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Ascent of Mount Defiance on 2017-03-04

Climber: Dean Gaudet

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, March 4, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Defiance
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:2657 ft / 809 m

Ascent Trip Report

based on other reports, plus some searching, i had determined i wanted to try this from the east. i couldn't find any track or description of the approach from the east. it's possible to see bits of the use trail in satellite views, but i wasn't able to piece together the entire trail. i had some guesses how i'd get up to the place where the trail became more obvious in sat view, but the big missing piece was the lower 3/4ths of a mile: basically when you leave the southern wilderness trail to when you reach the saddle at 1360-1400.

river crossing was easy: about 8' wide, 18" deep, flowing a foot or so per second. but solid bottom. i took my boots off and used some water shoes ('cause i'm a wuss).

immediately ahead after you cross the river is a ridge, and you want to head left and follow the trail 100 yards until the ridge drops down to trail level. you should immediately spot a use trail to your right: this is in fact the bottom of the mt. defiance trail. it will pass behind a pig trap, and then head up into a grassy hillside with well spaced trees: you'll lose the trail here, it is too braided, and faint to figure out which segment is correct.

on ascent i veered climber's left going up the grassy hillside, and this lead me to an annoying (but not impassible) bushwhack, followed by some steep slippery side-hilling while trying to make it to the saddle i mentioned earlier. you want to avoid this: go climber's right around the ridge above the grassy hillside, this is clear in my descent track (which is the northern segment where the two diverge). climber's right around that ridge will involve gentle side-hilling uphill on a faint trail until you reach the 1360-1400' meadow where the trail becomes very obvious.

once i reached the saddle i was very happy to hook up with the trail: the trail is in relatively good shape. there are cairns in many places, it has been trimmed in the past 5 years. it's narrow in places, with bushes encroaching on you, similar to trails i'm familiar with from the ventana wilderness (no doubt maintained by similar trail fairies...) but it's generally easy to stick to the trail, and easy to refind it should you go off the trail: just back up and find the cairns (or strategically placed dead branches indicating where you departed from the trail).

the summit register has had 18 groups sign it since daryn placed it in nov 2014: the summit appears more popular than peakbagger listings would indicate. i think most of the people entries (other than the peakbaggers) came from the east, there were a handful of scout troops listed as well.

my original plan was to bag little pinnacles as well, but after dipping down 100' or so i decided i really wasn't in the mood for such a steep descent / re-ascent. i feel for everyone else who came up from the west... it sucks compared to the east :) some day when i feel like an unlisted P400 and i'm in the area i'll try little pinnacles from the peak views trailhead as well, it looks relatively gentle on that side.

i've listed "bushwhack" in the route aspects, but that's just because i headed the wrong way in the early meadow. if you follow my descent track you should not have any bushwhacking at all.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2036 ft / 619 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2036 ft / 619 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.4 mi / 8.7 km
    Grade/Class:class 1+
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Stream Ford, Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1836 ft / 559 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1686 ft / 514 m; Extra: 150 ft / 45m
    Loss on way in:150 ft / 45 m
    Distance:2.7 mi / 4.3 km
    Route:south wilderness + use trail
    Start Trailhead:peaks view TH  971 ft / 295 m
    Time:2 Hours 7 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1886 ft / 574 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1686 ft / 514 m; Extra: 200 ft / 60m
    Gain on way out:200 ft / 60 m
    Distance:2.7 mi / 4.3 km
    Route:south wilderness + use trail
    End Trailhead:peaks view TH  971 ft / 295 m
    Time:1 Hours 49 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Dean Gaudet
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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