The pnwSOTA website was created to facilitate communication between SOTA operators in the Pacific Northwest region, as well as show off some of the activities of the top-notch folks we have in the area. On this site you will find information about getting started in SOTA as well as details about summits and activations contributed by people that are operating here.
Skunked In Switzerland!
My ambitions for activating several SOTA Summits in Switzerland fell far short. Switzerland has been experiencing one of the worst "summer" seasons in many decades. This is impacting tourism, and certainly impacted our plans.
This is an easy hike in the Washington Olympics that is not far from Highway 101.
Mount Walker is a nice drive-up or summit hike just off Highway 101 on the east side of the Olympic Peninsula. There is a good view of Puget Sound from the summit and thus it makes for a good spot to try your hand at VHF/UHF contacts.
Applegate Peak is another summit in Crater Lake National Park, but has more challenging route-finding and hiking than others. It is about 1.7 miles one-way cross-country - there is no trail or significant landmarks. A GPS with waypoints and a feeling for following the 'easy way' up draws and drainages will be useful for finding Applegate Peak, and more importantly, you way back.
Highway 12 between Morton and Yakima is out of the way, but a scenic delight. If you find yourself driving through, this is a nice summit to activate. There are a number of other summits in this area - several of which appear to require significant rock climbing skills but this one is a straightforward hike.
Big Butte is a near drive-up (in an SUV - the higher clearance is necessary) in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest that you could do in a passenger car with a bit more hiking (less than 2 miles each way on a road). From Portland, take I-84 to Cascade Locks and cross the river for one dollar. Or take Washington 14 out from Vancouver past the Bridge of the Gods, through Stevenson and continue east on 14 to turn north towards Carson about four miles past Stevenson. After 12.3 miles on this Wind River Highway you will turn right onto NF-3080 or Hollis Creek Road (paved).
Another non-NW activation while on my summer work assignment in Cleveland. I was getting bored with the 2 and 4 pt summits on OH, which are mostly on private land, so decided to make an expedition to something with a little more elevation. W3/PT-007 had been previously activated, so I knew it could be done and is an 8 pointer, which would be my first. Finding the summit on the map was a little confusing, however. There is a summit at the coords, but it's either un-named or called "Bear Cave Lookout".
My general guidelines for off trail hiking are a mile or so across open sagebrush steppe, perhaps half a mile through open forests like ponderosa pine, and about a quarter mile for a western Douglas fir forest. This activation is a reminder to stay with these guidelines and not ever wander through a lava flow again.
In August 2013 the supervisor of Crater Lake National Park closed the Llao Rock Research Natural Area - including the summit of Llao Rock - except when snow-covered (winter, when the park roads are closed).