Silver Star, S Ridge Loop 04-May-2011

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VanMarmot
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Silver Star, S Ridge Loop 04-May-2011

Post by VanMarmot » May 5th, 2011, 5:45 am

Having had to retreat from Silver Star a week ago because of a lack of snow shoes, Wednesday’s truly bluebird weather offered the opportunity to try it again (this time with the right gear). Lorain’s description of the South Ridge Loop sounded interesting so I decided to give that a try – as an alternative to the Grouse Vista TH. The South Ridge TH is actually a side road, with gate and piles of gravel, off the 1200 road about 2.5 mi from the junctions with the “STOP” signs.

Image

According to Lorain, I was supposed to go 0.3 mi up the dirt road to the left and then find an abandoned road/trail going off to the right. I missed it - probably because I was so overcome by all the sunlight – and continued up the main road. Although it eventually dead-ended, it did so only about 100’ below the road/trail I was supposed to be on. So, after little XC travel, I was back on track.

Image

At about 2900’, the first snow appeared and soon covered the road, just as it was beginning to emerge from the trees (the snowshoes went on here and stayed on all the way over to the Grouse Vista TH).

Image

There were some tracks, but not many – nothing like you’d find over at the Grouse Vista TH. At about 3200’, the trail turned a corner, giving me a big view of both Silver Star in the distance and the summit with the Indian pits to the right.

Image

Rather than side-hill with snowshoes, I headed directly up the ridge past the Indian pits (well buried in snow). Once on top, I had a good view of Adams and of some large avalanche runs (arrow) coming off Silver Star’s E ridge. There’s a surprising amount of snow above 3500’ and it’s not all stable.

Image

From Silver Star’s SE summit (“Star 2”), I could look back down almost the entire S ridge and see Jefferson well in the distance.

Image

Big views of Helens and Rainier were available from Silver Star’s summit.

Image

Hood was also in view, as were some impressive cornices and small avalanche runs from the summit ridge. I’d say be careful of the edge if you’re planning to hike Silver Star in the foreseeable future.

Image

Based on some of the recent trip reports, I had expected to find the summit well-trodden but there were few other tracks in evidence when I got there. A lone skier and his dog were the only others on the summit this day. After a quick lunch, I headed down to intersect with the road up from Grouse Vista.

Image

Hiking out required a lot of side-hilling with snowshoes, which was not very comfortable. But when I tried it without the shoes, I sank in to my thighs about every other step. So, shoes on, I made my way down to the Grouse Vista TH. I had to walk down the 1200 road to get back to my car but there was no traffic, it was sunny and warm, and there were views, so it was a pleasant walk. I really liked this loop - fewer people and big views - but next time I’ll park at Grouse Vista and hike down the road first. About 10 mi with 3000’ gain.

Image

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weathercrazy
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Re: Silver Star, S Ridge Loop 04-May-2011

Post by weathercrazy » May 5th, 2011, 7:23 am

Great pics! Strange that there was only one other person...not that that's a bad thing! I was shocked at how many people I DID see on my hike yesterday.

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Koda
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Re: Silver Star, S Ridge Loop 04-May-2011

Post by Koda » May 5th, 2011, 8:23 am

VanMarmot wrote: Hiking out required a lot of side-hilling with snowshoes, which was not very comfortable.
For this section of trail (under snow) we found the hiking much easier on the ridge proper. Practically flat, easy hiking along the ridge on snow, the traverse around Pyramid Rock on its S aspect is easy too. We determined that even if snow stability was safe, the ridge proper would always be much easier hiking when under snow, better views too.
lightweight, cheap, strong... pick 2

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Roy
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Re: Silver Star, S Ridge Loop 04-May-2011

Post by Roy » May 7th, 2011, 1:13 am

VanMarmot wrote:Having had to retreat from Silver Star a week ago because of a lack of snow shoes, Wednesday’s truly bluebird weather offered the opportunity to try it again (this time with the right gear). Lorain’s description of the South Ridge Loop sounded interesting so I decided to give that a try – as an alternative to the Grouse Vista TH. The South Ridge TH is actually a side road, with gate and piles of gravel, off the 1200 road about 2.5 mi from the junctions with the “STOP” signs.

Image

According to Lorain, I was supposed to go 0.3 mi up the dirt road to the left and then find an abandoned road/trail going off to the right. I missed it - probably because I was so overcome by all the sunlight – and continued up the main road. Although it eventually dead-ended, it did so only about 100’ below the road/trail I was supposed to be on. So, after little XC travel, I was back on track.

