The peak's name means 'silver' in Spanish. This comes from the many silver deposits in the area. The nearby ghost towns of Winfield and Hamilton were prominent silver mining towns in the early part of the 20th Century. A Hayden Survey team first climbed the peak on July 26, 1873.
There are two commonly used routes to climb the mountain. One route begins near Winfield, to the south of the peak, and climbs north into a large marshy basin at 12,000 feet (3,700 m). From here the trail becomes steeper as it scales a headwall to 13,000 feet (4,000 m). From the top of the headwall it is a short rock scramble to the summit. The other route approaches the summit from the north. The trail starts from Highway 82 and follows the northern ridge that divides the La Plata basin from La Plata Gulch. Another much more challenging route is the northeast arm of the peak known as Ellingwood Ridge a very tough Class 4 climb with 6,000 feet of elevation gain.