I did this after hiking Lookout Mountain and Bald Butte. It seems like a whole different mountain from the south side without the highway and train noise, until you get to the antenna farm on the summit. It is definitely a whole lot easier than the North trail. It took me less than 2 hours up and back to hike this side. For the third time on top of this one I had absolutely no views at all. Still snow on the trail, but no postholing. I hiked Dog Mountain after this just to make sure I got the most out of my gas money.
Weather was a combination of rain, wind, and sun. Got to the summit just in time for a brief hailstorm - I found a bit of shelter under a rocky overhang and ate my lunch. I intended to take the Starvation Ridge trail down but somehow missed the junction in the snow, so I headed down the same way I came up. I still haven't been on top of this mountain on a clear day!
April 26 and 27, 2002:
Started at 6pm after work. Up in 3.5 hrs. Got lost a bit on the descent as the trail disappeared under snow above 3100'. Back in car at 1am. Went home, slept 2 hrs., came back and did it again via Starvation Ridge trail (down Defiance Tr.) with the Mazamas group. Nice work out!
May 2, 2004:
After vowing never again to do Defiance (see above), we were back hiking up it again with the Mazamas. Up via Starvation Ridge trail/Benson Plateau back via the lake (forgot the name) and Starvation R. again. Hot! Nice views from top. Very crowded.
After vowing never ever to do Defiance again, we hiked up after being rained out from N. Cascades. As always: painful, hot, and never again (this I vow).
Third time up it and it hasn't gotten much easier!! My Brother and I Made it to the top of the switchbacks in a little over an hour(2000ft) Hit snow about 2800 and snowshoed straight up (not much of a trail with the snow) Over the boulder field, which is great if covered by snow, and to the summit in 3:45. Not Our best time but it was a decent work out. This Summer.. Defiance...Dog.. Beacon rock.. No breaks except to drive..
Full snow above 2800'. Route finding above that was..... interesting. See trip report.
Lots of blowdown on the trail, with snow lingering down below 1000 ft. Snowshoed in deep snow from 2000 ft to the summit.
This was a tough climb, very steep. It was difficult coming down the South trail, which seemed a little steeper. The views from the top were well worth it though. There was a nice lake on the way, where we stopped and had lunch. We actually saw some ultra-marathoners running up and down the trail. You could train for just about anything on this trail.
There's a lake up there???? I would have loved to have seen it. Great views from the summit, antennae zone is a bit distracting... fun trail though, very diverse.
I have climbed the North Trail four times. This is a great training hike for Hood, Rainier, Adams.
First time in Summer with a friend after moving to Portland in 1995.
Twice in the summer of 2000 in training for a Rainier trip.
And most recently in June 2001, training for Hood.
The first one in 1995 was the most memorable because of the clear view of Mt Hood to the south. Amazing! The views of the Gorge are stunning.
Great hike on a great day. 3/4th's of the trail is switchback through the woods. Last 1/4th is semi-snowcovered with a nice size rockfield near the top. Wonderful shots of Mt. Hood from the north as well as Mt. Adams and Saint Helens from the south.
This time I pushed through the rockfield on snowshoes, using trekking poles for balance. The easiest route is along the westernmost side of the rockfield.
A great hike on good trail up to 3800 feet where snowshoes became necessary to proceed to the summit. The rockfield, which is a nightmare if partially melted out, was completely snowcovered making for easy progress.
I missed the trail junction to the Mitchell Point Trail and ended up following a 4WD access road to the summit. Deep snow still lingered near the summit. Good views of Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Adams, and Mt. Hood.
Our group of 5 climbed the Defiance Trail, summited, and descended via the Starvation Ridge Trail. We encountered some scattered snow near the rockfield but it didn't make travel on the trail difficult. The weather was clear, but clouds and strong winds rolled in the late afternoon. Overall, an enjoyable climb and view of Mt. Hood.
February, 2003 - Encountered rain, sun, snow, and even a little hail on this hike. also saw a rainbow. had fun crossing the rockfield in the snow and wind. used snowshoes between the rockfield and the summit. no views from top, but for a minute or two there were nice views of the gorge from below the rockfield.
November, 2003 - Did this again the week before Thanksgiving with Dave Kreifels. It snowed almost the whole way up with waist deep drifts just below the rockfield and about 18 inches on the summit. we found a much easier route around the rockfield than the one I took on my first attempt. Once agian, No views to be had.
July, 2004 - I hiked up the starvation ridge trail past warren lake. I ate a lot of huckleberries on the way. This was my fourth summit of defiance, and for the first time I had a view. I could see Adams, Hood, and St Helens, but not a whole lot more due to forest fire haze. I returned via the Mt Defiance trail, and found a Blackberry patch full of snacks by hole in the wall falls. I cooled off on the way home by wading Oneonta Gorge to Oneonta falls.
