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First SOTA Activation: Earl Peak, Kittitas County, Washington - October 19, 2014

K7MAS's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Good, very usable
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Don't know
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Don't know

Seeing Red...and orange, yellow, blue and green.  The reference here is to fall colors and the ongoing hunting season.  Beautiful fall day, with mostly sunny weather, fall foliage on display.  Several hunting parties in the Teanaway, Beverly and Bean creek valleys necessitated wearing bright colored clothing, and making our presence known.

Earl Peak, 7,036 feet elevation, is a great SOTA Activation objective!  It is one of several SOTA listed peaks on the Kittitas / Chelan County line, running through the Wenatchee Mountains. Others in this group are: Miller Peak, Navaho peak and Ingalls Peak.  All of these peaks share proximity to the Stuart Range, and outstanding views from their summits.

Access to Earl Peak is via the Beverly Creek / Bean Creek trails (1391 and 1391.1) reached off the North Fork Teanaway River road.  The trailhead is approximately 17.5 miles from SR970.  Most of the road is paved.  From 29 Pines campground on (Approximately 6 miles), the road is gravel, rutted and washboarded. The trail is approximately 7.5 to 8 miles RT, with approximately 3,400 elevation gain.  The final 700 to 800 feet is climbed on a “boot beaten” climber path, and not a forest service trail.  It is a bit rough in places, with the summit block being a pile of large boulders.  We saw a total of 4 other hikers, with 2 other dogs, on Earl Peak, and 4 hunters in and around the Bean Creek valley.

Operating position was just below the actual summit, on a bench on the SE ridge.  There would be ample room to operate HF on the summit with a vertical antenna.  Contacts were on 40M and 20M using my linked dipole, set up as inverted V hung from 20 foot carbon fiber fishing pole.  We started hearing gunshots shortly after set up and start of activation.  This kept the effort shorter than it would have been in a non-hunting-season activation.

The return hike was uneventful.  I sounded my whistle every 5 to 10 minutes so as to make our presence known.  The hunters we ran into did not mind, and were courteous.