The North and West Faces offer mostly solid quartzite climbing. The only published routes I know of are found in the AAJ (Jim Beyer apparently put up an 18 pitch 5.7, and there is a 5.10 A1 put up by Rex Wolters). The basin that lies at the foot of the northern flanks of The Silex is beautiful with running water and easy access to the mountain. There are also two other grand peaks on either side of the Silex, The Guardian to the East and Storm King to the West. All offer great multi-pitch alpine rock climbs in a beautiful wilderness setting. There is lots of first ascent potential!
In summer, the easiest approach is to take Stony Pass (4WD) either from Silverton or Creede.
Drive northeast on Highway 110 out of Silverton about 4 miles and turn right on Colorado 4 Rd. Drive approximately 2 miles and turn left on 3 Rd. towards Stoney Pass. Drive approximately 8 miles on a rough high clearance road (4x4 recommended) over Stoney Pass and down to the intersection of FR 506 to Kite Lake. Take a right on FR 506 and drive approximately 6 miles to the trailhead which will be on your left about 1/2 mile before arriving at Kite Lake. There is a very small parking lot at the trailhead but there are other places to park before and after the trailhead.(www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock/154517/mount-silex.html).
From the trailhead, hike up and over Hunchback Pass and down into the forested valley where the Vallecito Creek trail continues to run south. If you can't find the mountain from here, I'm sorry. The full approach from the trailhead is approximately seven miles.
This is a route deep in the heart of the San Juan Mountains, the East Grenadiers. The route ascends on the left of a large, right-facing dihedral on the West side of the North Face of The Silex. The first four pitches skirt the left of the dihedral and offer perfectly solid, near vertical, 5.8, quartzite climbing. The crux is dealing with the massive runouts. The quartzite is solid but offers few options in places for gear. Some sections offer almost no protection with twenty feet between n...[more]Browse More Classics in CO
A few clarifications.... Routes on Mt. Silex are generally done on the north face and the northwest/west face...not the east face. Also, you don't have to drive to Beartown for reasonable access into Stormy Gulch. From Highland Mary Lakes trailhead, you can punch it east across the divide, dropping into the Vallecito Lake drainage near White Dome Peak. This drainage brings you down to the Vallecito Creek trail proper, and right to the bottom of Stormy Gulch. Hike is appx. 12 miles from Highland Mary. You could also approach via Vestal Basin for the full Grenadier tour....
Hunchback Pass is definitely the most reasonable access to the East Grenadiers. Better yet you can go all the way up to Kite Lake and hike in almost a straight line into the basin below the north face of Silex in about three miles for a six mile round trip. You're right about the east face comment, a little dyslexia on my part.