Summitted Quandary but failed in the SOTA activation on 1/22/2017.

On my third trip to Quandary I made the summit at 11:40 AM. I was not able to activate the summit for SOTA. My fingers were too cold and numb to be able to operate my Yaesu 817. I feel somewhat satisfied by the climb in that I did make it to the summit, however, I let my ears get frostbitten on this trip.

This was the third Sunday in a row that I drove to the Quandary Peak trail head and hiked on the mountain. I was feeling a lot stronger today than I had previously. I was also trying to pack a lot less weight. I ditched my GPS and carried a smaller plastic compass. The route on Quandary is pretty straightforward.

A few things to do before my next trip,

  • Think about and enact a way to keep my water from freezing
  • Find a better hat
  • Locate another winter shell jacket
  • Get some mittens that keep all four fingers together for more warmth

I had an older North Face Mountain Jacket that I have had for years. I wore it last Sunday, the 15th of January. When I was packing on the 21st, I could not find that jacket. I have a bad habit of putting things on top of my RAV4 and driving off. I fear I did just that. I am bummed out at losing that. I have contacted places that I remember visiting the previous week hoping I left it somewhere. For this trip I had more of a light rain jacket that I usually keep in a pocket of my hydration pack for mountain biking. I need to do a little research and pick a new mountain jacket.

I have a Mountain Hardware fleece hat that I have been wearing while hiking. It does fit over the ears, a little bit. It rides up and will leave my ear lobes exposed. Normally I would have the help of the hood on my jacket, but I lost that. When I was almost to the summit yesterday I realized my ears were exposed and I pinched my right ear lobe and it was pretty solid. I pulled my hat down again and it thawed pretty quickly. Years ago I had a fleece had with longer ear flaps. I used to wear it ice climbing. I’ll look for a better hat that covers the ears completely. My right ear lobe is swollen today.

I had a hydration reservoir in my pack. I was trying to take a drink every few minutes, so as to keep it from freezing up. After I was hiking awhile, I waited too long and it froze. I removed the frozen hose and put it inside my shirt. a little later I pulled it out and the attachment point for the reservoir was frozen and I was unable to reattach it. I still had a one liter Nalgene bottle, and it was freezing a little as well. I was able to unscrew the cap and drink from that bottle. I was drinking water on the drive from Evergreen so I started out well hydrated. I could have opened the hydration reservoir and utilized that water as well. I am thinking about keeping the water inside my pack and inside of a bag with a small disposable hand warmer to keep the water from freezing.

I have a pair of older Black Diamond Gore Tex gloves that I used for ice climbing a long time ago. They worked okay, had the dexterity for placing ice screws, but were never that warm. Id like to find some mitts and give those a try. My fingers got very cold even with my gloves on. They were numb at the summit and useless for operating my ham radio.

I am thinking about what mountain is next. I will want to activate it for the SOTA program with my ham radio gear. I know playing radio will be a lot easier in the spring and summer months.




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