May 17, 2011

Mount Defiance and Ruckel Ridge

As I mentioned in my last post, my main goals this year is to hike a thousand miles. So I plan on posting trip reports here as often as I can. Here’s some quick trip reports from this past weekend:

Ruckel Ridge to Eagle Creek

Distance: 16 Miles
Elevation Gain: 4,000 Feet

Depending on what guidebook or forum you read, Ruckel Ridge is considered to be one of the toughest hikes in the Columbia River Gorge. The trail gains almost 4,000 feet of elevation in less than 5 miles.

I can honestly say this was by far the hardest hike I’ve ever done in my entire life. The total distance came out around 16 miles and my legs were pretty sore when we got back to the car. Snowshoeing along the Benson Plateau was also a challenge, especially since it was difficult to find the trail.

Here’s a few photos from the hike:

View of the Columbia River Gorge

Walking over the Catwalk

Snow on the Benson Plateau.

Mount Defiance

Distance: 14 Miles
Elevation Gain: 5,000 Feet

Despite being sore from the Ruckel Ridge hike, I went out and tackled Mount Defiance on Sunday. Mount Defiance is the highest elevation in the Gorge and tops out at 4,960 feet. The total elevation gain for the hike is just under 5,000 feet and the distance was roughly 14 miles.

Once we hit 4,000 feet the snow started to get pretty deep so we switched to snowshoes. It was also tough to find the trail in the snow but luckily we found some footprints and the GPS came in handy.

The last 500 feet of elevation gain were the toughest since it was cold, windy, and snowing a bit. The visibility was not good at all so there weren’t any views at the top other than the radio facility. I’m amazed that the snow is still up to the fence in May.

Few photos from the hike:

Making our way to the top.

Snow up to the fence on the summit.

Warren Lake

These two hikes definitely kicked my ass. It’s Tuesday now and I’m still a bit sore, especially my feet. I’ve got Mt St Helens planned for this Sunday (depending on the weather) so hopefully I’ll be ready to go by then.

7 thoughts on “Mount Defiance and Ruckel Ridge

  1. Jenn

    You are nuts, I can’t move after doing just Mt. Defiance. I can’t imagine how you managed to do both of those hikes in 2 days and can still walk around.

  2. andy k

    i know dudes that do the triple D in one day. Dog. Defiance and Devils 10,000 feet gain one day

    -andrew robinson

    1. James Aten

      I hiked the triple D in early July 2012 at age 70.Started with Mt Defiance at 6;00 am . It took 6 hours and did Dog next and it took 2 hours 45 minutes. I did Devils Rest and it also took about 2 hours 45 minutes. It really wasn’t that bad except my legs got pretty tired on the downhill.Am planning to do it again this summer
      Regards Jim

  3. zack

    Ruckel Ridge is one of the great place. If you love nature then Ruckel Ridge is ok with you. Justin.. I personally believe you are full of energy person. Not many people can do things like you did

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  5. Kim

    Thanks for the current trip report! I was going to do Defiance tomorrow, but since I don’t have snow shoes, I might pass until the snow is gone. Thanks again!


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