Easter weekend SOTA(s): W7N/WC-005 and W6/NS-290 and a companion

Saturday: Was a productive and beautiful spring weekend in the Tahoe area!    Miracle March has left and the temps are warming, and the difference in one week in the Mount Rose area was very noticeable. If you remember/read, last weekend I did W7N/WC-003 Tamarack Peak in waist deep powder, this weekend I was literally on the other side of Mt Rose highway walking on hard pack easily going 2mph faster…  Looking back at Tamarack on Saturday, what was covered the weekend before was already showing bare.  So Spring is here, and while MM delivered an awesome 12 feet to help our meager snow pack, it’s already melting off.  Before I get into the SOTA side of things, lets rehash this for a second.  At the end of January, we were at a 30% snow pack percentage for the ’17/’18 season.  At the end of the March we were at 85% of our average… Even with the amazing ’16/’17 season we are still not out of the woods, and we could easily slip back into a drought scenario if we keep having these 70-90% snow pack years.  Hopefully we do not accept this as the new norm..   Okay hippy tree hugging climate change PSA is out of the way!!  So on Saturday I decided it was time to finish off the Mt Rose section and consequently have finally finished WC-001 thru WC-005 in the process.  This is an unnamed peak listed as 9225 (W7N/WC-005).  This like Tamarack is one of those i would suggest is easier in the winter then the summer, especially if snowshoeing on hard pack snow..

 You can go directly to the peak off trail, there is only really one hard ascent at the end, which you would have to do in the summer too, but the hard pack snow with good grip snowshoes (or crampons would be a good option too) will make the ascent easier to deal with.  I would not actually call the ascent that hard, it’s ~800 feet long with 280 feet of climbing for that last final push.  The route is 1.7 miles each way.  GSP Track image below:

This day was definitely getting warm, and the avalanche danger was getting moderate, however the ascent route is on the north facing side, so that did keep the avy danger down some during the afternoon warming/wet slide concerns.

 

Easy to get to this location:  drive up Mt Rose Highway, and park on either side of the side of the road at Tahoe Meadows/Ophir Creek. (1/2 mile shy of Rose pass).

 

 

So next up is an apologies to the chasers, I tend to get a little ADD on Saturdays with the S2S chasing myself.  It is hard to focus on just the activation when I am seeing regions i know are reachable, so a lot of times I tend to go try S2S chase while leaving my working freq.   If it seems like i have wandered off, it’s bc I’m probably S2S someone.

I spent two hours on the summit on Saturday between chasing S2S (and waiting for a few folks from some of the alerts) and working the activation. I ended up getting S2S with KI4SVM, KH7AL, and VE6IXD.  All in all 14 QSO for this summit.  Trying to get my QSO count per activation up too!

 

 

 

Time Call Band Mode Notes
18:22z N4EX 14MHz SSB s3x3, r4x4. into NC
18:23z W0MNA 14MHz SSB 5×7 to Ks, thnx Gary
18:25z W0ERI 14MHz SSB 5×7 to Ks
18:25z K9IR 14MHz SSB s5x5 r3x3 chicago
18:37z KH7AL 7MHz SSB s2s, 3×3.
18:39z NS7P 7MHz SSB r5x6, s5x5, Thnx Phil
18:57z K8TE 14MHz SSB r5x5, s5x9 NM
18:59z WA2USA 14MHz SSB 2×2, 5×9 IN
19:00z KD0YOD 14MHz SSB 5×7 to Minn
19:07z KI4SVM 14MHz SSB s2s to w4g
19:12z WA9STI 7MHz SSB weak 3×3, 5×7 to LA
19:14z NG6R 7MHz SSB r4x3, s5x7, thnx Jerry
19:15z KK7BV 7MHz SSB 4×5, 5×7 in AZ
20:12z VE6IXD 14MHz SSB s2s, 2×2, s3x3

 

 

Sunday: 

The snow capped peaks include Pyramid Peak, Price, Little Pyramid. I am standing just below Big Hill on the Big Hill Helispot.

