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For Silver Mountain and UN 13,681, head north on the very-well established Uncompahgre Peak trail # 239 (or #6239 on FS Topo 2016). This trail follows up along Nellie Creek then climbs out of the creek drainage at about three-quarter mile and switchbacks to the left. Right at that switchback, leave the Uncompahgre trail and head north on another trail (#232 or 6232) that gains elevation on several switchbacks to a pass at 12,380 ft. Coordinates for this intersection are: N 38° 04' 06.81" W 107° 25' 56.35". At the pass, continue down on #232, losing around 1,000 feet in elevation and drop into the Big Blue Creek drainage. The descent starts out in a large tundra basin with lush tundra surrounding the trail. At 11,900 feet, the trail enters some trees. In 1994, there was a beautiful campsite here utilized by shepherds. There are also some other campsite opportunities further along the trail. Follow the well-used trail to a crossing of the creek. Where the trail crosses the creek, it has entered into a broad, open meadow.
Once across the creek, follow the "Fall Creek Trail #231 NW into another tundra basin, first passing through more forest and some tempting meadows. At treeline, there were two old cabins - by now, probably much more deteriorated than in 1994. Above the cabins, the wide open bowl continues and for skiers, may conjure up images of skiing untracked powder. The trail works its way up to a pass east of Silver Mountain at 12,700 ft. Its possible to hike to here and then turn west and follow the east ridge to the summit. However, we chose to leave the trail at 12,280 feet and head west to the first saddle south of the Silver summit. The hike to the saddle continues on tundra,then gives way to some moderate talus/scree. Basically follow the minor drainage. Once at the saddle, turn north and finish the final 500 feet of hiking on a mostly tundra ridge with minor amounts of rubble towards the summit.
This summit offers some nice views looking west over toward the peaks that sit between the Middle and East forks of the Cimarron. Farther in the distance, you can get a good glimpse of Coxcomb, which appears more as a pinnacle from this angle. To return, simply retrace your route, but we have sequenced Silver with UN 13,681, and it would be prudent for the ardent peakbagger to go ahead and include this in your day. Otherwise, you may come to regret it.