Lake George

Lake George
Lake George - from Tongue Mtn Range - 11/11/2011

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mount Defiance - Alpine Lakes Wilderness - 10/14/12

Saturday, 10/14 was another rainy day, but Leesa was free to hike and we decided to hike Mount Defiance, located just off exit 45 of I-90 in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness in Washington State.  The trailhead is about an hour east of Seattle.  The weather on this day was just the opposite of Friday.  There was no rain at the start of the hike, but it started in later and didn't stop.

Visibility was OK at the start

It was a pretty warm day with temps in the mid 50's. We had packed our rain gear, knowing that it the rain was coming.  Our trails for the day included the Ira Spring Trail # 1038 and the Mount Defiance Trail # 1009.

Leesa reaching treeline on the first ridge

We climbed the first ridge and went down the back side towards Mason Lake.   At that point, the scenery changed and we dropped back into the tall pines.  We saw 2 different couples at the lake who were on their way back.  We didn't see anyone else out all day (no wonder in the wind and the rain).  Rain was just beginning to fall. It had taken us just over an hour to reach the lake.

Still no rain!

The trail skirts around the west side of Mason Lake and then bends NW towards the ridge to Mount Defiance.  We missed a trail turn shortly after leaving Mason Lake and ended up following a herd path to little Mason Lake.  I realized we were off the trail and we just bushwhacked a short distance NE to get back on the main trail.

Clouds coming in

As we climbed the ridge to Mount Defiance, the rain began to come down harder.  Thankfully it was not a cold day because we got soaked through as we climbed above treeline in the driving rain towards the summit.  It was quite windy so the windchill was a little nippy but it was not unbearable.

The back side of the first ridge, headed towards Mason Lake

Mason Lake

Designated camping spot at Mason Lake.  Nice location.

It was raining by this point, but still we pressed on

I was worried that Leesa would be cold on the way down since her body wouldn't be generating any heat and she was soaked, but she seemed to do OK.  I don't get cold too easy so I knew I would be fine.

Leesa victorious on Mount Defiance

After 2 hours and 50 minutes from the trailhead, we reached the summit.  We had no visibility at that point and it was cold, rainy and windy, so we took a couple pictures and headed down.  The rain never let up on the way back.

My turn on the summit

We reached the car by by retracing our route.  We immediately put on some dry clothes and had the car heat on high for quite a while to get the chill out of our bones.  Even though we had no visibility up high, the fall color of the alpine terrain was terrific.

Colorful bushes and brush above treeline

Rain on the camera lens interfered with this shot taken on the way down
Hike Stats:
Hike Distance:  9.9 miles
Hike Time:  5 hours, 10 minutes
Total Vertical Gain:  4400'
Trailhead Elevation:  2173'
Summit Elevation:  5584'

  My Mount Defiance GPX track at EveryTrail

a topo map of the route

A Google Earth screen shot of our route


  1. Yep, the huckleberry bushes make some amazing fall color don't they? I was in Indian Heaven Wilderness in SW Washington 2 weeks ago, and they were spectacular!