This was a nice activation, with a lot of summit to summit and 2 meter activity. Left the house just after 0400. The Jeep was getting a new computer “brain” installed, so drove a new Nissan Altima rental that Budget was giving me for only $105 a week! Much quieter and more comfortable than the Jeep, I must say.

Sunrise from the Angeles Crest HighwaySAM_0278

Started around 0600 at the Pacific Crest Trail at mile marker 62.5. Nice hike up, working Neil K6KWI along the way. He was already at W6 CT-158 Los Pinetos (aka “Fernando 2 Benchmark”), along with Bob KB6CIO and Martin WN6E.

Reached the central summit, and worked on 2 meters for 15 minutes: K6TW Tim mobile heading to the southern Sierras for some SOTA, KK6JRX Albert, Martin WN6E, Mike N6MKW who was not yet on the summit of Little Gleason, Bob KB6CIO and Neil K6KWI.
SAM_0280

I then decided to go over to the north summit (5 minutes away), since I had not operated from that point before. Both the central and the north are in the activation zone, but the south point which you hike over first, is not.

Continuing on 2 meters, worked Hassan N1CY and Mike N6MKW who was now at the summit of Little Gleason W6 CT-087. Mike was shadowed by Mt Pacifico, but we managed to complete the QSO. Then I set up the 20m dipole, putting the mast about 3 or 4 feet up in a tree.
SAM_0281

My first QSO on 20m was with Jean-Francois VA2VL in Quebec on VE2 LR-006 Mont Kaaikop. At home, I have never been able to hear JF because of my high “city” noise level.

20m QSOs: VA2VL WD9F N0OI K4PIC W7CNL W7RV KG3W WB5USB NS7P W0MNA W0ERI KB7HH KH2TJ K7TQ WB0USI K6TUY

30m: W7RV K6TUY N7RRR

2m: K6TW WN6E KK6JRX KB6CIO K6KWI N1CY N6MKW, then after HF operation KW6ACK (Ducky) AG6ZR N0OI

It was quite an activation with a lot of good 2 meter and summit to summit activation. Neil was working station after station on 2 m; he had a beam and was running 50W. I really need a better 2m antenna rather than my 1/4 wave HT whip.

View down into Bear Canyon. The long ridge leading from left to Monrovia Peak (W6 CT- 028) on the right. In the center you can see a small rocky ridge that leads up to the right; Pt 4654 W6 CT-127 is at the right end of this ridge but is not visible behind the ridge leading to Twin Peaks in front of it.
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Then a nice hike down. Here looking back up to the Mt. Williamson summit ridge
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Twin Peaks W6 CT-064
0290

73!
Hal
N6JZT

My right knee has been hurting, so I wanted an easy peak. On Table Mountain, you can drive up almost all the way; a quarter mile walk and 100 ft of elevation gain takes you to the summit.

Drove up via the Angeles Crest Highway, then onto Table Mountain Road near Wrightwood. Parked in the parking lot at the end. This is the “Mountain High North” ski area, in the summer it is called “Sky High Disc Golf”. It used to be called “Ski Sunrise” but Mountain High now runs all three ski areas here: Mountain High West, East (once called Holiday Hill), and North. “North” is kind of unusual in that you drive almost to the top of the mountain, then ski down to the lifts on the north slope.

The weather was bright and fair, in the 60s. My operating site. I set up the mast because I didn’t feel like jumping around to throw the antenna up to a tree branch.
SAM_0088

I had brought the heavy IC-706 and 20Ah battery, so I could operate on 17m and also SSB. Worked many stations, including DJ5AV in Germany, on SSB. I worked Keith KK6LKN when I first got to the summit. He was mobile and he and his wife were on their way to breakfast in Lancaster. Then as I was setting up I heard Ken KN6CCW and gave him a call. Ken kindly spotted me. Then I found my cell phone worked so I was able to spot myself to the SOTA site with text messages.

