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Activation of Marmot Butte - June 24, 2016

ND7PA's picture
Summit: 
W7O/CE-066
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Decent, workable
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Decent, workable
Cellular Provider: 
Verizon

Marmot Butte is a rather nondescript summit just northeast of Chemult, OR.
It is also about 3km northeast of Walker Mountain. The two can easily be
done in one day. signage is sparse on this trek. Be sure to take map and
GPS to keep on track.

On this warm late June day, the mosquitoes were hungry and numerous. Its never
a good sign when you see dozens of mosquitoes lighting on your rig breaking off
their blood sucking apparatus the moment you stop. 100% DEET was employed.

Marmot Butte is reached by first taking NF9755 approximately 1.2mi north of the
junction of OR58 and US97. I found no sign except a large wooden sign holder
that was blank.

Starting at this point, cross the railroad tracks at 1.0mi and power lines at
1.3mi. At 1.8mi stay left taking NF9756. There are numerous turnouts on this
road which is mostly dirt and could be trouble in late summer with deep dust
or winter when it could be very muddy.

At 3.0mi you hit a "Y", stay right on NF9756 ascending steeply. I found several
trees over the road up this stretch. I had to improvise a prop for two of them
to hold the trees up as the rig passed under. It wouldn't hurt to take a small chainsaw.
I've done this before to great advantage.

At 5.2mi turn left on NF9407 reaching Marmot pass just afterwards. This is marked
by a quarter mile straight shot of road that changes elevation only slightly.
At about 5.6mi there is a faint abandoned logging road to the left. Pull off to
the side here and park.

Take the abandoned logging road upwards. The road is marked as NF147 on forest
service maps. Its very rough going at first with armpit high manzanita bush and
ponderosa pine regrowth. Very brushy at first but improves slightly. Proceed about
1500m until the road begins to descend. This marks the eastern shoulder of Marmot
Butte. Turn left uphill breaking brush through downed timber and manzanita. Going
here is pretty tough. Brush and downed trees make for an unpleasant uphill hike.
From here, its about 400m to the summit. A GPS at this point is instrumental. The
bursh is so dense, its hard to keep your bearings. It took me 45 minutes from
leaving the rig to reach the summit.

The summit has no views and is mostly, you guessed it, downed trees, big standing
trees, manzanita bush and mosquitoes. A dipole could be set up in this mess once you
untangled the wires from the manzanita and downed trees. I went for the EFHW as usual.
Made a few contacts when I heard ZL1BYZ calling me. Sweet. Worked New Zealand.
It was worth the trouble, mosquitoes, manzanita...

Oh, I forgot the ants. Big ants at the summit. Be careful where you sit. Get the picture?

There is is not much to recommend this summit. Its tough to get to, has no view,
takes work to find. But it was there... and I worked a ZL1. BTW, there were
no sunspots either on this day. On the other hand, maybe its a secret pipeline
to ZL land.