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SOTA Activation: Mount Fremont, Pierce County, Washington - September 18, 2015

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

A crisp Fall-like day, sparse crowds and a successful activation made for a pleasant, if short day.  The route to the summit, and the Activation itself were changed, and cut short, by a large heard of mountain goats which were straddling the ridge running between the SE Summit (incorrectly labeled as Mount Fremont) and the Middle Summit, (True Summit).

Mount Fremont is accessed from Sunrise, on the NE side of Mount Rainier itself.  The hike is only 4.6 miles RT, with just over 900 feet elevation gain.  There are many good reports posted to PNWSOTA website, as Fremont is a very popular Activation.  On Friday, September 18, 2015, my wife Sharon and I headed out from the Sunrise parking area at about 10:30 AM.  The temperature was 39 degrees, with a light wind, which added to the chill in the air.  While in the Easterly direction it clear, Rainier itself was partially obstructed by clouds.  We hoped we would soon outdistance and be above the clouds, as the views are tremendous from the area.  Having hiked this trail many times before, we made quick work of the trail in reaching the plateau above due West of Frozen Lake.  Looking up to scout the route, we were surprised to see a large heard of mountain goats scattered on the slope and ridge between SE Ridge and true summit.  We counted well over 30 goats, many of them with sharp and menacing looking black horns, shining in the sun.  The goats were moving towards the summit.

Consulting the map, quickly decided to take a different route to the summit.  We continued on the trail until we reached the point at which the trail takes a turn to the North, at approximately 7,108 feet elevation.  As the goats were headed for the summit, my wife decided to wait on the trail itself, about 209 feet below the summit, while I made quick work of the easy scramble.

Upon reaching the summit, I found the goats in close proximity, so I decided to try 2M FM, despite the fact that I had my full HF rig & antenna with me at the summit.  I made 5 contacts in about 25 minutes, while my wife kept a wary eye on the goats.  As the herd was edging closer to the summit, and not being sure of their intentions or disposition, I made a hasty retreat down to the trail.  My movements made the herd a little jumpy.  Rather than head back up to the summit, we decided to hike around elsewhere, and headed out towards Frozen Lake and Burroughs Mountain(s).  By then we had occasional glimpses of Mount Rainier, and surrounding areas, and so were satisfied with that.  I hope to return for a more liesurly Activation, and try HF from the summit. 

Thank you very much to my contacts, all 2M FM: N3HFS; KF7SDL; WG7X; K5TRI; KG7EJT