Date:13/Jun/2014 Summit:W6/CT-067 (Table Mtn.) Call Used:N6JZT Points: 8 Bonus: 0 Delete
Time Call Band Mode Notes
15:08z KK6LKN 144MHz FM /m, Keith
15:30z KN6CCW 144MHz FM
15:40z WA2USA 18MHz SSB
15:43z N4EX 18MHz SSB
15:44z KF7JQV 18MHz SSB
15:46z N4MJ 18MHz SSB
15:47z N7UN 18MHz SSB
15:47z NS7P 18MHz SSB
15:49z DJ5AV 18MHz SSB
15:50z K0LAF 18MHz SSB
15:54z W7CNL 18MHz SSB
15:59z N0EVH 18MHz CW
16:00z N1EU 18MHz CW
16:01z K8TE 18MHz CW
16:04z KG3W 18MHz CW
16:08z WB5CTS 18MHz CW /m near Winslow AZ Steve
16:12z N0OI 18MHz CW
16:30z KT5X 14MHz CW
16:31z WB5USB 14MHz CW
16:33z K9ZMD 14MHz CW
16:34z W7CNL 14MHz CW
16:35z AB5RE 14MHz CW
16:37z K6TUY 14MHz CW
16:38z NA6MG 14MHz CW
16:39z KF7WNS 14MHz CW
16:40z N7KRN 14MHz CW
16:41z W7RV 14MHz CW
16:41z K4PIC 14MHz CW
16:42z NK6A 14MHz CW
16:43z N7WM 14MHz CW
16:44z KC6SSE 14MHz CW
16:45z K6EL 14MHz CW s2s w6 nc 423
16:52z NS7P 14MHz SSB
17:03z W7RV 10MHz CW
17:06z K7SO 10MHz CW
17:08z NM5S 10MHz CW
17:09z N6KZ 10MHz CW
17:10z N7EDK 10MHz CW
17:14z NK6A 10MHz CW
17:15z K6TUY 10MHz CW

Top of the ski lift
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Baden Powell to the west
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Mountain High West. During the late 80s I would come here and go night skiing. That was pretty cool.
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On the drive down. From L to R: Pine, Baldy, and Iron Mtn
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73!
Hal
N6JZT

The US Forest Service finally reopened May 24 the Strawberry Peak area almost 5 years after the Station Fire of August 2009. I had called the USFS office twice to confirm this. The information was also on their web site.  So Strawberry Peak, Mt. Lawlor and Josephine Peak are once again open to the general public.

6AM at Red Box. The trail head is north of the road and a couple of hundred yards east.
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Trail ascends gently to the east, then a sharp turn back to the west
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If you have an uncontrollable urge you can go steeply up 1000 feet….
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I think it is better just to continue on the trail. Strawberry Peak (CT-018) comes into view
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Spring flowers
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At the saddle turn back sharp east to go up the ridge on the use trail/fire break. It is easy to follow on the ascent
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Steep and rugged in places
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From far to near: Mt. Lukens (CT-030), Hoyt Mountain (CT-146, Point 4202 (CT-150)
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The long Barley Flats ridge to the east. Nike Ajax missiles used to be based there. The control site was on Mt. Disappointment. Nike Ajax did not carry a nuclear warhead.
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Handy post for the mast at the top. Mt Wilson, Occidental Peak (CT-098), San Gabriel Peak (CT-019) and Mt Disappointment in the background
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No luck finding chasers on 20m or 30m. My 20m RBN spots didn’t make it to the SOTA spot page, I don’t know why. RBN did not pick me up at all on 30m. Maybe the CQ WPX contest was saturating the systems. So I worked contest stations on 20m, including my old friend Mats KQ7W, once LU9AUY/LU9AY

2m was interesting. I worked Frank KK6EHQ, and then Mike N6MKW who had stopped in a turn out on the Angeles Crest Highway to call me. I noticed a high S9 noise level on the HT. Towards the end of the operation I thought to move north below the lip of the ridge to shield me from Mt Wilson and the noise went away! I was able to work Ken KN6CCW and Jeff K6QCB. I guess junk from the TV transmitters was interfering even though they were several miles away. Maybe a filter on the HT would help.

2m FM: KK6EHQ N6MKW KN6CCW K6QCB
20m CW, all contest stations: VE7WO WG0M JA7ZFN NE5LL KE2VB AD7JP KQ7W N7RO NQ2F NK7U

During the descent, I made a route finding error! At some point I headed down a spur trending left, I guess following a deer trail or something. I finally noticed that I needed to be back on the ridge to the north! I traversed through thick and nasty chaparral to get back there, getting pretty scraped up in the process. This was very annoying! I called my self a dumass when I reached the correct path!

