Trip Report    

Mount Defiance–Starvation Ridge

Outstanding adventure yesterday with our sister club, the Mazamas!

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • The Starvation Ridge trail is narrow, rugged, and steep and runs mostly along a narrow ridge. Best views are of the Gorge before entering the forest. It's in good condition with only a few easy to pass downed trees. Snow became consistent above 4,000' and close to 5 feet deep a good part of the way. We shared the mostly snow free rocky summit with a variety of what look like microwave drums and cell phone towers - a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to spend a night there!

Our group of eleven Mazamas started at 6:30 a.m. from the Starvation Creek trailhead on a beautiful blue sky day with temps in the low 50's. We enjoyed an abundance of wildflowers on the switchbacks leading up to the ridge. But Poison Oak is beginning to encroach the trail up to around 1,500' elevation, and required some interesting body contortions to avoid it.

Our leader got us to the summit with a combination of GPS, map, and previous melting out boot tracks. Micro-spikes helped a little on the steep stretches but weren't necessary on the soft snow. We missed the turn-off for our planned descent on the Mt. Defiance trail for the loop, but found a dirt road to a place where we bush-whacked over to the Starvation Ridge trail. This route added about an additional mile to the round trip. A direct descent down the Mt. Defiance trail is even steeper with little relief for your knees, so I was quite content going down Starvation (and the views down are better). A very satisfying day with friendly folks who simply enjoy being out in the mountains, come what may. Total was 14 miles rt. and 5,139' gain.

Our leader at the first morning viewpoint, looking north and east over the Columbia River:


Dog Mountain on the Washington side of the Columbia:


At Warren Lake:


Finding our way through the woods:


Getting ready to leave summit after a brief graupel storm:


No views of Mt. Hood today (looking north from summit):


A view while heading down Starvation Ridge:


Hole-In-The-Wall Falls, almost back to the cars: