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Baldy Mountain, Montana July 12, 2020

KJ7OKW's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Good, very usable
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Good, very usable
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Good digi echos

I managed to activate this peak today with three out of the four required contacts. Close but no cigar as it started getting cold, windy and rain was coming in. We had to leave when we did. Another day for the points.

I used a Yeasu FT-2D 5 watt handheld with a 42 inch foldable tape measure type of antenna. I worked 146.52 MHz FM voice. From Big Hole Peak, about 12 miles to the west, I have had 59 quality conversations with Missoula, so the reach is far at these heights in 146.52 MHz.

I don't know why this summit has never been activated before. It's a popular day hike with the locals with stunning views all around. The most likely reason is that Montana is quite rural to begin with. There aren't many people in the state. Add to that the percentage of ham radio operators that typically are represented in a given population. And add to that the percantage make up SOTA enthusiasts represent within the already sparse percentage of ham radio operators. Our entire state has at most 15 active SOTA participants. I'm number 15 and have only been doing this for two months.

Please refer to the link below to see a map of the route as I describe it.

The drive is 17 miles to the trailhead from downtown Plains. Take Upper Lynch Creek Road north until it turns into Forest Service Road 1025. Take a right turn at Forest Service Road 886 and take it all the way to the end. Do not park at the officially marked trailhead as starting your hike from there will add an additional mile to your trek. You do not need four wheel drive to get to the trailhead. There is a small parking area for at most 4 cars.

The 1.6 mile hike starts out in a green forested environment and turns to exposed rock and shale as you approach the summit. Once at the summit you will find the remains of an old fire lookout and towers. The trail continues downhill to a small lake below. Baldy Mountain is one of the highest peaks in the area and from there you have line of sight to several other SOTA summits in our area. 

Including driving time from Plains, Allow about 45 minutes to an hour for the drive and an hour to hour and fifteen minutes to hike the summit. 

If you plan to activate this peak, as always, let me know as I live in Plains. I can easily chase you for one of your contacts.


Map of Route