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Cooper Mountain, WA | Feb 2022

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

WW7D and I set out on an adventure to see if we could activate Cooper Mountain via snowmobile. We knew that it was theoretically possible since Cooper Mountain lies on a groomed snowmobile trail. The only intel we had was a 7 day old trail grooming report. We knew from past experience that we might arrive to find the snow park gated or the trail impassible due to downed trees, lack of snow, etc. We decided to roll the dice and make the long journey from the Seattle area to Chelan, WA.

We left at 4am in my 4Runner with the snowmobiles in tow. We arrived at the Echo Valley Sno Park several hours later to find.... no one there and no snow in the parking lot! We decided to unhook the trailer and drive up the FS road to see if we could find snow. About 1 mile up the road we found snow! We headed back to the parking lot and launched the snowmobiles. We had a fun mile of 'dirt-mobiling' until we made it to the snow. Side note: snowmobiles are not that fun to ride on dirt, but it happens and isn't that big of a deal. We sometimes have to run them on pavement for a short distance.

Once we hit the snow we could see tracks from another pair of snowmobiles that looked a day or two old - good sign! There were a few bare patches on the trail and certainly no sign of any grooming, but we were making good progress. We made it 4 miles before we hit a huge drift of snow that stopped us. We donned snow shoes and scouted it out - it didn't look good! We decided it was a no-go, and we were not close enough to snow shoe the rest of the way to the summit. We headed back to the parking area and loaded up the machines.

After some discussion of a 'plan B', we decided to drive around about 30 mins to the ANTILON LAKE Sno Park. See map here:

There was a trail from this park that connected into the same trail that would get us to Cooper Mtn. We arrived at the sno park about 30 mins later to find.... no cars and the parking lot was a giant mud pit! Luckily we had spotted the trail nearby and it was snow-covered and showed signs of grooming. 

We again launched the snow machines and started up the trail (8210). There were some bare patches, but overall the trail was good and as we gained elevation the snow cover was improving. Once we hit the ridge and turned onto 8021, we had excellent snow and fresh grooming. We arrived on the glorius Cooper Mountain summit a few minutes later - what a view!

View from Cooper Mtn.

It was clear and very cold and windy on the summit. We got to work on HF and quickly racked up a good number of S2S and chaser contacts on HF. We could see some significant WX approaching from the west - dark clouds and what looked like heavy snow. Since we wanted to try for a 2nd summit, we decided to pack up and head into the storm to activate CH-184 "6100 Poison Peak".

The name sounded ominous, but the summit was nice! It only took us about 20 mins to get to the summit on the freshly groomed trail, and it was in fact snowing briskly and visibility was declining. We picked a spot and set up HF and got to work again. We decided to do a 'hurry up" activation and push our luck by going for a 3rd summit that was only a few miles down the trail. We spent ~40mins on HF, and with 23 contacts in the log we shoved off for CH-183 'Fox Peak'.

We didn't see any foxes. However it was increasingly difficult to see much of anything, as the storm was approching blizzard condx. We trudged our way up to the AZ on snow shoes and set up HF. It was getting a bit late and VERY cold/windy now so we did not linger. We managed to log 14 contacts (2 with Japan) in about 20 mins, by which time we were both cold and ready to head back.

The trip back was fun. We made great time on the freshly groomed trails. It took us 45 mins to get back to the parking lot, and the odometer said we had done 46 miles R/T. The drive back home was a bit white knuckle around Blewett and Snoqualmie pass where it was very windy with a snow/rain mix pelting down, but we made home without incident.

This was one of the absolute BEST winter SOTA snowmobile trips we have ever done, and we will certainly be back next season. I highly recommend these 3 summits and I suspect they are easily accessible once the snow melts.

View from Cooper Mtn