trail back to the parking area at the end of the 4WD road. This too could offer a somewhat pristine and seldom-visited valley to explore, but would also add some more mileage.
Links to other information, routes & trip reports for this peak that may be helpful.