December 12, 2005 - took Mt. Defiance trail and used my snoshoes for the final half of it. A lot more snow so far this year! The waterfalls all looked pretty neat with their ice formations. 5th time on top, 4th time with no view, 3rd time returning in the dark. Took a pretty nasty spill returning on the powerline portion of the trail when the ground gave way beneath me. Had to go back a few days later to find my hat and headlamp... Other than that it was a pretty fun hike.
August, 2006 - Hazy due to wildfire in Hood River Valley. Interesting view of fire and many huckleberry snacks.
It was a great day for a solo trip to the summit of Defiance...It certainly lived up to its name! I encountered fresh snow at around 2600 feet. At 4000' the fresh snow was probably 25" deep. Near the Summit, there was easily 36" of fresh snow. This made for a difficult last 1000 vertical feet of climbing with snowshoes. There was rain, snow, fog and Sun.
I climbed up Starvation Ridge Trail, Summited and descended via the Defiance Trail. The Hike was a 12 mile round trip loop with ~ 4800' of climbing in exactly six hours. I'm sore today! Great Trip.
Set out from parking lot at starvation creek trailhead at around 3pm with my brother (rookiemounter). Hustled up the steep switchbacks with little rest. Our goal was to reach the summit at sunset. Somehow we took the wrong trail and headed south parallel to the summit about 300 ft below it. Instead of taking our chances on that trail, we scrambled straight up the steep rocky slope to the towers we could see just 300 ft away. Made it by 6:15 (would have been 6:00 if we had taken the right trail) just 15 min to sunset. Ran down the mountain with headlamps blazing. We spooked a deer (or so we think) about half way down, that gets the adrenaline pumping. back to the car in a little over 2 hours. Trail is much easier in the 800 ft below the summit if it is snow covered.
It was a very nice day for the first part of May. Saw many people on the trail coming down as my brother and I were on our way up. About 3 hrs and 45 min. later we arrived at the top. We found a place in the snow to snack, then we headed down. The trail above 3600 feet was covered with snow which made travel on the trail difficult. As we traveled through the rockfields, we occasionally plunged to our hips in snow even as we walked on other hiker's footprints. (Luckily we didn't seriously injure ourselves.) Just as we approached the bottom, two frantic men were runnning up the trail. They asked us if we saw a lone woman with a dog, and they told us she was in trouble. She apparently lost the trail, veered off to the east, and fell down a mossy slope about the 2500 foot level. She used her cell phone to call for help after she realized there was no way for her to climb out on her own. The Hood River County Sheriff told me later that she was not seriously hurt and walked out on her own after the rescue team helped her to the trail. My brother and I made it down to the trailhead safely, but the steep hike took its toll on our knees. We enjoyed our first major uphill hike for the year, and it is a great training hike in preparation for the local volcano climbs.
The downhill portion felt much better after my first winter of running! :-) After previous climbs my legs would be jelly upon returning to the car. This time I jogged the level portion of the trail. What an amazing difference!!
5/12/2002 Over 4800' elevation gain on a 4900' mountain. What a concept! Awesome day with great views. Made it up in just over 4 hours with a 35 pound pack on my back. (just training) Great workout, cool snowfield near the top.
12/10/2006 Third time up Starvation Ridge ad a summit. Well, the first time was just to add some elevation to another hike. Second time I got to about 4100 feet and hit my turnaround time to get back to Portland for something else. This time there was snow in the parking lot. Snowshoes on at 3000 feet where you cross left through a small rockfield after topping out on the ridge. Actually was able to find the trail this time instead of going up the mound to the right. Crossed a couple viewpoints before Warren Lake. Then on and up through the woods to the rimed-up towers and buildings at the top. Very windy and ice was falling off the cables so I did not stay long. Went back down the Mt. Defiance Trail quickly. Up in 4 hours 45 minutes and down in 2 and 1/2 hours.
2/13/10 With Ian, up Starvation Ridge in about 4 hours, down Defiance Trail in about 2 and 1/2. Not much snow until we topped out above the switchbacks, some postholing past the lake, down in headlamps in the dark from about 2.3 of the way up Defiance Trail. Still made pretty decent time. Always feel it for a few days after. We were able to see a bit of Hood fade in and out from the summit. Looks like it was bathed in clouds. The gap between Hood and Defiance was a sea of clouds below.
Some time in 2014
6/14/15 Up Starvation Ridge (3 hrs 4 mins hiking time about 3:30 total) and down Defiance Trail (2 hrs 30 mins). Total time was 6.5 hrs with breaks included. Beautiful day, a bit hot but excellent views of St H, Rainier, Adams and Hood.