Silver Star (S Ridge) 03-Dec-2014

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VanMarmot
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Silver Star (S Ridge) 03-Dec-2014

Post by VanMarmot » December 3rd, 2014, 5:32 pm

Just a quick hike up my favorite route on Silver Star for some exercise and to see how cold I could get even wearing multiple layers of clothing. Heading E on Hwy 14 toward the TH, I was greeted by a pretty amazing sunrise - totally out of line with the weather forecasts predicting rain and gloom (but they got the cold part right!). The line of headlights to the left is a wreck that pretty much closed W bound 14 right at rush hour. :(

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From the TH (and I use that term loosely), I followed the "new" logging road up to where (arrow) the old S Ridge trail/road now starts,

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and where it looks like the ATV folks have cleared out the logging trash that clogged the trail last year; now it's wide-open.

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But there is a new clearcut just E of the trail about 0.25 mi N of the logging road and some of the trees that were not cut and removed have now fallen across the trail. The ATV'ers have more work to do.

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But after that, the trail is open and snow free up to where it turns the corner for the iconic view of the Indian Pits and Silver Star in the distance.

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I had heard the wind as I worked my way up the trail to this point, but as I started up the S Ridge, I caught the full, bone chilling force of it! It was something of a struggle to get up the ridge with the wind trying to find its way – and often succeeding – into every crevice in my clothing.

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I finally got up past the pits for a view of Three Corner Rock (arrow),

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and Hood.

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The summit was curiously calm – but still cold – so I paused (briefly) for a view of St. Helens and Rainier,

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and Jefferson (arrow).

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On the way back, I could see the sun glinting off the Columbia.

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I have a Discover Pass but forgot to put it out today, so this was waiting for me when I got back to my car.

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So, yes, you need a Discover Pass even at the S Ridge TH (which is really only a logging road and a gravel pile). What amazes me is that someone was patrolling on a freezing cold Wednesday in December? The informal campsite below the road near the bridge has also now been “removed”, so I guess DNR is busy these days.

Classic short hike (8 mi RT, 2300’ EG) but with great views (despite the wind and the cold).

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kepPNW
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Re: Silver Star (S Ridge) 03-Dec-2014

Post by kepPNW » December 3rd, 2014, 5:38 pm

Beautiful, as always! I need to do that one again, as I really haven't gone that route since all the changes occurred down there.
VanMarmot wrote:So, yes, you need a Discover Pass even at the S Ridge TH (which is really only a logging road and a gravel pile). What amazes me is that someone was patrolling on a freezing cold Wednesday in December?
That is really amazing. FWIW, a mutual friend of ours got nailed (not a warning) there, wrote the court that it wasn't signed, and never heard back.
Karl
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weathercrazy
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Re: Silver Star (S Ridge) 03-Dec-2014

Post by weathercrazy » December 3rd, 2014, 6:30 pm

Nice report :)

I was going to head up there today, but after waking up at 3 for about 1.5 hours, I fell back asleep and didn't wake up until 8:30. By the time I had my required coffee, breakfast, packed...I figured I'll save it for another dry day in December...???????

Sounds like you hiked above the inversion if the winds were calm at the summit.

As for the Discover Pass, I have one, but I always think the same thing "What are the chances of someone out patrolling in the middle of the week in December (or whatever month)?

At least it was just a warning! I failed to display mine at Beacon Rock and got a ticket. I showed proof I had one but forgot to display and ended up paying a $25 court fee. I HATE Skamania County for how picky they are etc when it comes to all of this. I was pulled over by the same sheriff two times while up near Cougar. Not speeding, etc, back on a forest road. No big deal, just a nuisance.

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bobcat
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Re: Silver Star (S Ridge) 03-Dec-2014

Post by bobcat » December 4th, 2014, 7:54 pm

Great photos, as always! Also, thanks for the information about the new trailhead look in that area.

Most DNR employees work 9 - 5, Mon - Fri, and they are multitasking when they are out in the field. Hikers are rather low on their priority list, but they'd gladly check any parked cars they happen to pass by.

Signage has nothing to do with the Discover Pass on DNR/WA state parks land. Some of the signs the DNR did put up have been shot to pieces or uprooted by the adoring public, but in any case, a pass is required to park anywhere under their jurisdiction.

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Splintercat
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Re: Silver Star (S Ridge) 03-Dec-2014

Post by Splintercat » December 4th, 2014, 11:30 pm

Van, what caught my eye on your DNR warnig was the "...or operating.." part. I suspect that could be challenged by someone wanting to do so under a long history of precedent for our constitutional right to travel. Lots of case history on that subject, but in short, while it's probably legal to require a permit to travel into a gated recreation area or park at developed, managed trailhead, it probably isn't for general purpose roads that serve multiple properties, including shoulder parking.

Sad to see them resorting to this. DNR makes plenty of money selling off the public's timber, it's outrageous to turn around and ask you to pay for the privelege of driving past the clearcuts... on land YOU own!

But I live in Oregon, so just my two cents from across the river... ;-)

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pdxhikerguy263
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Re: Silver Star (S Ridge) 03-Dec-2014

Post by pdxhikerguy263 » December 5th, 2014, 11:42 am

Great report... How do you reach this trail head? My go-to for Silver Star is Grouse Vista..I have done Eds & Silver Star and Bluff Mt too... but never hit this one... help? Do you think it would be snow shoeable? I have snow shoed from Grouse Vista before.. I think fron the map I can see where it comes into the GV trail...Thanks!
"The world is big and I want to have a good look at it before it gets dark.” – John Muir

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VanMarmot
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Re: Silver Star (S Ridge) 03-Dec-2014

Post by VanMarmot » December 5th, 2014, 11:53 am

pdxhikerguy263 wrote:Great report... How do you reach this trail head? My go-to for Silver Star is Grouse Vista..I have done Eds & Silver Star and Bluff Mt too... but never hit this one... help? Do you think it would be snow shoeable? I have snow shoed from Grouse Vista before.. I think fron the map I can see where it comes into the GV trail...Thanks!
Just follow the Forum directions to drive up toward Grouse Vista from Washougal side (Washougal River Rd > Hughes Rd > Skamania Mine Rd > Rd 1200). Once past the bridge, look for a gravel quarry on your left and then, a little further on, a T-junction with a gravel pile on the right and a road going into a clearcut on the left. This is the TH. Park next to the gravel pile but don't block the road or park inside the gate (even if it's open). Display your Discover Pass! Then go thru the gate and up the logging road to the left to where the S Ridge trail goes off to the left (see my TR). Right now you won't need snowshoes - but later in the season you can usually get up to ~2800' on the road before needing snowshoes. The journey up the ridge past the Indian Pits is one of the best close-in to Portland snowshoe hikes that I know of.
Last edited by VanMarmot on December 6th, 2014, 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Bosterson
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Re: Silver Star (S Ridge) 03-Dec-2014

Post by Bosterson » December 6th, 2014, 2:20 pm

VanMarmot wrote: Image
Bruce, congratulations on finally posting your first selfie here! :D

Splintercat wrote:what caught my eye on your DNR warning was the "...or operating.." part.
Seriously. They want you to buy a Discover Pass just to drive there??? :shock:
Will hike off trail for fun.

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VanMarmot
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Re: Silver Star (S Ridge) 03-Dec-2014

Post by VanMarmot » December 6th, 2014, 5:26 pm

Bosterson wrote:Bruce, congratulations on finally posting your first selfie here! :D
Thanks ! My first solo selfie...almost makes me feel young & hip.
Splintercat wrote:what caught my eye on your DNR warning was the "...or operating.." part.
Seriously. They want you to buy a Discover Pass just to drive there??? :shock:
I guess you can drive there without a pass but DNR wants you to have one if you want to park there. :?

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K.Wagner
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Re: Silver Star (S Ridge) 03-Dec-2014

Post by K.Wagner » December 8th, 2014, 12:43 pm

Bruce,

Great report! I attempted the Grouse Vista route that same day. I was dressed warm enough, but for some reason that wind sucked all my enthusiasm right out of me. So after getting about 2/3 of the way up, and thinking about how the wind must be just howling across the summit (which you say it wasn't!), I bagged it. On the way down did the fun scramble over Pyramid Rock, so I guess that made the trip worth while. Found shelter behind a rock for lunch while I enjoyed the views.

This is the north face of Pyramid, I stayed on the left (east) side of the direct line.
Pyramid_Rock-N-Face.JPG
This is the south face of Pyramid. There a linked ramps that make it really easy.
Pyramid_Rock-S-Face.JPG
Kelly
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