So earlier in the week I’d been talking with N6DNM (Dmitry) about his upcoming Tahoe weekend and working to get a chase on him as well as hopefully doing a double activation with him.   Saturday night we agreed we would do Big Hill (W6/NS-290).  He’d need to finish up a couple of things, and then he would roll down and meet me in South Lake, and we’d fight the Easter Sunday traffic out of Tahoe down the 50 and to our peak..  So this is one of the few drive up peaks I’ve done.  I keep telling myself to explore this side of Desolation, but seem to barely get past Wright’s Lake road headed West.   FWIW, I am planning a trip in August to Loon Lake for camping, there I will go after McKinstry and Guide peak. That assumes i do not go buy a side-by-side or some other OHV and approach them via the Rubicon.

It was yet another amazing Sierra Nevada day, and even though the peak is at 6100 feet, no hoody was needed, just shorts, hat, sunglasses, and away we went.

This peak is doable all winter long technically as they keep the road to Big Hill plowed since it is an NFS Fire Tower:   Not a lot to write about, so here is my QSO log, and then pictures from the rest of the weekend will be below.  13 contacts, N6DNM and I changed positions for SOTA complete and 1 S2S.

Time Call Band Mode Notes
20:10z AE0AX 14MHz SSB S2S, r3x3, s4x4
20:16z KK6YYD 14MHz SSB 2×2, just above me in Placerville
20:17z K8HU 14MHz SSB r2x2, s5x7 VA
20:35z KG7LR 144MHz FM FQ to LOdi s5x4
20:50z W6JMP 7MHz SSB r5x5, s5x7 SAC ground skip
21:08z WB6DZJB 144MHz FM r5x5, s5x7 Oakley California
21:12z WJ6N 144MHz FM Barry down in Galt, FQ
21:28z KD0IPI 14MHz SSB s5x9, r5x7 MN
21:28z VA2MO 14MHz SSB s5x7 r5x3 DX to QC
21:29z N1EU 14MHz SSB r5x6s5x5, NY
21:32z WD4CFN 14MHz SSB s5x7r3x3QSB, TN
21:35z KF5ZFL 14MHz SSB r: 5x7s5x9 AR

Some parting shots from Saturday:

talk about an easy approach, head across that meadow, hit the first ridge, shoot along the ridge line right to left, hit the saddle and do the final push up to the top of 9225.
Rose (WC-001) on the right, Tamarack (WC-003) and Houghton (WC-002) behind and left of Tamarack.

 

 

You let mother nature give you a way to string your wire and hang your flag..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some parting shots from Sunday:

 

another show with Pyramid on the left, then Price, Little Pyramid, and 9240. I think McKinstry or Guide are all SOTA peaks in this image.. all 8 pointers too..

W6/NS-380 Pk 9347 (snowmobile approach)

Hope Valley, Lost Lakes, and Upper Blue Lake (NE to SE direction)

TLDR version:

  • SOTA summit: Pt 9347, W6/NS-380
  • Activation Date: Jan 13 2018
  • Radio(s): Elecraft KX2 operating at 10 watts SSB, Yaesu FT1DX
  • Antenna: LNR Trailfriendly
  • Bands used: 2m for S2S (see below), 20m and 40m
  • Total QSO: 19, 2 on 2m, 7 on 40m, 10 on 20m
  • Furthest QSO:  N4EX (North Carolina) and he’s ticking his way up my most active chasers..but NS7P will probably keep the lead for a while :D..

 

I have been eyeing this peak for a while, and figured it would be a summer approach.  However with Carson Pass area being the only area with a semi decent amount of snow for snowmobiling I figured I would use this opportunity to try a snow machine approach for a summit..park about a 1/2 mile out and walk into the AZ.  This time out Forestdale road was actually covered in snow all the way to 88.   A nice change, but still needed to drop the scratchers to keep the hyfax/track lubed up..  Did not want a repeat of my last snowmobile outing..   This makes my third time ever heading out on a snow machine, and a few friends were like “do you really wanna go solo” .  Play it safe, assess the risk and do not do anything to beyond your limits.  Basically my same philosophy when I’m solo hiking.  Today it really mattered to for while the avy danger was low when I started, as the day warmed up and the snow softened I could tell I was not going to get a two-fer so had to abandon my attempt on the Nipple.

