Trip Report    

Mount Si Old Trail

Little Si Scramble + Mount Si via the Black Canyon

  • Fri, Jul 1, 2022
  • Mount Si Old Trail
  • Scrambling
  • Successful
  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The scramble route up Little Si is dry - we were all able to climb Open Book with minimal difficulty. The bushwhack to the entrance to the Black Canyon was somewhat painful, but could potentially be mitigated by choosing a different route. The Black Canyon itself was full of loose rock that had to be carefully navigated by a large group to minimize rock fall. 

Map: https://caltopo.com/m/EC9MP

Perfect weather greeted our group of 7 (this was my mentored scramble - my co-leader was Travis Prescott) at 7:30am at an empty Little Si parking lot. We started hiking around 7:40 and made our way up the Little Si Scramble Route. Open Book was dry and all participants were able to make the move to get up to the next ledge. 

From Little Si, we descended the trail until making a left turn towards Si in the main bushwhack portion to find the entrance to the Black Canyon. I made an error where we should have continued further down the Little Si trail until you reach the talus field that crosses the trail, then begin cutting up, but I foolishly thought we could save time by cutting off distance. After being scraped by Salal, Oregon Grape and Swordferns, we eventually found a few loose talus fields  that allowed us to ascend quicker before traversing. Once at the entrance to the Black Canyon, we donned helmets and began a slow ascent up through the loose rocks. The strategy that worked the best was a combination of ascending either side of the canyon where there were fewer small loose rocks, or do a diagonal zig-zag ascension where there was no one directly below you as you climbed. This worked the majority of the way, until we reached the end of the canyon, which is mostly either loose or hardpacked dirt. This was difficult to ascend, and there was a lot of scrabbling on all fours trying to gain elevation. 

At the top of the canyon, we turned climbers right and went another 700ft or so up through open treed slopes to the summit of North Si. Instead of traversing to the main summit, as everyone looked somewhat tired and ready for the day to be over, we put helmets back on and descended a rocky gully to connect to the main Si trail. From there, we took the Old Trail and the Boulder Garden back down to the Little Si parking lot. Since we had a fast team and a slow team and two leaders, after doing our debrief, we split into two groups to finish the hike portion at our own paces. 

For such a strenuous day, everyone was in cheerful good spirits, we ate fireworks Oreos and had a lovely time out with fellow Mountaineers. 

Ascending a talus field to access the Black Canyon:

Entrance to the Black Canyon:

Working the zig zag up the slope while minimizing rock fall onto others below:

Near the top of the Canyon:

Example of steep dirt scrambling:

Pretty neat terrain, though!

At the summit of North Si:

The Oreos (photo courtesy of Jess):

Very Type 2. It was a trip that had potential to go very wrong, but with such a great group of folks, it was a blast.