Analysing terrain data
The exposure grade describes the potential consequences of falling or slipping off the path.
Low Exposure: The path is on completely flat land and potential injury is limited to falling over.
Medium Exposure: The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.
High Exposure: Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.
Extreme Exposure: Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.
Most riders pedaling the Monarch Crest skip over the Starvation Creek trail on their way to the Silver Creek trail.
Their loss, your gain! Well, if you plan to ride the Rainbow Trail all the way to the highway, dropping down Silver Creek and taking Rainbow Trail is undoubtedly the best route option—which is why that combination constitutes the classic Monarch Crest route.
If, however, you get to Marshall Pass but don’t plan to ride down the Rainbow Trail due to time or physical constraints, the Starvation Creek trail is the best descent to take from that point. This old school singletrack trail is a hidden gem.
Beginning in a gorgeous alpine meadow, the singletrack drops into a deep, dark forest, descending rapidly through root webs and loamy singletrack. Eventually the trail reaches the bottom of a deep valley.
The grade mellows out as the singletrack swoops and flows along the stream. A few sections of the lower section of the trail cross scree fields, with challenging up-and-overs creating difficult pedaling.
The extremely technical portions are over quickly, the trail returning to swoop and flow. Some of the sections of singletrack along the stream are very narrow and quite exposed, and a moment of inattention can lead to a long fall into the drink.
But if you stay focused, this rarely-ridden trail will reward you with a feeling of extreme isolation.