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SOTA Activation: Thorp Mountain, Kittitas County, Washington - October 11, 2015

K7MAS's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Spotty, may not work at all
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Don't know
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Don't know

One of the last beautiful Fall weekends of 2015, yielded an activation of Thorp Mountain and Hard Knox Mountain together with my "SOTA Buddy", KG7EJT and Dexter the SOTA Dog.  The weather was superb, a successful dual activation, including a First Activation of Hard Knox, followed by a great dinner and local "Brew" in Roslyn, Washington, made for one of the more memorable SOTA outings in my career! The views, and great access, make this a highly recommended double SOTA objective.  This report describes Thorp Mountain Activation.  Hard Knox is listed under a separate report.

I had scouted out this dual Activation for some time.  With a great forecast, good company and fully charges batteries, we were ready to go!  Access to the trail is from the Salmon la Sac Road, from I-90.  Drive the access road from I-90 through the towns of Roslyn and Ronald (watch your driving speed through these towns!). Turn west (left) onto NF-4308 towards Thorp Creek / French Cabin Creek area.  At the intersection of NF-4308 and NF-4312 continue straight on NF-4308.  The trail head is at 4,200 feet, doable in a sturdy sedan, but higher clearance vehicles recommended.  The Thorp Mountain Trail is well signed, and on the right (uphill) side of the road.  there is ample parking for a few cars.  Approximately 2 hours Bellevue to TH.

Setting out at 9:30, the temperature was a cool 38 degrees.  With clear skies, we knew that was only a temporary condition.  As it was hunting season, both Tim & I wore bright red shirts for greater visibility at distance.  Soon enough we were powering our way up towards the first objective - Thorp Mountain.  The trail is about 2.5 miles to Thorp, gaining about 1,800 feet elevation.  The fall colors were in glorious display as we worked our way towards Thorp.  By 10:45 AM we had summited, to stunning 360 degree views at the famous Fire Lookout atop Thorp.  Below and slightly to the south, more than 3,500 feet lower, lay Kachess Lake, pitifully low in water after a very dry 2015.  Arrayed 360 degrees around were hundreds of Cascade peaks, including the major volcanoes and other prominent mountains.

As we had a second Activation planned, we got to work immediately setting up antennas and radio gear.  Tim worked 2M FM, and I set up for HF.  I worked exclusively 40M, as band conditions were good, and chasers began answering my calls very soon.  I made 12 contacts in a span of less than 1/2 hour.  I worked: NM7L; KE6JQD; W6IO; W7NBH; N7TTQ; AE7LI; KF7WMM; KG7BP; WA6D; AE7QT; NZ7D and KE6WPG.  Thank you so much to all the Chasers and my contacts.


By approximately 12:00 Noon, we were ready to head over to try activating Hard Knox Mountain, about 2 miles due south from Thorp Mountain.