BPA Powerline/Viento Ridge July 11, 2010

Discussions and Trip Reports for off-trail adventures and rediscovering lost trails
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Chip Down
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Re: BPA Powerline/Viento Ridge July 11, 2010

Post by Chip Down » June 22nd, 2016, 8:13 pm

This seems to be the only TR on this route, so rather than starting a new topic, I think it makes sense to piggyback onto Pablo's.

I too was inspired to try this when I saw that powerline trail as I looked east from Starvation. So enticing!

Left starvation TH at dawn, headed east on paved trail to Viento. Was grateful for Pablo's posted explorations, which informed me of a trail heading up to the powerlines. There was flagging, but not like Pablo's pic. Mine was white, with "forestry" in black letters.

The trail was in good shape and easy to follow. A well defined ridgecrest was to my right/west, which made me wonder if that would be a more fun/challenging route than this trail. Spotted a pair of waterfalls to my left/east. Went and investigated. No outlet creek; the water just seeps into the ground. Considered going up/south from here, but it looked a little brushy above, so I returned to the trail. Hit the powerlines and followed the trail east. I was expecting a T junction, but that was foolish of me; clearly there's no powerline road/trail through Starvation Canyon towards Starvation Ridge. The eastbound trail was in surprisingly bad shape. It looks so crisp when viewed from the west, but up close it's all brushy and faint. Is it possible I missed the trail and was following some faint earlier version? Should I have been parallel but higher? Never crossed a creek under the powerlines, which means it was smart to not follow that creek up from the cascades. Unlikely there was a cool spring; more likely it just seeped out of the ground under the brush. Getting high enough to enjoy the views, especially all the clouds up in the ridgecrests. Hoped it would be foggy when I got up there (it wasn't, they all burned off soon).

I was grateful to finally reach Viento ridge, and turned up, following a nice rocky/cliffy ridge. Not entirely sure it was the right spot, so after a while I went east to make sure there wasn't something over there, and then continued up. It was a bit brushy at first, but it soon cleared into easy travel with no significant blowdown. Lots of litter and minor brush, sometimes kneedeep oregon grape and whatnot, but no big deal. Reached a curious spot where the ridgecrest broadened and flattened, and there was a wall of, what, vine maple I think. Weird. Easy to get around to the west, and then back on ridgecrest like before. Followed a gametrail to the west just because, but was getting too far off route, so regained the crest. Found Pablo's rock/tree arch. It's lost a little since his pic, but mostly intact.

Right around 3000 ft (per gps) hit a high point, and then descended into a broad saddle. This marked the start of routefinding challenges. The ridge got indistinct. I knew if I got too far east, I could miss the road that would take me west to Starvation. But I could see from the map that I'd have to be way off course for that to happen. As long as I was going up and generally south, I should be fine, so continued on, veering slightly west just to be sure. It's extremely unusual for me to trust map and compass, leaving no just-in-case flagging. But it was early, and I had hours to recover if anything went wrong, so I just blindly continued through the relatively featureless forest, trusting I would hit the road. Never really had that eureka moment when I stepped onto road; instead, I spotted an area that seemed strangely devoid of trees, and wondered if it could be the road, so trudged uphill a few yards, and there it was. I came really close to making the mistake of hiking parallel to the road. And maybe I actually did a little, I don't know. No matter, it was a pleasant offtrail jaunt, I was having fun. On the road, I started to make good time. Almost immediately hit a junction that wasn't expected. Chose the right (north/west), knowing it couldn't possibly take me off route (although a deadend was a possibility). Reached a 4-way junction, and again I picked north/west, up, until I reached an area that looked familiar from my explorations when I was doing Starvation Ridge. Sure enough, that's where I was. Like Pablo, I didn't really see much of a trail east of Starvation, just a minor connector from road to Starvation. I followed it just to confirm, but then came back and continued up the road to its end, where I trusted map and compass to take me to Starvation. Funny, it was like 20 ft away.

Up to the plateau and a dip to Warren Lake. Was going to fill up my water bottles at Warren Creek, but found no lake outlet. Seasonal? Lunched at the rocky shore above the lake. Wrung out my socks and set them in the sun to dry a bit (lots of dew on the powerline road and up the ridge). Countless people passed by. It was maybe 10am, and I was at, what, maybe 3700 ft, so didn't expect so much traffic. A bit chilly, but generally very nice weather. Not cool enough to motivate me to pull my second shirt out of the pack.

Went in search of the Warren Rock Garden. Thought it might be tricky to find, but no, very close to lake. Fantastic place, cool rocks and great views. This is where I should have lunched. And the Mitchell Point Trail should go through here (an insignificant detour). But I was glad it didn't, as I saw nobody else in the 30-60 minutes I was here. Scrambled around on some of the challenges, and went north to see if I could spot Pablo's route from the old logging road that runs east of Defiance trail (more on that in a later TR). Heading back to the lake, I found a trail, followed it southish, discovered it runs into Mitchel Point trail near the lake. D'oh!

