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cornell mtn or (the long way) | april 2023

K7WXW's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Spotty, may not work at all
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Decent, workable
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Don't know

TL;DR - Cornell Mountain is on private property but the activation zone extends to the public right-of-way, so this is a side-of-the-street activation. You might be able to activate on HF with appropriate gear but expect the locals to give you the stinkeye if you spend much time loitering. For a driveup activation, check out the other Cornell writeups here.  However, I wanted to do this one on foot, with a fair bit of up...

CAUTION: this hike includes traversing a section of NW Skyline Boulevard. The berm is narrow to nonexistent, there is at least one blind curve and people are likely to be driving faster than conditions warrant. I don't recommend risking it and I won't repeat it myself.

Long Version - I wasn't much interested in Cornell Mountain until I figured out a way to turn the activation into a six-ish mile hike with 1300 feet of elevation gain, starting at the trailhead in Macleay Park (10T 522452E 5042528N). The trail climbs up Balch Canyon, crosses NW Cornell and follows the Founders and North Collins trails up to the Meridian Ridge neghborhood. At roughly 2.3 miless, you leave the trail and continue up to a set of stairs, which end on NW Skyline Boulevard.

As noted above, the traverse of Skyline Blvd is sketchy.  The berm is narrow, the road has a blind curve, and traffic speeds often seem incommensurate with the topography.  I was on this section early in the morning, when traffic was very light, and the weather very good.  Hiking on Skyline while wearing headphones, when the weather is less than perfect, traffic is heavy, or the light isn't very good is a very bad idea. The rest of the time it is just a bad idea.

I made the traverse without incident and headed up NW Pendridge Road to the point closest to the summit (10T 519341E 5041487N). I scotched my plan to set up KX2 and AX1 when the nearest homeowner planted herself in the middle of her driveway, crossed her arms, and turned on the perma-glare.  Switching to plan B, I made four contacts on VHF and UHF, shouldered my pack, waved to the nice lady, and returned the way I came. 

While I enjoyed the hike, at least until I got to Skyline, I don't imagine I will return to Cornell and I definitely won't repeat the traverse if I do.

Here's a link to the GPX track of my hike.