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. 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).

A brief note about wildlife!

So, one thing living in Tahoe affords me is experiencing wildlife on a semi regular basis. What I also witness though is just how dumb people can be, and the things they say in regards to wildlife, especially bears. On my very first Summits on the Air activation of “Pt 9614” (W6/NS-086) I had what could have been a very dangerous experience with a bear. Some would say I am lucky, I do not necessarily disagree with that, but the one thing that mattered is that I did not lose my cool and panic, and THAT had a lot to do with getting out of the situation. So I will not go too much into the trip report for this other then to say I hiked up the High Meadow Road from the basin, and instead of heading up to the Rim Trail via Star Lake, I decided to do some overland hiking and navigation skills. That is one nice thing about hiking above tree level, plenty of hand rails for navigating. So I made my way across the meadow, and started up on my climb, had a few creek crossings. Reality is, I was using an old road on the map I was using to short cut my way from High meadow to the Rim Trail. One thing you want to do whenever in bear country is make a lot of noise, and yes I make plenty of noise. I will sit there and yell “Hey Bear” about every 5-10 minutes, and whistle, and sing and what not. If there is a bear, or cougar, or any other wildlife, they know I am coming. That said, I’ve navigated so far so good, and I’m about 300 yards from the Rim Trail and can actually see the trail, and see bikes go whizzing by from time to time, so no worries. At one point, I yelled out a “hey bear” and heard a rustle up ahead of me, and managed to see a small ball of black fur go take off across the trail. “Oh shit! that’s a baby” is probably what I thought, it’s been a couple of years. All STOP! Do not go forward, do not go backwards, again. I started scanning the area around me, by now Junior was way off to my left about 100 yards (man those animals can move.another reason NOT TO RUN!). That said, where was big momma? I scanned to the right, and above me, about 100-200 feet up the hill was mom. I was in the one position you NEVER want to be in with a mom and cubs (in the middle). She had not taken any offensive positioning with me, yet, she had not risen up on her hind legs, but she was definitely checking me out. At that rate, I figured the best thing I could do was start to back down the hill a little bit. I did not turn around and run, I did not maintain eye contact, I just backed down the hill slowly. Once I added another 50-100 feet between us, I started to move to my right (in her general direction) but away from the direction of the cub. The goal was to put her between me and the cub. Once I was well to her right, I started to move up the hill, she maintained and even pace with my ascent and it stayed that way for about 100-200 yards. Then about 50 yards below the trail a mountain biker came whizzing by and she took off. I do wonder what she would have done if I had made the trail, but no bikers or hikers had come by. Moral of the story though, I did not act threatening, I talked calmly, but loud enough she could here me “Away with your weapons, I mean you no harm” etc and moved slowly. Maintain calm, and composure. Remember, we’re in their house, it is their rules, and best to be respectful. I did manage to grab one pic though during a tense part of the encounter.