It took me about 30 minutes to get to the Divide.  There I parked and started my hike up the hill.  1/2 mile and 400 feet of elevation gain… Did not need the snowshoes as the snow was wind buffed and plenty firm, also other snowmobilers that had ridden to the summit and on the final approach the rocks were exposed so that made it super easy (and safe) to make the summit.

I was aware that KK6YYD and WC6J were going to be on Tahoe Mountain (W6/NS-397).  They were also the first to activate this peak, so I made it a point to get to the summit while they were on Tahoe Mountain so we could get the S2S and they could both get the complete!  Success.

I had originally intended to do the Nipple too (I have activated it before, but unfortunately I split UTC midnight so 2 before, and 2 after, no points :(.  That said by the time I reached Upper Blue Lake the snow was turning too soft and lacked coverage to run the machine up the hill to where i had intended to park, and I was thinking it was going to be a bit too slide-ish to make the summit safely, so I played my way back to Red Lake to get some snow time on the sled playing in the variable snow.

All in all a successful day. I am finally starting to learn how to ride that snow machine in deeper snow, and make it do what I want, but gotta remember the throttle is your friend.  Another summit accomplished, and there seems to be some new chasers out there these days!   Next up..who knows..it all depends on the snow.

And some images from the summit:

and looking towards Deadwood peak (W6/NS-073) (which I will be doing as soon as the summer permits!
Making gains from the sled to the summit
Decided to try something new this year for winter since snowboarding is getting a bit long in the tooth.
That snow line is still way to high for this being January 😦 (more like Junuary)

Pyramid Peak (W6/NS-067): one epic day!

So, originally I wanted to snag 2 possibly 3 summits as a single day outing. And in times with low snow, and low water that would have probably been doable. Although to note, the folks I bumped into on the summit seemed to think my 5.5 hour jaunt from Lyons Creek trail head was pretty good time. What is funny is that I wasted close to an hour navigating a cliff section that I could have avoided, but..uh..yah EPIC outing. Anyway, cliff notes aside, since my last post (Ralston Peak) I’ve managed to tick off Mt Pluto (by Northstar) and Slide Mountain (Mt Rose Ski Area) but given that those were all short non-eventful hikes, they do not merit their own page. With Mt Pluto, you can take one of the lifts up that serve Mountain Biking, and then have a short 1-2 mile walk to the summit. For Slide Mountain, park at the Mt Rose trailhead pull off at Mt Rose pass (the highest year round pass in the Sierra’s) and same thing. 1-2 miles of ski runs and service roads. One thing I will note about Slide Mountain is there are a LOT of towers up top. This can increase your noise and increase interference on your signal. I chose a nice flat spot, and pointed things N/S to hit my usual activators..but note I had NO East/West contacts on that peak. So, back to the epic. Pyramid Peak is exactly that..this big Pyramid looking that thing is visible on clear days from Sacramento. It’s on the Southern end of the Crystal Range which is this ridge line with 4 total SOTA summits. The plan was simple, get up at 5am to get an early start. Be on the summit for Pyramid by 10am, and then shoot along the spine to get Mt Price. Well, either my alarm never went off, or I slept thru it, so I woke up at 830. three hours behind :D.

So the distance and elevation to Syliva lake are pretty easy. That last 1.5 miles which has 2000 feet of elevation are what kick your ass! (do not forget, you still have to come down!

Lyons Creek trail. The trail is easy to Sylvia Lake, it’s when you turn away from the trail and start the summit attempt that things get SLOW..

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So what I will say is that the hike into Sylvia lake is pretty easy. I was ~2 hours to the lake. You cover 1500 feet of elevation gain in approximately 5 miles. When you turn UP from the lake, you still have ~2 miles of terrain to cover, BUT..another 2000 feet of elevation. Make sure you have plenty of water and food, or at least stuff to pull water from the creeks and run off.
I decided to take an adventurous route and shoot up some snow fields, and rock pile thinking no problem, I’m going to have to manage scree fields, this is a good time to start. MISTAKE: If the snow had not been still sticking around (or..IF I’d bothered throwing the Ice Axe in) this probably would have not been a bad deal…at some point when going up, you get to a point you have to keep going up.. This is what happened to me :D.

