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Lone Butte, WA | November 2019

ND7Y's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Don't know
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Spotty, may not work at all
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Full two-way messaging

Lone Butte is a "small" hill in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. It is easily accessible from the Columbia River Gorge via Wind River and NF30, or from I-5 up the Lewis River Hwy to Northwoods and then NF90/Curly Creek Rd. (which connectes to NF30). There is a large area for parking where road 401 cuts to the West. If you aren't particular about your vehicles paint, the road is driveable to an old rock quarry at the west end of Lone Butte, there are some ruts a short way into the road, but they are easy to straddle and most any vehicle could make it past.

At the quarry, I was a bit taken by just how large of a cut into the butte it is. Much larger than the topo maps seem to indicate. There was also a lot of fog that morning, I could barely see the top of the quarry. I set off to the north from the quarry, recalling that on some older maps there was a road in that direction at some point in time. The brush around the permiter of the quarry is thick, but once into the trees moving about was a little easier. The road was where I expected, and led me to a small quarry. At that point, I worked my way back toward the south, but gaining elevation. The trickiest spot was a small wall of tree roots near the top of these quarries that had to be crossed, to get up into the undisturbed forest. I found a spot where the wall was just a few feet high and had some convenient roots and branches to use. Beyond this, I worked my way up toward the top of the hill, fairly directly. In approximately 1/4 mile from my car, I gained nearly 500' of elevation. Once you reach the top of the ridge, it's fairly easy picking a path through to the summit.

I reached the summit, plenty of trees to hang an antenna. It was at this point that I discovered in switching backpacks the night before, the power cable for my HF transceiver did not come along on the trip. I was able to self spot using APRS2SOTA, and attempted calling on VHF for some time, but was unable to make any contacts. 

I would suggest using GPS on the descent, as the slope of the hill from the summit was wanting me to go south, which would result in coming to quite a drop at the road.

From Dec. 1 - Apr 1 NF30 is closed to wheeled vehicles, a few miles south of Lone Butte. I am planning my return for this next spring, and having a dedicated pack for SOTA adventures, so I don't have to worry about missing cables. Lone Butte is still unactivated, I would like to be it's first activation.