ViewVoting details

SOTA Activation: Granite Mountain, King County, Washington - February 28, 2015

K7MAS's picture
Voice Cellular Coverage: 
Good, very usable
Data Cellular Coverage: 
Don't know
Cellular Provider: 
APRS Coverage: 
Don't know

Winter activation of Granite Mountain, together with Tim Nair, KG7EJT.  Granite Mtn., 5,629 feet elevation, with 3,800 feet elevation gain and 8.6 miles RT, is located near the Denny Creek area, off I-90, near Snoqualmie Pass.  There have been a few other SOTA Activations of Granite, but none in winter.  Great weather, manageable snow, stupendous views and good companionship made for a fine Activation!

I have been mentoring Tim, KG7EJT, towards involvement in SOTA, and hopefully upgrading his license grade to General, for a couple months via e-mail and the occasional local repeater contact.  It was good to finally arrange an Activation together.  The plan was for me to concentrate on HF (20M + 40M), while Tim concentrated on 2M FM, using his newly acquired Arrow Antennas 4 element Yagi.  Joining us were Tim's wife, Masako, and another hiking couple, Mike and Kathleen, none of them Hams. 

Driving towards Granite, it was apparent that some new snow had fallen and covered portions of the South face down to between 4,200 and 4,000 elevation.  It did not look very deep from afar.  We left the TH at nearly 10:00 AM, and made relatively fast work of the trail until snowline was reached.  Most in the group donned MICROspikes for more secure footing on the boot packed new snow.  Otherwise the ascent was uneventful, except for the hordes of semi or unprepared (shorts, t-shirts and sneakers) hikers, which offered some comic relief.  Reached the summit at 12:30 PM, after a bit of post holing on steepish snow up the final summit block.

While the rest of the crew caught up, Tim and I started setting up for the SOTA Activation.  I set up my 20M +40M inverted V linked dipole, suspended from 25 foot carbon fiber fishing pole, while Tim set up his Arrow 4 element Yagi.  Soon we were on the air, and creating a bit of a pile up on 40M ssb, and 2M fm.  My rig is an Elecraft KX3.  I marvelled at the QUIET Rx, as there was absolutely no man made noise up there.  I was hearing QSO's from all over the continental USA, and some DX, but alas was only heard to about 300 - 400 miles on 40M.  Maybe time for CW?

The occasional small and singular clouds that drifted by, and obscured the sun for a few moments, reminded us that this was indeed still wintertime.  Granite mountain summit is fully exposed, and can be a very inhospitable place, as I have seen on other occasions.  This day was spectacular, with light and occasional winds, and temperatures at 5,629 feet hovering around 40 degrees F, but feeling warmer in the full sun.

After about 1 1/2 hours on the summit, including the Activation, lunch, photography and gazing at the spectacle, we were on our way down.  The decent was relatively uneventful, except for a short detour on steepish snow, in order to bypass the bottleneck created by hikers in sneakers and no socks decending through the deep snow portions on the north face of the summit block.  Back at the car by 4:00 PM. 

Thank you very much to "Chasers", all 40M contacts: W7ARR; KE7TDY; KV7L; KF7TNA; VE7PE; KW7FX; KE7F; KF7FID.

Hover Mouse Over Pictures for Text / Explanation

KG7EJT's picture

Granite Mountain SOTA Activation

Hi Mark,

I really enjoyed meeting you in person and participating in this joint Activation with you!  I learned a lot from you, and look forward to more Activations with you.