Sylvia lake is below me. This section I free climbed and had to get creative. Avoid that cliff band, and just head up the scree field tot he saddle to being the climb proper up Pyramid.
So I was shooting up what is the middle of this picture, and managed to “snow wall/cliff out”. The snow was still firm enough you could not punch in and make steps, and yah, ICE Axe would have been nice. I did have to do some down climbing on rocks (and rope lower of my pack etc), and managed to scale across the rocks to get to a point where the notch/saddle was easily attainable, but I wasted a good hour getting across here. Oh well, it was fun and challenging all at the same time!
 

After clearing that mess I found plenty of water to refill my bottles, and make the final push. I was monitoring SIMPLEX today b/c I was expecting some 2m calls from KK6YYD as he was doing some summits to my south. So, Pyramid Peak must be one helluva a reflector because I was hearing a lot of folks chewing on .52. At one point I was picking up NB6GC (the USS Hornet Amateur Radio Club) down in Alameda at full quieting. I estimate this at 150miles crow fly. Since they were looking for contacts for their monthly net I decided to try and sure enough, they were getting me with a little QSB. Pretty stoked on that contact, even though it was not part of my overall mission :D.

Daylight was burning, and it was time to push for the summit! I did manage to get my Summit-to-Summit with KK6YYD, so that got him a FULL SOTA for Pyramid Peak. He was on a different peak that is on my list, but later on. The two other hikers on the summit took a keen interest into what I was setting up, so I talked to them about Am Radio, and the Summits on the air epxerience. One guy was camping up top, the other was on a time limit like I was..He however was headed down Horsetail falls, so not quite as far a hike.

Once fully setup on the summit I managed to get the majority of my usual chasers..to which I thank you whole heartedly. I was not activating on HF until 2315 UTC…so I had to get my 4 QSO’s PDQ. I managed a total of 7 QSOs before midnight UTC!

Given the time of day (1700 PST) I was thinking I either needed to push off the summit in a hurry, drop down via a different trail, OR..screw it, I had the gear and enough food to get me thru the night, just stay up there.. (Frankly this was a pretty enticing idea, but I new I would need to be available for Search and Rescue later that night, or Sunday.

Long story short, I made Sylvia lake by 2030, which gave me an hour buffer before sunset. I managed to be below the snow line (~8000 fee) by 2100, and was well on my way. I was off the trail by 2245, so basically I had a 13 hour day out, with 16 miles of hiking. I only managed one summit though. The rest of the peaks in Desolation are going to be some backpacking trips, so stay tuned for bigger updates later this summer. Next weekend may not have a SOTA outing depending on things, and I have still yet to manage a 2-fer in a single outing.. -73

has seen better days
Looking north from the peak. Dicks is the near prominence on the left, Tallac is the prominence on the right.
looking back at Pyramid peak.

W7N/EL-105 (Prometheus, Mount) (and some Pony Express support)

I volunteered to help with communications for the Pony Express re-ride. I also figured it would give me an opportunity at parts of NV I probably will not see often. Lets just say that Golden Earring wrote “Radar Love” with US50 in mind. I drew a section near Austin NV, but because of some recent weather issues my first assignment was unattainable. The second assignment though was no problem as I followed along the horse along the highway. There is not a lot out that way, it is very dark, it is very quiet, all the things you would normally find in an off the radar backpacking trip. I ended up sleeping near Cold Springs Station, there was a pull off with a bathroom, blah blah. It was also just far enough away from Austin that it was out of the weather. That said, next morning, I rolled back to Austin and grabbed breakfast at the only cafe in town open, and met up with Jeff and Sue from the SIERA amateur radio club and we had breakfast. Also met up with some other folks from the Pony too. After breakfast I checked the SOTA map to see what was close by.. There are four 10 pointers, a few 8 pointers south of Austin but the roads were a mess. So I opted for Mount Prometheus right outside of town and right off US50. A short run of off-road, and parked I was. There is no trail, just park somewhere on a BLM/Rancher/Forest service access road where you feel comfortable and start walking. . For where I parked the walking was pretty easy. Made the first small ridge and then contoured across to the structure the peak is a part of. I maybe hiked a mile, not the hardest hike I have ever done. The summit has two different Geodetic markers, but they both say the same thing, and they are about 10 feet from each other. A rock pile and such on the summit make it easy to erect a mast for your antenna. This is one of the first times I erected solely in an NVIS style angle on my antenna wire. I was able to get my four contacts pretty quick, and because of the nature of why i was out there, I opted to boogie off the summit pretty quickly so stopped at four QSO. I had 1 contact on 20m (W0MNA) everything else was on 40m. The bands were being REALLY bad at this time. For the Pony comms we had hoped to run an HF relay on a couple of peaks and the conditions were not such that we could. The topo above should give you some idea of how easy of a hike this is..and reality is if there had not been snow on the road I would’ve kept driving for an easier summit hike. Keep driving north on that BLM approach road and you can also get W7N/EL-064, Telegraph Peak.