Here is a picture back at the saddle. I went down the spur on the right (which was on the left when heading down). So if you do Mt. Lawlor be more careful than I was!
SAM_0077a

The trail is very nice and well graded. About half a dozen mountain bikers came by during my hike today. I think they come up from Big Tujunga and then down to Angeles Crest.
SAM_0081

Had a Mountain Dew back at the car. The Haramokngna American Indian Cultural Center at Red Box. I recommend a visit.

http://www.haramokngna.org/visit/learning-center

SAM_0082

Stopped in at Clear Creek Ranger Station to get a new Adveture Pass. The ranger there (Angela) said that even though the Strawberry area was now open, some of the trails were still not up to par yet.

Three miles each way, 1300 feet elevation gain. One and three quarters hours up. Took 4 pints of water and drank 2. Temp about 60 degrees, very mild.

73!
Hal
N6JZT

San Pedro Hill is the high point of the Palos Verdes Peninsula. It is not far from my house. The summit is shared by an FAA site and a private housing development. I drove up Crest Road and walked to the activation zone at the end. Crest Road ends at the FAA site entrance and the locked gate of the private city of Rolling Hills.

Previously, I had tried twice before on 2m but never had any QSOs. I had also scouted the south side of the hill, there is city park land there but the ham radio is blocked to the north and east, so would be best from there to VK and JA I guess.

FAA radar site with giant log periodic antenna
SAM_0039

Worked Jeff K6QCB and Dan NA6MG on 2m. Jeff was weak from Rancho Cucamonga and could barely hear me, Dan was S9. Maybe there is a hill in the way from Jeff’s QTH. Dan suggested I set up for HF, so attached the mast to a sign post and strung out the 20m dipole. I had hoped to work Mike N6MKW on 2m but I guess there was no line of sight so didn’t hear him. He was up on Whitaker Peak (W6 SC-076)  60 miles away.

The operating site was not particularly pleasant or scenic so didn’t stay long
SAM_0042

Was spotted quickly on 20m and made some more QSOs. There was an S2 noise level on 20m so it was more like the home QTH (S6 noise) than the National Forest mountains I am used to.

2m FM: K6QCB NA6MG
20m CW: AE9F W7CNL K6EL(S2S W6 NC-423) NE4TN K4PIC NS7P K6TUY

A huge number of RF systems
SAM_0048

Some nice bougainvillea
SAM_0045

Crest Road to the right. Popular with bicyclists to enjoy the fast ride down.
SAM_0049

Nice views on the drive back to the house
SAM_0050

73!
Hal
N6JZT

It’s been more than a year since I last hiked Mt. Waterman, that time was on snow shoes. No snow this time! The weather was cool and very windy.

Stopped at Newcomb’s Ranch and had a “GS Rider Special” – eggs covered with chili beans and hash browns on the side.

0745 at Newcomb’s Ranch. When I got closer I could see orange kitty Louie looking out one of the windows on the top floor. He is one of Darren’s four cats. The other three are Diego, Mykee, and Lacey.
100_3873

Parked at the Buckhorn day use area, then about a hundred yards up the jeep road opposite and left on the Mt. Waterman trail.

Today turned left, last time (January 2013) continued on snow shoes up the jeep road to the right
100_3876

Continued up, greeting and passing a group of Korean hikers; I didn’t see them later so I assume they went to Twin Peaks today. After an hour or so from the start reached the junction between the trail to Twin and Three Points, and Mt. Waterman. I seemed to remember a sign here in the past, if so it is no more. Took the sharp right to continue on the trail to Waterman.

Near the top, a use trail continues left to the summit.
100_3881

On the 2m HT worked Chris K6CMG who was over on Mt Islip (W6 CT-010), also Jeff K6QCB and Frank KK6EHQ.
I finally settled on a place to set up the antenna, where I could stay out of the strong wind. The temperature was about 50F. Very sunny.
100_3883

Made fewer contacts than usual; QRM on 20m, and RBN didn’t pick me up on 30m, where I called CQ for 20 minutes. The propagation didn’t seem too good; the A index was 8 and the K index was 3.

