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More wind and some sleet

HG1DUL's picture
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Good digi echos

2012-06-17 Sawmill Ridge CN97gd86

The weather did not improve at all. It got worse actually. When I started from Kelly Butte trailhead started to drizzle. On the summit I got some sleet with strong wind. Luckily twenty meter was much better, but still in bad condition.

Start elev.: 4831 ft (1472 m)
Max elev.: 5230 ft (1594 m)
Total ascent: 541 ft (165 m)
Trip odometer: 1.1 mi (1.770 km) Up: 0.6 mi (0.966 km) Down: 0.5 mi (0.805 km)
Total time: 3h39m Up: 30m Down: 20m

Sawmill from Kelly Butte trail

On my way down from the lookout, I was looking for my next target, when clouds opened up a little. There was a short opening when I was able to shoot this picture about Sawmill.

Snow on the road

These two summits are pretty near to each other. Road is in good shape. I go across some patchy snow when I reach a more shady section. I do not want to stop here yet, but also not brave enough to just drive into the deep snow. Quickly get the shovel from the trunk and started to open a small path in the snow. Only have to move away small amount of snow to get traction and after this there will be no more snow, I thought. It happened exactly like this. Opened a small path on the right side and drove across without any problem. No snow until the base of my destination summit.

Peak from the car park

The plan was to get to the starting point of the ridge. However, after a turn there was very deep snow on the road. Here at the turn there is a big car park, so I stopped here. Grabbed the backpack and was on my way downwards on the road. Reached the ridge where I turned right upwards. Go amongst some trees at the beginning, but after this it is all clear.

Lots of yellow flowers

The slope mainly covered by grass. Some parts are rocky. There is still some snow, and where I can I walk on this. A lot of yellow flowers on the grass, so when I had to walk there, I was very careful not to step on them.

Looking back

Hardly any ascent here. Looking back to the car park, which can be seen on the right side of the picture, where the road turns. You can see that the road is fully covered in snow. It opened up when I took this picture. This was promising, but the wind brought some more quickly. When I reach the top, I call out on two meter FM with my handheld. Randy heard me straight away. WX getting worse. He tried to hunt down some locals for me to get a quick activation, but I do not hear anyone. I do not want to leave this summit here, so I have no choice but to set up the Buddipole.

Reduced visibility

At this point the weather is really bad. Gentle whiteout with huge cold wind. I start shivering. During erecting the antenna I start to boil some water I brought from Kelly Butte. Before I start calling on HF I ate. This was heating me from inside.

Operating during sleet

Over the strong wind I had to guy my pole. Thank god the wind was constantly blowing from one direction, so one guy point was enough. I have used my ice axe in the snow to create an anchor. Start calling on 14 MHz and also send out an APRS SPOT. The band is still very noisy, but usable. SOTA stations are coming slowly, but surely.

Cover the radio

During the QSOs sleet starts to fall. I protect my radio with its case. Unfortunately the FT857 is not made for the outdoors. After 10 Qs stations die out and it is time for me to leave as well. Pack up quickly.

Packed up

I throw everything into my backpack and switch into GTHOOH mode :). Get The Hell Out Of Here. Only need 20 minutes to the car. I was happy because of the successful activation and have not mind the extra time spent to get HF working. This is a very easy six pointer, but not a great peak.


I drove towards the third summit, but I cannot get near over the snow. As it required too much walking, I opted out and decided to check out the forth summit. On my way there I got high centered in the snow. Started to dig myself out, but after 30 minutes an Off-roader showed up and pulled me out. In good conditions these four summits can be done in a day as they do not require long exhausting hikes. Maybe I will come back during autumn for the other two.

HG1DUL 2012-08-18