There are two markers on the summit!
Second one, does not look any newer/different then the other one. Since it just says “Lander County Hill 2” I’m wondering if I was in the right place 😀

Slept at the Cold Springs station pullout, could not find a place in Austin, but hey it was QUIET out there in the middle of NOWHERE!

Genoa Peak, TRT/SOTA challenge part 1b

Walking back down the road from Genoa

 
Ah Big Blue: Looking down at the lake while walking back to the trail. Genoa Peak, this is the 2nd peak of the Nevada half of the TRT that I am working on for the summer challenge.. Although I have enough other fun peaks on the list, I am beginning to wonder if I am going to complete it..oh who knows we have till November. That said, I opted to skip the trail here and head up the road, probably a mistake given the fact that I saw mountain bikes drop into the trail and ended up hiking thru snow.
Even on the Eastern side of the lake on the normally dryer side.
The snow is plenty firm though given the melt refreeze cycles we go thru.
I am also learning quickly do NOT trust Google maps. GM said it was 2.2 miles to the summit. Even with me taking a short cut (across the snow), it was 4.4 miles to the summit. overall I did 9.8 miles, I guess PhD’s do not know much about mapping and navigation when it comes to non-pavement surfaces. Yet another reason to NOT rely solely upon technology and smart phones.. Soapboxing aside, it took about two and half hours to make the summit. Down below me at the lake the AMBBR was going on so I was listening to the NR7A repeater to the comms as things went on. If you are interested in EMCOMM I highly suggest you go sign up and volunteer for an event like that. While these biking events are not EMCOMM, a lot of the same principles apply. The last two years I’ve done the California Death Ride (Tour of the Cali alps) and this year I’m doing the Pony Express re-ride thru NV as well as the Tour-de-Tahoe in Sept. On the summit there are a lot of radio structures, so do get a tad off peak to setup. Since I was not in a hurry to get off the top I decided to play around w/ some different antenna setups. I managed three QSO’s in like 2 minutes, then things slowed down, and I shifted over to 2m. So my first antenna setup was my typical straight wire in a N/S orientation so I could throw E-2-W. After a bit I shifted direction slightly. On 2m, I could hear a local guy operating another SOTA activator that I could not hear etc. Reached out to him, got him some chaser points, and then got the details on KE6MT who was working a peak about 30 miles crowfly south of me (On Leviathon Peak W6/SN-039). We could not hit each other on 2m, but we did manage a contact on 40m. By then I’d shifted my antenna to an NVIS setup b/c I was also trying to reach activator W6SAE who was working a peak down towards San Francisco. I could hear him buried deep, but he was unable to pull me out. Oddly enough with an NVIS setup, I managed to snag W0ERI and W0MNA out in Oklahoma. They could hear me using an NVIS setup, but could not hear me when I was pointed specifically in their direction. I think I noted this in my previous post, but damn the bands have been acting funky so far this year.
All in all I made 10 contacts, and added one “SOTA Complete” thanks to the S2S with Leviathon peak. Funny too, Monitor pass only recently opened, and last I heard the road to the antenna towers still had a fair amount of snow on it. Break out your snowshoes!

Couple of parting images from the activation!

KX2, Watts UP Batter meter, Zippy 4200 battery. 4 activations since I last charged it, that thing can go and go..

