I approached Shelly Mountain’s summit via a ridge traverse from Cabin Mountain. This is the final leg of a loop that began on Cabin Creek at the junction of FSR-142/Burma Road and a 2-track jeep road alongside Cabin Creek. Please consult the Southwest Ridge Route of Cabin Mountain for more details.
Southwest Ridge, Class 2
From the summit of Shelly Mountain, descend the ridge west then southwest to a minor saddle just northeast of Point 10510. This upper section of the ridge is crumbly, loose talus and scree. Scramble over Point 10510 and down easy chip-rock to reach a flat tundra area at 10,060 feet. It’s now time to descend into the Cabin Creek drainage.
Descend WNW on a tundra-and-rock shoulder that leads to a fork in the upper reaches of Cabin Creek at 8,960 feet. You’ll find a good elk trail on the West Side of the creek here. Follow the elk trail north alongside the creek. The creek drainage turns hard left/west and the elk trail disappears. Begin an arduous bushwhack down the narrow Cabin Creek drainage, moving from side to side as necessary and fighting for good footing on the steeply-angled terrain on both sides of the creek.
As you move farther downstream, move to the north side of the creek to avoid thick willows, marshes, and ponds that litter Cabin Creek proper. After crossing a small feeder stream just northeast of Point 8490, contour around the south face of Cabin Mountain to find an excellent cattle trail that gets you across Redbird Gulch and leads you back to the two-track jeep road where your journey began. Follow the two-track jeep road back to the road junction where your parked vehicle awaits.