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Smith Rock/Rustler, OR Oct 2020

AG7GP's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Decent, workable
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Spotty, may not work at all
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Don't know

 This summary is for two summits...Joell, KJ7GFN and I started our SOTA trip about 1.5 hrs before daylight, I was hoping to get to the first summit, Smith Rock (also Sky Lakes Wilderness for WWFF), while dx was still happening to EU. We dressed preparing for a freezing morning, forecast was at 20-25f low in the area, figured even cooler at 6000'. I wore the warmest of everything I had since I get cold very easily. But we were fooled! Some sort of an inversion in the mountains was happening and I am guessing it was more around 50-55! You can drive to Blue Rock to park, the boundary for Sky Lakes Wilderness. It is a bit rocky towards the end but not too bad. We dropped our coats and trekked down the saddle from Blue Rock area to Smith Rock. A nice jaunt through the timber. As we climbed up the saddle, Smith Rock towered in front of us and was gorgeous. A haystack shaped rock with several other rock ledges fingering out in every direction about 100ft from the peak. The view was incredible. I highly recommend this peak.



We found a safe place to set up, about 50ft below the very top, as the last climb looked a little tricky for us. We walked around to the more northeastern side of the haystack to set up. Picking a spot to set up was not super easy in the big boulders and trying to stay in the AZ. Parts are just straight down vertical drop. I started with 20m cw, Joell did ssb then we did the same for 40m. This was Joell's 2nd SOTA activation (and maybe 2nd time on HF?) and she did amazing! I was impressed with her quick copy of phonetics. We wrapped it up and headed to car to get to Rustler Peak, more concerned of heat and water that cold!



Rustler looked like a drive up summit lookout on a map but ended up being almost 4 miles RT due to windfall in the road(RD 660). We also discovered there was a better road (3700 640), that may have cut 2 mi out of the trek. It was still a nice hike it giant tall timber, I was just roasting in my wool and fleece layers! The lookout has a picnic table and bathroom facilities. Brenda was at the lookout and welcomed us up to enjoy the view. Crystal clear view to Crater Lake rim and of course McLaughlin. We didn't do as much cqing as we were a bit late getting up there but still were very successful. Joell did 40m ssb and then I did 20m cw. I thought 20m would be pretty dead but it was a constant flow of calls for 15 min until I had to shut down. Two chatty women driving around in the mountains leads to a few missed turns and late arrivals!



We had a blast doing these two summits and I recommend them both. Neither are too difficult, just tricky choosing the correct roads to access, and such a beautiful area to see. Just keep in mind FS RD 37 is the main road, use it as the main access road getting around.

I am proud to have 2 YL calls as the first activators for these 2 summits :)