This marker has seen better days. Either folks have tried to break it off to steal it, or it just gets a lot of weather..

Can see the inlet to Emerald Bay, Fallen Leaf Lake, Tallac and Pyramid in this image. The Sierra are awesome!

Some W7N action and Memorial day weekend

The snow is still deep in the Sierra, and that is a good thing.  So lets head a tad east and start exploring the W7N/TR association near Carson Valley.   It is right in my backyard (or would that be front yard?).

Since May 20th I have snagged 3 peaks and 20 points.  Gotta get my points per activation back up, need to hit some 10 pointers.

First up was W7N/TR-019, Mineral Peak.  After all the work I’d done with the Tacoma, it was time to start breaking it in on the roads east of Carson City, NV, and this was a peak that had never been activated.  This peak does not really have any trails to the summit, so it was time to just brave the heat, and head straight up the side of the mountain, and see what the GPS tells me.  Here is my GPS track from that hike.  Pretty straight forward activation, only got 4 QSOs 3 on 20 and had to fall back to 2m for the fourth.  Managed a Summit to Summit too :D. There may be a method for making the peak from the East side of the peak, I came up from the west and just walked straight up. Do be aware though that it can be steep, and there is some loose rock at the top, so do be careful. The approach is off Johnson Lane in Minden, head out Sunshine Pass road. I could have headed up an extra road, but I like my paint job. Head to SummitPost if you would like more info about this peak and how to approach it. I forgot my phone, so no images, however this image is from Mount Como. Mineral Peak is across the valley from Mt Como just off center right. In both cases I managed to snag two peaks with zero activations.

Lake Tahoe is opposite those snow covered peaks. Looking west from the Pine Nuts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memorial Day weekend:

Walk up a road to a trail, smooth walking the whole way. Various ways to get here..

I managed to snag two more peaks for the holiday weekend. On Saturday I headed back out Sunrise pass road to do some more exploring of the desert area between Carson and Fallon, also wanted to snag another peak with zero activations (W7N/TR-008, Mt Como). The SummitPost page has some good beta for where to park and how to get closer however part of the road had washed out 2 miles from the place I intended to park. There is another road in to this area from the East that gets you to the same area if you do not want to walk that far. There are a few spots along the walk that would make a great high altitude campsite. The snow is not too bad out here, but I did encounter mosquitoes and some bogs from the melting snow. Managed three Summit to Summits, and 5 total contacts, the bands have been odd, or I am just doing stupid stuff with the direction of my antenna. June is going to have quite a bit of W7N in it :D. One interesting thing though, one of the S2S guys jumped onto my frequency to make contact, and next thing I know a bunch of chasers piled him, and pushed me off frequency. Odd that they could not all hear me. One of these days I’m just going to head to a summit for a few hours and try chasing only without actually setting my own spots. The hike out was uneventful, but I did get to pull a truck out of a bog.

 

 

 

Duane Bliss from Spooner Summit

On Monday, I went after Duane Bliss peak (W7N/TR-014) as part of my Tahoe Rim Trail/SOTA challenge. I had hoped to make this and W7N/TR-007 as a two fer day hike however there is still a lot of snow on the trail corridor which does slow you down (it slows me down about 1/2 mile an hour). I tagged another Summit to Summit, and 6 total QSOs, 2 on 20, 2 on 40, and 2 on 2m. Nothing really exciting on the approach to this peak. Park at Spooner summit, head out the Rim Trail for 3 miles, then turn left and go UP off trail :D.

A busy two weeks for me and SOTA, working my way to my GOAT. I’ve already done more peak points this year then each of the last two years, here is to hoping I keep it up :D.

From sand to snow.. two activations to totally different types of zones, and finally 100pts on SOTA!

