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SOTA Activation: Burma Rd HP / Point 4,230 - Deschutes County, Oregon - October 25, 2020

K7MAS's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Good, very usable
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Don't know
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Between October 21 and October 30, 2020, we visited the Sunriver / Bend areas of Oregon.  The cold but clear weather allowed us to Activate 8 SOTA summits in 6 outings.  This report is one of a series, and deals with the Activation of Burma Rd HP, AKA Point 4,230, W7O/CE-304.  Prior to coming to the Bend / Sunriver area, I had contacted Ron, W6PZA, who lives in Bend, Oregon.  I had seen on-line that he had been a very consistent Activator in this area, and reached out to him to possibly arrange some joint Activations.  Happily, things worked out, we hit it off, and wound up doing 2 joint Activations - this one, and also North Paulina Peak, the subject of another Activation report.

Access to Burma Road HP is through Smith Rock State Park, near Terrebonne, Oregon.  This is about 23 miles NNE of Bend, as the crow flies.  There are numerous other reports and resources about Smith Rock State Park and this Activation.  One of the best sources of information I found was the State Park web site.  See: and

We arrived at the TH at Smith Rock State Park at about 8:45 AM to clear skies and temperature of about 24 degrees and slightly windy.  It had been 18 degrees in Sunriver when we left.  We met up with Ron and the troop, including my XYL Sharon, and Dexter the SOTA Dog, were on the trail by about 9:00 AM.  It looked to be a cold outing, but in beautiful fall sunshine.

Our route took us through Smith Rock SP, to BLM land, and onto the summit.  It was 2.7 miles and 1,650 feet elevation gain one way.  The trail starts by dropping 220 feet from the TH to the bridge crossing Cooked River, which snakes its way through Smith Rock SP.  The hiking was very pleasant, especially along the river.  Even the Burma Road segment was nice, as the view expanded and the sunshine illuminated the craggy towers and faces of the Smith Rock technical climbing routes.  As the sun shone, we noticed the many fixed bolt hangars that have been drilled into the rock to protect the very steep climbing routes.  These shone like sparkling diamonds on the multi-colored rock towers.  The only unpleasant portion of the climb up to the summit was the section of the route called "The Scar", which is about 0.3 miles of a very steep climb, straight up the upper west face of the mountain.  On the way down, we bypassed this section by decending North on the North Ridge of the mountain to meet up with the so called Gray Butte Trail Connector, and then back SW to the top of Burma Road.  I would recommend this way for the ascent, as it's much easier on the legs, and more scenic.  It does add about an extra 3/4 of a mile to the trek.  See attached map.

Once we reached the summit, Ron, W6PZA, set up quickly and efficiently for HF operations, while I concentrated on a 2M FM Activation.  By then the wind had picked up to about 13 - 15 MPH, which added to the wind chill effect.  Fortunately it was possible to find some shelter from the wind behind rocks and in the lee of the summit ridge formation.  We finally got chilled enough and decided to wrap things up after about 1/2 hour of operating.  We enjoyed the tremendous views while we packed up quickly and got ready to head  down.  The broad views included many of the high volcanic peaks that dot this part of the Central Oregon Cascades, and all the way to Mount Hood, east of Portland, OR.

The alternate route down the upper mountain avoided "The Scar", and allowed us to enjoy the fantastic views.  According to Ron's GPS data, the total RT was about 6 miles, and 1,940 feet of elevation gain, including the climb back up to the TH from the Cooked River crossing bridge.

Thank you to Ron for suggesting this gem of an Activation objective, and venturing out on this fun joint Activation.  Thank you also to all of the Chasers that worked us.