Mt Defiance/Starvation Ridge -- 09/09/21

This forum is used to share your experiences out on the trails.
Post Reply
smithsummit
Posts: 44
Joined: July 14th, 2020, 1:42 pm

Mt Defiance/Starvation Ridge -- 09/09/21

Post by smithsummit » September 10th, 2021, 1:26 pm

Howdy,

Taking time off from work this week to hike and meet up with a few people I haven't seen since before COVID.

The Mt. Defiance/Starvation ridge loop seemed like a good midweek bet to avoid crowds, take in Gorge views, and work off dessert from the night before. Arriving at the Starvation Ridge trailhead (7am) I found only one other car.

Miles: ~12.1 for the route below. I futzed around in few spots and clocked just over 13.
Elevation at the trailhead: 120
Elevation at Mt. Defiance summit: 4960
Total Elevation gain for the route: 5500
0.png

The hike begins with a half mile on a paved multi-use path:
1.jpg

Sun coming up; just after the initial climb up from the pavement. The Mt. Defiance trail doesn't really relent until the summit.
2.jpg

The trail is frequently rocky and consistently steep.
3.jpg

I didn't take photos for most of the Defiance climb. Views are limited and I was working hard. Closing in on the summit.
4.jpg

The main route goes straight past this temporary sign for the last 6/10 mile. It is also possible to head right and circle around to the backside of the summit. I have taken the righthand option.
5.jpg

Looking up NF2821 just below the summit. Has anybody driven to the summit? Seems like it would be a rough ride.
6.jpg

The summit of Mt. Defiance is populated with transmission towers, buildings...
7.jpg

Taking a break at the edge of the summit clearing before heading down to Warren Lake.
8.jpg

The skies were smoky/hazy but Adams and St. Helens were still plainly visible. Fall colors are starting to show themselves. Poison oak along the trail is starting to turn a lovely shade of red.
9.jpg

I saw only one other party all day; just above Warren Lake. Arriving at the lake... the temperature was perfect and I sat on a shady rock, watched the water, and snoozed for 45 minutes.
10.jpg

Gorge views on Starvation Ridge are spectacular in places.
11.jpg

Nearing the bottom of Starvation Ridge on an exposed knob. Views up and down the river.
12.jpg

The cutoff is closed due to a washout where some trees took out the trail bench not far from the bottom. Looking at blackened bark, it seemed like fire blew through from 10 to 30 feet off the ground. Damage seemed fairly light.
13.jpg

After a long day on the trail it was nice to soak my feet in the creek and contemplate where to find the best tamales for dinner.
14.jpg

This is a challenging hike with great views. Consider wearing long pants/sleeves if you react to poison oak.

Cheers,

Rob
Last edited by smithsummit on September 11th, 2021, 8:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Chip Down
Posts: 2708
Joined: November 8th, 2014, 8:41 pm

Re: Mt Defiance/Starvation Ridge -- 09/09/21

Post by Chip Down » September 10th, 2021, 1:38 pm

Has anybody driven to the summit?
Of course, how do you think the tower crews arrive? :geek:

Okay, sorry. :lol:
I suspect it must be gated. I'd be surprised if us common folk are allowed to drive that road.

User avatar
lordgares
Posts: 35
Joined: February 1st, 2021, 8:14 am
Location: The Dalles

Re: Mt Defiance/Starvation Ridge -- 09/09/21

Post by lordgares » September 10th, 2021, 2:31 pm

I suspect it must be gated. I'd be surprised if us common folk are allowed to drive that road.
There was a closed gate at the Warren Lake trailhead 3-4 years ago but more recently it is no longer attached. I've never felt like testing that road vs my CR-V, it looks pretty rocky.

User avatar
Don Nelsen
Posts: 4063
Joined: May 28th, 2008, 10:03 pm
Location: Vancouver, WA

Re: Mt Defiance/Starvation Ridge -- 09/09/21

Post by Don Nelsen » September 10th, 2021, 4:55 pm

I missed a turn on the way to Wahtum lake and found myself near the summit so went for it. It was not gated in the past, but may be now. It's very rocky for the final bit (4 to 6" dia. rocks, some even bigger) but with a good SUV or at least a high clearance vehicle and 4WD, no problem. I've seen vehicles up there on several hikes over the years. Motorcycles, too.

dn
"Everything works in the planning stage".

User avatar
Bosterson
Posts: 2190
Joined: May 18th, 2009, 3:17 pm
Location: Portland

Re: Mt Defiance/Starvation Ridge -- 09/09/21

Post by Bosterson » September 10th, 2021, 5:11 pm

smithsummit wrote:
September 10th, 2021, 1:26 pm
The cutoff is closed for hazardous conditions after the fire.
The Starvation Cutoff is actually closed because of a washout where some trees took out the trail bench not far from the bottom - you can actually see it from the paved path a little before you reach the cutoff junction. The fire didn't go east of the main Defiance trail ridge.

Nice to see the fall color starting up there! I think Defiance is maybe best to visit in winter as it gets the best snow in the Gorge.
#pnw #bestlife #bitingflies #favoriteyellowcap #neverdispleased

Webfoot
Posts: 1542
Joined: November 25th, 2015, 11:06 am
Location: Troutdale

Re: Mt Defiance/Starvation Ridge -- 09/09/21

Post by Webfoot » September 10th, 2021, 7:54 pm

smithsummit wrote:
September 10th, 2021, 1:26 pm
Has anybody driven to the summit? Seems like it would be a rough ride.
Affirmative on both. I do not recommend it. :lol:

Post Reply