 

A couple of false summits to keep your hopes up

The weekend of April 1/2 I managed to snag two different peaks in two different zones and states, and two very different types of hikes :D.  The CVHams meet on the first Saturday of the month, so I headed to Carson Valley with the intention of doing two different activations, but ran out of time scouting the entry roads.  So I opted to head to the meeting w/ the purpose of snagging W7N/TR-042 (McTarnahan Hill) after the fact.  This morning my goal was to hit that peak before the meeting, but yah those NV back roads are in rough shape from winter.  Anyway that said, I managed to get within 1/2 mile from the backside of the peak, but if you went up the front side from Carson City side, and had a Quad/Motorcycle you can make it to 20 feet from the summit.   I know better then to activate this close to 0000 UTC.. Oh well, I allowed the Auchard’s to get double chaser points.  Another successful activation, As noted the Auchards both before and after 0000, as well as a local guy in Carson City, and NG6R from Southern Cal.

Leave no Trace!A campsite on the side of the road where folks left unopened beers and other various trash.Look folks, LEAVE NO TRACE.  Leave it how you found it.  Oddly enough when I came back thru the second time, the bottles were actually gone.  I guess the runners I saw out on Sunshine Pass Road needed a pick me up on this fine day!

 

 

 

And now the Snow Zone 😀
Panorama from Big Blue and Desolation, Hope Valley on around to Carson Pass

 

So Sunday the goal was get up to Stevens Peak (W6/NS-345).  This is one of the peaks on my “TRT Challenge to Self” so one checked off, a few more to go.  No this summit does not help me from a miles perspective.  There was still plenty of snow, so I opted to go up the backcountry skiers route, but the sun was blasting that hillside, so it was getting soft. Sidehilling in soft snow on a 30 degree slope is risky for a multitude of reasons, unless you have solid self arrest skills, do not bother. HOWEVER..you gain 1000 feet in the first mile, making for a mellow grade for that last 1/2 mile push up the summer trail. Even though there was ample snow in the first 2.5 miles the last mile was pretty snow free on the climb. The top still had plenty of snow though. People are pecuiliar, I followed these two skiers up the bowl, and watched em descend. Turns out one of the guys was on his third day out ever, not third day of learning BC Skiing, but third day of skiing period. 30 degree slopes are hard blues/easy blacks. Is BC on a spring corn day on avalanche terrain really the place to be learning how to ski? Saw a couple of snow bunnies and a few bear prints in the snow while hiking. All in all, I love snowshoeing thru the snow. Once on the summit, I saw my fair share of BC skiers/snowboards who had come up the main face of Stevens (as opposed to Carson Pass). Oddly enough there were two backcountry riders who ferried one of those super expensive drones that have “follow the subject mode’ or whatever it’s called. The guy was complaining that my antenna was creating interference. Odd that the drones are impacted by the RF from a radio on 20m. I was nice and let them film and ski out, b/c the sooner they were gone the sooner I could get to it. So the nice thing about my SOTA attempts is they are always a learning experience. The experience on this trip is that snow does affect radiation patterns and such, oh and I need to figure out how to use APRS2SOTA. I somehow managed a contact on 20m at ~60miles crow fly. Thanks KK6CUG for the spot, that brought the chasers on. That and since I could see Kirkwood Ski resort, I managed a few simplex contacts from folks with their HT’s riding the lifts. Funny, I never considered carrying my HT while resort riding, but if you snag ski patrol’s frequency, I can see why it’s worth it. The hike out was pretty uneventful, but I went back the summer/PCT path instead of trudging down that hillside I came up. It would be easy to snag Stevens and Red Lake in a single day, and I almost considered it, if I had been off Stevens 30 minutes earlier I probably would have gone for it. Anyway some pics from the summit and from the surrounding areas. Oh how I do love the Tahoe/Carson area!  My particular path was 7.1 miles total, the return path was a bit longer then the up path, but I was going for the safety factor, and even did some butt glissading.  I was also scouting the route for my attempt on Red Lake peak, I’ll be skipping the skiers bowl that overlooks HWY 88 the next time

A few images of the area. Nothing specific,  Round Top (W6/NS-055) which is on my list to do. Red Lake Peak (W6/NS-062) as well.  There is probably 50-70 SOTA points in the various pictures there with named peaks in the W6/NS (and some W7N/TR designator) in the panorama.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all it was a great weekend, Some sand, some snow, some awesome scenery and an overdose of Vitamin D (the uncovered parts of my face are purple thanks to the reflective power of the snow :D).