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Bear Mountain, WA | Nov 2021

K7NCM's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Decent, workable
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Decent, workable
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Don't know

Bear Mountain is an easy hike with a reasonable approach. The hike is about a 4 mile round trip with around 800 feet of elevation gain.

The approach winds along Bear Mountain Road. The lower portion of the road is the most treacherous. It’s a very narrow one lane road with a steep dropoff, but it turns into a more typical forest road later on, with fairly frequent places to pull out if you encounter oncoming traffic (I didn’t). I took a crossover with AWD and had no problem, but I could have made it in a sedan without too much stress. The road was in fairly good condition without large ruts, rocks, or bumps. Google Maps provides correct directions to the place where I parked, at least from Chelan. If you are coming from the west it suggests a different route, which I have not explored. I turned onto Bear Mountain Road at (47.85206, -120.12885). If you turn onto it from 971 you may have a different experience.

I parked at (47.84919, -120.16971). There is ample space to park, at least for a low traffic area like this one. The elevation is about 2800 feet. From there, I continued on foot to the south along Forest Service Road 8550. About 500 feet along the road there is a locked Forest Service gate with a turnout where you could park.

A little bit past the gate there is an area with many no trespassing signs. Most are angled directly at the road, apparently warning against leaving the road, but a couple are angled more towards someone approaching on the road which gave me pause. I double checked the maps and found that a small portion of the road did indeed cross through private property, but I did verify that I was on a marked forest service road. I ended up calling the forest service and the person I talked to told me that I should be fine if I stayed on the road. Several peakbaggers trip reports mention these signs as well.

The summit is just off the road. I didn’t see any established trail but it was easy enough to find my way through the sparse forest. The summit has a few trees that could work for hoisting wire antennas, but most were too young. I wasn’t happy with the location of the larger trees, so I chose to use my Elecraft AX1 vertical with my KX2. I started on 20 m CW and made 5 contacts, then switched to 40 m CW and made 6 more, including one S2S with WW7D on W7W/CW-100. This gave me enough to activate the summit as well as the POTA park K-4531, so I packed up and headed down.

The author with his KX2 and clipboard in front of him
The view to the east. Lake Chelan, the city of Chelan, and Chelan Butte
The view to the northwest. Lake Chelan, Manson, and 4th of July Mountain