W6/ND-228 – Grass Valley Wilderness HP

I woke up in the back of my truck after a long night of camping shenanigans. E. was up making coffee and was on the fence about doing another hike after climbing Dome Mountain the previous day. I was too honestly. E. headed home and I said, “screw it, I’m basically already there”. I think that extra bit of motivation came from the fact that nobody had ever activated this summit before – I would be the first!

It took an hour to drive dirt roads which lead into a wilderness area. Near the summit there was a small area to park off the road. I left the truck and started slowly hiking up the hill. It’s about two miles round trip with 1,000′ of elevation gain, so pretty steep. There was several areas of loose talus and scree which required careful movements. I slipped multiple times on this one so maybe I wasn’t careful enough haha.

The top is a sharp ridge with enough space to put up a dipole or EFHW antenna. There is a register from 2012 which had more entries than Dome Mountain. Worked 15m and 17m on the new KH1. When I went to connect it to my 20m, 30m, and 40m EFHW antenna it had high SWR on all bands and I couldn’t figure out why; luckily I had a backup radio for 40m.

I headed down the same way I went up, sliding on the scree made for a quick decent. Once at the truck I back tracked to HWY 395, but made a few stops to explore some mining ruins and various other desert curiosities. By the time I got to the paved road it was dark. Perfect timing!


Total distance: 2.15 mi
Max elevation: 4675 ft
Total climbing: 999 ft
Total time: 03:08:55
Download file: Grass_Valley_Wilderness_HP.gpx

Date:18/02/2024 |  Summit:W6/ND-228 (Grass Valley Wilderness HP) 

22:327N1FRE21MHzCWS51N R31N
22:34JA1VVH21MHzCWS51N R51N
22:35WU7H21MHzCWS56N R54N
22:37K7MAS21MHzCWS599 R55N
22:38NN7M21MHzCWS55N R53N
22:41NT2A21MHzCWS52N R42N
22:44KF9D21MHzCWS57N R53N
23:02K2JB18MHzCWS51N R21N
23:07AD0WB18MHzCWS58N R55N
23:08W6TDX18MHzCWS58N R57N
23:09WW7D18MHzCWS58N R57N
23:10NA7ET18MHzCWS57N R599
23:31W6LEN7MHzCWS58N R599
23:32KN6OMN7MHzCWS58N R599
23:33WA7JTM7MHzCWS58N R55N
23:34KN6DMO7MHzCWS57N R57N
23:36NT6E7MHzCWS58N R57N

W6/ND-196 – Dome Mountain

So, this hike was kinda special in the since that the summit has never been activated before. Additionally, after 250 SOTA activations under my belt, I’ve never gotten a first activation. Since I was camping and hiking around in the area, bagging this peak was a priority.

My hiking partner E. drove up from Los Angeles very early in the morning to meet me at the place I was camping near Fremont Mountain. From there, we got in the truck and headed over to the trailhead, which was clearly marked with a hiking register. From here we traveled a bit west to check out some petroglyphs, then east to get back on an old jeep trail which got us closer to the bottom of Dome.

Hiking up past the jeep trail was steep, with loose rocks and several false summits. I stopped several times to rest and enjoy the views as we ascended from the desert floor. It was windy and cool. At the summit, I used my new Elecraft KH1 with the telescoping whip for the first time ever on the 15m band, then to 17m.

Relentless cold wind was getting to me and E. We signed the summit register which was placed in 1979 and started the trek down. Caution needed to be used going down as rocks were quite loose. Once down the steep part we jumped back on the old jeep road and headed back to the trailhead. Along the way I think we found the steam well which I’ve seen on maps. Unfortunately, there was no longer any steam that we could find.


Total distance: 10.16 mi
Max elevation: 4976 ft
Total climbing: 2877 ft
Total time: 06:16:25
Download file: Dome_Mountain.gpx

Date:17/02/2024 |  Summit:W6/ND-196 (Dome Mountain) 

20:23W0MNA21MHzCWS55N R33N
20:24W0ERI21MHzCWS55N R33N
20:25KF9D21MHzCWS57N R53N
20:30WB8BHN21MHzCWS571 31N
20:33NT2A21MHzCWS57N R22N
20:34N4LAG21MHzCWS57N R53N
20:42K7ATN18MHzCWS52N R52N
20:45K7SO18MHzCWS52N R52N
20:46K7EFW18MHzCWS52N R52N