Ascent of Silver Star Mountain on 2010-06-12

Climber: Michael Wanberg

Others in Party:None
Date:Saturday, June 12, 2010
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Silver Star Mountain
    Elevation:4360 ft / 1328 m

Ascent Trip Report

If you decide to do this hike DO NOT take NF 41 road into the trailhead! It's a total mudhole in places (grrr to clear-cuts without erosion control!) and there is a much better way in (Dole Valley and a 1100 road) that doesn't involving burying axles in mud-soup. It actually took me as long to drive in from the main(ish) road than it did to hike this peak.
After arriving at the trailhead parking lot (which was quite full), I was deciding on which of the two trails to start out on when a woman on her way out advised the more south/westerly option. She said both put you out on the trail, but that one was "more scenic".
I took her advice and started out. After a short stretch through a woods/thicket the trail joins up with the old lookout road and winds through surprisingly open meadows. The views of St. Helens and Rainier are grand, and Mt. Adams would have been easily visible had it not been for some persistent clouds right around that peak. Mt. Hood made a photogenic appearance between two peaks for a brief while, then disappeared behind a false summit. I rambled along the road, reminding myself to look down at my steps every so often as I took in the expansive, sunny views. Somewhere near the halfway mark the actual summit came into view, and I could see quite a group milling around on top. The trail dropped slightly into some trees, and I was a bit surprised to see stretches of the road covered by late persisting snow. I followed a well worn trail through the patch, then a half dozen others as I continued on. I came out on the top and found it occupied by about twenty teens and some chaperone types. I inquired about an alternate driving route from the trailhead and found that there was one, then spoke with a few other hikers about other favorite climbs in the area. After about ten minutes most of the people departed, and I sat down for some reading and scoping out the 'neighborhood' stratovolcanoes. I could see all the way down to the three sisters, although Middle was only distinguishable from South with the monocular. St. Helens, Rainier, Hood, Jefferson, Washington, and all three sisters were in fine form, as well as Olallie Butte. Adams was still being coy, but the Goat Rocks mountains were also visible, and still snowcapped.
My 'descent' was only to the trail junction for Sturgeon Rock, which I climbed before returning largely the way I had come.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:1265 ft / 385 m
    Elevation Loss:320 ft / 97 m
    Distance:3.2 mi / 5.2 km
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:2 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Nights Spent:0 nights away from roads
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Elevation Gain:1265 ft / 385 m
    Extra Loss:80 ft / 24 m
    Distance:2.8 mi / 4.5 km
    Route:Silver Star Trail 180
    Trailhead:Silver Star TH  3175 ft / 967 m
    Time Up:45 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Elevation Loss:240 ft / 73 m
    Distance:0.4 mi / 0.6 km
    Trailhead:Jct w/ trail to Sturgeon Rock  4120 ft / 1255 m
    Time Down:5 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: Silver Star (0 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Silver Star Mountain2010-06-12 a
2Sturgeon Rock-West Ridge2010-06-12 b
3Sturgeon Rock2010-06-12 c

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