ViewVoting details

frog lake buttes, or (winter ascent and new summit)

K7WXW's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Good, very usable
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Good, very usable
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Good digi echos

The recent update of the W7O ARM  (Association Reference Manual) moved the activation zone of Frog Lake Buttes to the higher of the two butte summits, which gave me a reason to repeat one of my annual snowshoe hikes, notch another unique, and collect a winter bonus.  This was my fourth trip to the summit (three in the winter, one in the summer).

I posted a note on summer access to FLB here with general info. In the winter, you need a sno-park pass to use the Frog Lake lot and weekends are busy; get there early. From the lot, follow FR2610 south about a quarter-mile to the service road and head up the hill.  The climb up is steady and trends southeast for about two miles before turning north. A bit after the turn, you will see wide path heading left off the main road, follow that until you top out on the first (old) summit.  There's a communication site here and the new summit is about a half mile further on.  

The summits are separated by a saddle. Head north until the ground starts to drop then turn north-north-east and drop down to the flat saddle area before climbing up to the true summit. In the winter, it is likely you will be breaking trail the whole way (I did) but the elevation changes aren't big, so it is not much of a hassle. The saddle is small, take care not to veer too far east or west and end up on the steeper slopes.

The new summit doesn't have a view, the trees are older and bigger, and the understory is minimal. It is a nice spot to linger a while when the wind isn't blowing like stink.  There are lots of choices for getting a wire in the air including places to strap a mast.  ATT digital coverage is good (not surprising, as they own the communication tower), and APRS works okay.  I usually just set up HF gear here, never having had much luck on two meters, but your mileage may vary.

Summary - The new hike is about a mile longer, requires some off trail travel, and an extra hundred fifty feet of climbing. Figure about 6.5 miles and 1800 feet of up round trip.  The new activation zone is flat, forested with older trees, a nice place to operate from, and you are less likely to be buzzed by snow machines in the winter.