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Jester Mountain, WA | May 2018

WU7H's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Good, very usable
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Good, very usable
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Don't know

This was a joint SOTA expedition with me,  Bill WA7NCL, and Rich AC7MA. See photos here:


The traditional way to do Jester is via the Iron Bear trail (see K7MAS trip reports), but we decided to try it via County Line Trail 1226. We drove up old Blewett Pass 9715 to spur 200. We drove to the intersection with FS 9715-113, but it was marked as motorcycles / hikers only. We turned around and parked about 1/4 mile back up the road and started our hike. WX was very nice - sunny, upper 60's.

Walking along FS 9715-113 it was obvious that people had been driving it, and the road wasn't bad at all aside from a few brushy spots. We continued along this road until we eventually hit the County Line Trail, which was signed. This section of the trail was pleasent as we climbed a ridge. On the north side of the ridge we encoutered our first snow - the trail was covered, but easy to follow. The snow was still firm and we didn't need any traction devices. Minimal post-hole'in.

After a bit we hit a fresh looking logging road / clear cut. We were back to walking on the road for a while as we climbed up onto the next ridge. Eventually we got on top of the ridge and left the clear cut / logging road behind. The rest of the hike was a nice ridge walk, mostly on snow. The snow was still firm enough that it wasn't a problem to walk on.

Once we hit the intersection with the Iron Bear trail, we turned north for a bit. We hiked along for about 1/4 mile before we found a clear spot to depart the trail and make the short climb to the summit.

Once on the summit we ate lunch and then deployed our 20m dipole, using a 20' carbon fiber pole shoved into the snow as our center support. Ends were tied off to treking poles, also shoved into the snow. We fired up Rich's KX2 and got rolling. Rich went first, then Bill, and I finished up. Between all of us we logged 30-something contacts on 20 meter CW. I tried 146.52 for a bit, but no takers. We packed up and headed back, having spent a pleasent hour on the summit.

After we arrived back at the car, we drove a few miles up to the gated road that leads up to Roughhouse Mountain. We parked and made the short ~1 mile hike up to the top. There is a large building and antenna towers on the summit, and we set up fairly close to the building with the thought that we would be under most of the RF. We STRUGGLED to make 4 contacts each. I honestly thought we were going to get skunked, but thanks to some AWESOME chasers we were able to get it done. It didn't help that it was 6PM (PST), so too late for east coast, and west coast was eating dinner =)

Shout out to W7RV who took pity on me and came back (after working Rich earlier) to give me that crucial 4th contact!

Another fantastic day spent hiking in beautiful country with friends and playing radio. Can't beat it!


Totals for the day: Hike to Jester was ~9mi, ~2500' elevation gain. Hike to Roughhouse was a little over a mile, couple hundred feet of gain.



-Josh WU7H