Grizzly Peak, W0C/SP-004 on 07/16/2017

Life has changed a little bit. I spend a lot of time in Broomfield, Colorado at my girlfriend’s house. The time I used to spend at the Evergreen coffee shop, writing up trip reports, is now spent driving. I have done a couple of SOTA activations that I did not write about.

I hiked Mount Silverheels, W0C/FR-005, 13822′ again on Memorial Day 2017, this time making the summit and activating. On June 24th 2017 I hiked and activated Whale Peak, W0C/SP-032 at 13,078′. Both of these summits were first activated by WA6MM and I was the second activator.

I had been looking at Grizzly Peak for several months. At 13,988 feet, Grizzly is Colorado’s highest 13er. This summit had not been activated for SOTA yet. My girlfriend, KA0JKZ , and I tried hiking it on July 9th. While hiking, I turned uphill and left the valley too soon and ended up on a lot of loose talus with rotten rock to climb. We turned back that day and I returned the following Sunday.

I stayed in Evergreen on Saturday night of the 15th to try and get a little sleep before heading out. I left Evergreen at 4:30 in the morning and drove through Copper Mountain and Leadville and turned west on CO 82 at Twin Lakes. I drove west on 82 and turned off at the La Plata Peak trailhead onto Forest Road 399. I did not record the mileage on this 4×4 road. The previous weekend we took the Subaru Outback up this road. It was a little much for the Subaru. My old 1997 Rav4 did fine though.

I started hiking the route at 7:25 AM. I made pretty good time initially. I downloaded the route onto my GPS from The previous weekend I did not have the route on my GPS and I went off route. I stayed in the valley longer and passed below the rotten rock and talus and climbed better terrain. There were more larger rocks to climb and I spent a lot of time using my hands for balance and climbing.

The hike was enjoyable. The route goes past an old mine and initially uses the mine road. I saw mountain goats from a distance. I saw a ptarmigan and her chicks. The ptarmigan was trying to scare me away from her chicks. There were a lot of pretty wildflowers on the hike.

I made the summit a few minutes after 10 AM. I started setting up radio gear and another hiker reached the summit after a few minutes. He goes by Alien, on I asked him to take my picture with my camera.

I set up my Yaesu 817 first with a Elk Antennas 5 element yagi. Trying 446 MHz yielded no contacts. I then went to 146.520 and almost immediately I got Bob, K0NR. Bob was talking to a few other activators on other summits. I was moving the yagi around hoping to contact the other activators but had no luck there. I made a second VHF contact with a mobile operator driving on Highway 285. I kept trying 146.520 for awhile longer with no luck.

I then deployed my trapped end fed half wave wire antenna and the fishing pole. I’d like to write up the making of this antenna. It is (or I thought) tune for 20,30 and 40 meters. It was made from US Army communications wire and the 5 watt pico traps were assembled from kits by SOTABeams. The traps were wound and tuned for 20 and 30 meters.

It tried SSB on 20 and 40 meters for quite awhile without any luck. I tried CW on 20,30 and 40 meters. My SWR was lousy on 30 meters. I had previously used this antenna with success on 30 meters and I do not yet understand what went wrong on this summit.

I was not having much luck making the 4 contacts I needed for the summit. I was moving my wire around hoping it would help. I tuned around on 20 meters and heard a pile-up of calls on 14.285 MHz. I listened for a bit hoping it was another SOTA activator. It was. It was KG7EJT activating a summit in Washington. Tiffany Mountain, W7W/OK-029. As soon as I transmitted my call and said “summit to summit”, KG7EJT asked his other traffic to stand by and we had a short QSO. KG7EJT was activating for his thousandth SOTA point and his Mountain Goat status. I was happy to be a part of that. Congratulations!

I eventually made one CW contact 14.063 MHz for my fourth contact. I had been on the summit for two hours and the weather held out and I wrapped it up.

Usually the hike down goes at half to two thirds of the time up. There were stretches that I had to descend using my hands and these took longer on the way down than on the way up. I also stopped at a few wildflowers and a small waterfall, and a runoff pool on the way down. The trip down was longer than the trip up.

I made it back to my vehicle about 4:30 PM.








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