I’ve had Alamo Mountain on my radar for awhile but never thought I could get up there without lugging the moto on my van out to the OHV area, then, ride up to the side of the mountain, hike up, activate, hike down, moto back to the van, load up and head home. It felt like a lot of effort for 6 points. Well, last year my wife bought a Subaru Crosstrek and ended up putting a suspension lift in along with 30″ tires. To tackle this summit, her and I ended up driving through Gorman OHV area (free, no need to pay for access if just passing through) on Gold Hill Road. Here the pavement ends and turns into 8N01 which leads to a loop around Alamo Mountain. At the intersection we made a left and stopped at the back side of the summit. Here we grilled some burgers before the hike, ate, then headed up.
There is no actual trail up, so this was kinda a bushwhack the entire way through knee high flora. This means there was a ton of spikey and pokey things getting stuck in our socks – so much that I think the socks I wore on this hike might be ruined – otherwise a beautiful day. Throughout the hike I was worried about snakes, but I didn’t see any. Worked 20M, 30M, and 40M CW, two 2s2 QSOs. Signed the logbook and headed down the hill. Back at the car we completed the loop around Alamo. There are a few more SOTA summits which start around this area, so hopefully I can return soon to activate them.
Mike – KN6EZE started with SOTA around the same time as I did, so when we were both close to earning goat status- 1,000 points, we decided to do it together. Originally we were going to snowshoe up to Sunset Peak, however, that morning an avalanche blocked the road to the trailhead which forced us to quickly change plans. Had we been any earlier to Sunset Peak, we might have been stuck in Mount Baldy Village until the snow was cleared.
Nearby, Frankish Peak would satisfy the points needed for both of us to make goat status. This was a summit I’ve never climbed, in addition I already made a contact here so it would be a complete for me as well. The hike starts out on a narrow use trail that leads to a fire road, then another use trail which is quite steep, perhaps more of a climb to a ridge line. Here, there was plenty of snow accumulation which made the hike even more enjoyable.
At the top we spread out. I setup a 40M EFHW and Mike setup a 2M j-pole. After I exhausted all chaser on 40M Mike and I switched stations. Mike used a uSDX in SSB mode which made me want to get one of these inexpensive little radios. He then switched it to CW while I worked 2M FM. After reminiscing on the summit of all the adventures and summits before, we hiked back to the car the same way we came up. Traffic was terrible so we went to a restaurant and got a well deserved meal and a beer while things settled down on the highways.
San Emigdio Mountain is basically a drive up. This could be done in a 2wd vehicle with enough clearance; at the time I visited as the road seemed like it was recently graded. I parked at a large turn around area and started hiking up to the top. Once there I realized I went the long way, not a problem though since this was a short hike. I used the Yaesu 817 on the high bands. Worked 10M, 12M, 15M and 17M. Two s2s contacts. I signed the register and started heading down, where I picked up a faint use trail back to the road. I explored an area that looked like it might have been a mine at some point, then headed up the hill to the truck.
Butterbredt Peak was my first stop on a trip to activate several summits around the northern edge of the Mojave Desert and the south edge of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. I left Los Angeles for my trip late in the day which had me rushing to get up to the summit before 0:00 zulu. This also put me square in the hottest part of the day. The hike up Butterbredt started easy, but maybe a half mile in the path got steep and extremely sandy, to the point where I felt like I was on a sand treadmill, only making a few inches of progress for each step. Thankfully, this section was short and I was able to continue on. Along the way, fighter jets ripped through the sky along with the defining sound of their engines. I sat and watched them fly around for 10 minutes or so. The top was windy, which is expected on desert summits. I spotted via APRS and started calling CQ on 40M. Not too many takers. I moved to 30M and picked up one more contact, then moved to 20M. Picked up one more contact there. Just 4 contacts on 3 bands… Was my radio broken? Nope, there was a solar event which was blacking out HF. I hiked down the same way I came up, got into the truck and looked for a place to camp for the night.