Image

At about 2900’, the first snow appeared and soon covered the road, just as it was beginning to emerge from the trees (the snowshoes went on here and stayed on all the way over to the Grouse Vista TH).

Image

There were some tracks, but not many – nothing like you’d find over at the Grouse Vista TH. At about 3200’, the trail turned a corner, giving me a big view of both Silver Star in the distance and the summit with the Indian pits to the right.

Image

Rather than side-hill with snowshoes, I headed directly up the ridge past the Indian pits (well buried in snow). Once on top, I had a good view of Adams and of some large avalanche runs (arrow) coming off Silver Star’s E ridge. There’s a surprising amount of snow above 3500’ and it’s not all stable.

Image

From Silver Star’s SE summit (“Star 2”), I could look back down almost the entire S ridge and see Jefferson well in the distance.

Image

Big views of Helens and Rainier were available from Silver Star’s summit.

Image

Hood was also in view, as were some impressive cornices and small avalanche runs from the summit ridge. I’d say be careful of the edge if you’re planning to hike Silver Star in the foreseeable future.

Image

Based on some of the recent trip reports, I had expected to find the summit well-trodden but there were few other tracks in evidence when I got there. A lone skier and his dog were the only others on the summit this day. After a quick lunch, I headed down to intersect with the road up from Grouse Vista.

Image

Hiking out required a lot of side-hilling with snowshoes, which was not very comfortable. But when I tried it without the shoes, I sank in to my thighs about every other step. So, shoes on, I made my way down to the Grouse Vista TH. I had to walk down the 1200 road to get back to my car but there was no traffic, it was sunny and warm, and there were views, so it was a pleasant walk. I really liked this loop - fewer people and big views - but next time I’ll park at Grouse Vista and hike down the road first. About 10 mi with 3000’ gain.

Image
I am getting tired of your sunny TRS every Monday I go it pretty much sucks weather wise :D
The downhill of the mind is harder than the uphill of the body. - Yuichiro Miura

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VanMarmot
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Re: Silver Star, S Ridge Loop 04-May-2011

Post by VanMarmot » May 7th, 2011, 5:53 am

Roy wrote:
I am getting tired of your sunny TRS every Monday I go it pretty much sucks weather wise :D
Sorry Roy :cry: , just lucky I guess. Was planning a hike for Friday - which would have met your "not sunny" criteria - but had to work instead (but maybe hiking in the rain is better than going to work? :) )

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Eric Peterson
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Re: Silver Star, S Ridge Loop 04-May-2011

Post by Eric Peterson » May 7th, 2011, 2:16 pm

maybe hiking in the rain is better than going to work?
Yes... :P

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Don Nelsen
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Re: Silver Star, S Ridge Loop 04-May-2011

Post by Don Nelsen » May 7th, 2011, 4:25 pm

Excellent report and pics - thanks! That's a loop I've yet to do all the way. Got about half way up one year and the weather became to disagreeable to continue. Looks like the area around the gate has been repaired a little - the ATVers had made a sizeable detour around ite when I was last there.

Don
"Everything works in the planning stage".

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Roy
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Re: Silver Star, S Ridge Loop 04-May-2011

Post by Roy » May 7th, 2011, 11:56 pm

VanMarmot wrote:
Roy wrote:
I am getting tired of your sunny TRS every Monday I go it pretty much sucks weather wise :D
Sorry Roy :cry: , just lucky I guess. Was planning a hike for Friday - which would have met your "not sunny" criteria - but had to work instead (but maybe hiking in the rain is better than going to work? :) )
By the way you have the classiest reports in my opinion sunny or not.

Take care
The downhill of the mind is harder than the uphill of the body. - Yuichiro Miura

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Roy
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Re: Silver Star, S Ridge Loop 04-May-2011

Post by Roy » May 7th, 2011, 11:57 pm

VanMarmot wrote:
Roy wrote:
I am getting tired of your sunny TRS every Monday I go it pretty much sucks weather wise :D
Sorry Roy :cry: , just lucky I guess. Was planning a hike for Friday - which would have met your "not sunny" criteria - but had to work instead (but maybe hiking in the rain is better than going to work? :) )
By the way you have the classiest reports in my opinion sunny or not.

Take care Roy
The downhill of the mind is harder than the uphill of the body. - Yuichiro Miura

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Crusak
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Re: Silver Star, S Ridge Loop 04-May-2011

Post by Crusak » May 8th, 2011, 6:44 am

Roy wrote:By the way you have the classiest reports in my opinion sunny or not.
Well said, Roy!

And yes, great report as usual, Vanmarmot.
Jim's Hikes

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