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.
Winter Adventures in Joshua Tree National Park, California. On a recent trip to California to visit family, we took some time to visit Joshua Tree National Park, and Activate a couple SOTA peaks. We made the town of Twenty Nine Palms our base, "roughing it" in the relatively new Holiday Inn Express facility, and making day excursions on February 1 & 2. This is report 1 of 2, detailing Activation of Ryan Mountain.
Lions Mane (W7W/KG-125) is an intriguing 2 point bump that sits between a gravel county road and the North fork of the Snoqualmie River. The trip is about 3 miles round trip with about 750' of elevation gain. Most of the hike is along an old overgrown logging road that presents few challenges. The last 200' of elevation gain is an 1/8 mile cross-country scramble through new growth and slash. There are some nice views and good coverage on VHF into the Puget Sound region.
I just uploaded to the Downloads section a document I put together reviewing SOTA activity in North America during 2015. By examining the log files of top chasers I was able to gain insight into topics such as:
* How many summits were activated in 2015 -- in total and by summit point value
* How many total points were available for chasers.
* What were the top months and days of the week for chasers to accumulate points
* How many activations were there in each state -- and which states had the most activations in total and as a % of their total summits.
A return trip to Table Mountain, this time for a "winter" Activation. This SOTA Summit has a ski area at the peak of the mountain, Mountain High North, with the ski runs going downhill (north) from the summit. The ski area is part of the Mountain High complex of ski areas, near Wrightwood, California. Therefore, there are excellent roads leading to Wrightwood, and beyond to the ski areas, including Mountain High North. On this sunny winter day, a Monday, this particular part of the Mountain High ski complex was closed. This was one of the reasons we chose a weekday for the Activation. Nobody there! We had the entire place to ourselves.
Very sad news to report: Eric June, KU6J passed away unexpectedly on January 8, 2016. Eric was a big contributor to the SOTA North America community and created RBNGate, an invaluable automatic spotting tool for CW Activators worldwide. https://www.qrz.com/db/KU6J.
This is a drive-up to an old USFS fire lookout that should be accessible to most vehicles, although the road is somewhat rutted. There is a picnic table located on the spacious, forested summit that makes for a comfortable operating position. The road is closed to vehicles fr
Follow Head Lane north into the Scratchgravel Hills until it reaches a BLM pullout/parking area/trailhead. Continue north past the gate on the old 2-track, turning right (Easterly) when it reaches the low saddle. Continue following the 2-track easterly, and eventually southerly as it climbs to the summit. The summit is very pleasant, with a nice level clearing amongst the scattered pines, and fine views of the city to the south.
This unobtrusive summit offers a quiet, easily accessible QTH that may be conveniently accessed via the popular "Helena Ridge Trail". The Helena ridge trail is a scenic 7 mile ridge trail that connects from the trailhead at Park City to Mount Helena City Park (and on into downtown Helena). The trail is excellent for hiking or biking, and there is ample parking at the Park City trailhead. Follow the trail from the parking lot as it cuts up and around the north slope and eastern shoulder of the hill that overlooks the parking lot.
Mud Creek Ridge is a summit by Trillium Lake near Mount Hood that's good for a short backcountry snowshoe. Since there doesn't appear to be a trail, the best bet is to wait for three to five feet of snow to cover the brush and downed trees.