More pics in a few minutes.
Attachments
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An unexpected bonus.
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Not sure what this is.
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Starvation Ridge over there, and then Cabin Creek Ridge all lit up, next ridge over. A couple birds photobombing. Could see my car was still lonely down there, no crowds yet.
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Clouds almost gone, just a little band snaking its way west across Dog Mountain.
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Getting close to the ridge. Hoped I'd be following this stuff on the crest.
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Almost there.
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Looks like I climbed the tower for this pic, but no, was on ground.
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Note the chuck missing from rock, corresponding divot in tree, and rocks on ground. Compare to Pablo's pic a few years ago. Better get up there soon if you want to see it!
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Strange spot where ridge just ended, went all flat, and forward progress halted by brush. Easy to get around though, and ridgecrest was well defined above.
Last edited by Chip Down on June 22nd, 2016, 8:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Chip Down
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Re: BPA Powerline/Viento Ridge July 11, 2010

Post by Chip Down » June 22nd, 2016, 8:26 pm

A few more pics after this post.
Attachments
MitStar - Copy.jpg
A bit redundant, that trail. But maybe it predates the road.
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If you ignore the fence at the bottom, the slide zone almost looks like a road.
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Your tax dollars at work. And for once, I can say that without sarcasm.
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Flagging at powerline trail, where it starts up from paved path.
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Didn't know Defiance was blazed. Easy to follow through snow?
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From Defiance trail.
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Hey Tom, let's see ya kick this one over! :D

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Chip Down
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Re: BPA Powerline/Viento Ridge July 11, 2010

Post by Chip Down » June 22nd, 2016, 8:32 pm

A few pics of the Warren rockgarden.
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From some angles, this looks a bit like Snoopy. Viento Ridge back there to the right. Looks so far away, hard to believe I was there a few hours ago.
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Wanted to climb Snoopy Rock, could see plenty of good routes, but too risky. Settled for this instead.
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pablo
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Re: BPA Powerline/Viento Ridge July 11, 2010

Post by pablo » June 22nd, 2016, 9:16 pm

Hey Chip,

Thx for the TR - I've never had a chance to get back out there - glad to learn the route did not suffer much storm-wise. I seem to recall Peder doing the eastside route and he mentioned running into lots of blowdown. I like the visit to the rock garden next to Warren Lake.

Interestingly enough this particular Viento Ridge route has found its way into a recently published trail guide for the Gorge - he also has a variant going up another nearby ridge:

Day Hikes in the Columbia River Gorge: Hiking Loops, High Points, and Waterfalls within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area Paperback – September 1, 2015
by Don J. Scarmuzzi (Author)

I perused a copy in REI the other day and the author included a picture of the log/rock arch.

I think this is fair use - copied from the amazon preview:
Hike31.png
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Peder
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Re: BPA Powerline/Viento Ridge July 11, 2010

Post by Peder » June 23rd, 2016, 12:05 am

pablo wrote: I seem to recall Peder doing the eastside route and he mentioned running into lots of blowdown
Excellent memory Paul! That was 4 years ago I came down Viento Ridge and yet the blowdown was horrendous. Most of it was small stuff hiding in the tall grass, so to avoid tripping, one had to move really slow... I also found out the hard way that the trail over toward Starvation Ridge starts at the NW corner of the last powerline mast!
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Chip Down
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Re: BPA Powerline/Viento Ridge July 11, 2010

Post by Chip Down » June 23rd, 2016, 5:21 am

Shocking to see Viento Ridge show up in a printed guidebook.
Peder wrote:I also found out the hard way that the trail over toward Starvation Ridge starts at the NW corner of the last powerline mast!
Sounds like a good story. Please share?

mandrake
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Re: BPA Powerline/Viento Ridge July 11, 2010

Post by mandrake » June 23rd, 2016, 8:53 am

All three spur ridges at the north end of Viento are doable from the powerline trail. NW with the "boulder arch" is easiest for descent. Little bit of scrambling on north & NE ridges. Have also gone up via the old Viento Way trail route too although that side is super brushy and is not recommended. Lots of old logging tracks on Viento's eastern ridges although there is not much left over that way. Area was hit hard in the ice storms a few years back and there's blowdown all over the place.

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miah66
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Re: BPA Powerline/Viento Ridge July 11, 2010

Post by miah66 » April 21st, 2017, 8:45 am

Poking around the Viento area a week or so ago and I started researching. I was intrigued by this old marker on the HCRH trail, just W of the park headed towards Starvation, that seemed to point up the hill, and there was a faint track going into the brush.

https://goo.gl/photos/wVnEftJd5puTiWMy7

Anyone know the story?
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pablo
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Re: BPA Powerline/Viento Ridge July 11, 2010

Post by pablo » April 21st, 2017, 12:04 pm

miah66 wrote:Poking around the Viento area a week or so ago and I started researching. I was intrigued by this old marker on the HCRH trail, just W of the park headed towards Starvation, that seemed to point up the hill, and there was a faint track going into the brush.

https://goo.gl/photos/wVnEftJd5puTiWMy7

Anyone know the story?
My guess is the numbers indicate the powerline towers accessible from the faint track you were looking at.

[edit] If you look at the 3rd photo from this trip report you see the numbers written on the tape at the start of the trail I followed. Again, just guessing, the first number refers to the mile from the start of the powerlines at Bonneville and the second is the number of the tower in that mile. Mile/tower #.

--Paul
The future's uncertain and the end is always near.

Sugar Pine
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Re: BPA Powerline/Viento Ridge July 11, 2010

Post by Sugar Pine » August 27th, 2017, 7:32 pm

Wondering if anyone has hiked the powerline route as shown Lowe's 50 hikes and is also in Douglas Lorain's Afoot and Afield and appears to be the start of the Viento ridge trail? We hiked up the trail to the powerline, but lost the trail/route after heading east about a quarter mile. It was getting late, so we turned around, not knowing what the rest of the route was like.

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