2m FM: K6CMG, K6QCB, KK6EHQ
20m CW: KB7HH NS7P N7CW KX7L K6SSS W7RV W0ERI K7SO N7AMA W0MNA

View of Smith Mountain (W6 CT-120) from where I was sitting
100_3882a

Heading down, Smith Mountain center left, rocky ridge to Twin Peaks (W6 CT-064) on the right
100_3888

On the way down, worked two other SOTA activators: Oleh KD7WPJ on Throop Peak (W6 CT-005) and Gary K6YOA a mile away on Kratka Ridge (W6 CT-014)

More Mistletoe, on fir tree
100_3890

Later that day from home, worked Chris K6CMG on 20m CW who had continued on up to Mt Waterman! And in the evening Gary K6YOA again on 40m SSB for his fourth summit (Table Mountain W6 CT-067) of the day.

73!
Hal
N6JZT

I had been planning this ride for some time, to coincide with the “QRP to the Field” and “International SOTA Weekend” activities. There are nice picnic tables and shady trees right at the top of Mt. Pacifico. The route up is along Santa Clara Divide Road for three and a half miles, then a mile on a spur to the top. This year’s theme for QRPTTF was “Tres de Mayo” since the date was near the Cinco de Mayo. So Mt. Pacifico was a good choice, pacifico meaning “peaceful”.

Drove up Angeles Crest Highway, passsed Newcomb’s Ranch, then left along Santa Clara Divide Road passing Crest Christian Camp and Horse Flats Campground. A few miles further on is the gate on the unpaved part of Santa Clara Divide Road (3N17). This is the same road that passes by Gleason, Snow Benchmark and Magic Mountain farther to the west.

A nice cool morning just before sunrise. The start at Alder Saddle. Gate is just up around the corner.
100_3844

The road was well graded and hard packed surface, as I had expected. It was very nice to ride on. The road also avoided all the awful Poodle Dog Bush on the Pacific Crest Trail! Today’s cargo load: IC706 and tuner 7 pounds, battery 7 pounds, antenna and coax etc 2 pounds, water and beer 6 pounds, bike repair tools 2 pounds = 24 pounds.

Strawberry Peak a few minutes after sunrise
100_3845

You can see how good the road is
100_3848

After some good miles, turned right up to Mt. Pacifico.
100_3851a

The road becomes steeper and rougher
100_3853

Soon arrived at the campground. It is lightly used since the road is closed to cars. I had it to myself.

I had brought the 20Ah Li battery and IC-706, so I could operate on more bands and at higher power if I needed. I set up a dipole for 17m which I had made a few days before. The VOACAP program said that 17m would be the best band for DX to Europe for this morning in May. I had a nice spot in the shade.
100_3859b

Conditions were good on 17m and I worked into Europe a couple of times, including a SSB QSO with Steve SM4OTI in Sweden. Also into Singapore 9V1XX. Mike N6MKW gave me a call on the 2m HT, he was at Newcomb’s Ranch where he had stopped for coffee!

Switched over to 20m, then 30m, then back to 20m. Conditions on these bands were OK but not great. My last QSO was on 2m with Bob KB6CIO whom I heard calling on 2m. I went up and stood on the “right” boulder to get the best signal! A party of about a dozen friendly Korean hikers arrived, they had come up from Mill Creek Summit.

18MHz CW WB2GAI
18MHz CW HB9BQZ
18MHz CW NE4TN
18MHz CW VE2JCW
18MHz CW N4EX
18MHz CW KK1W
18MHz CW WA2USA
18MHz CW DJ5AV
18MHz CW K6TUY
18MHz CW NS7P
144MHz FM N6MKW
18MHz CW 9V1XX
18MHz CW NK6A
18MHz SSB SM4OTI
14MHz CW W0RW
14MHz SSB K0MOS
14MHz SSB AA7DK
14MHz SSB K7ATN
14MHz SSB K7NIT
14MHz SSB KB7HH
14MHz SSB K0YO
14MHz SSB WB5USB
14MHz SSB N7KRN
14MHz SSB AE7AP
14MHz SSB NS7P
144MHz FM WB6VIX
14MHz SSB N7MZW
14MHz SSB N7J
14MHz SSB KK7YC
14MHz CW AD5A
14MHz CW W0EA
14MHz CW WA9STI
14MHz CW WA7JTM
14MHz CW W4ZV
14MHz CW K6TUY
14MHz CW NK6A
14MHz CW N7WM
14MHz CW K7KO
14MHz CW KE5AKL
14MHz CW WA8REI
14MHz CW WV0H
14MHz CW N9AW
10MHz CW N1A
10MHz CW K1JD
10MHz CW N7CW
10MHz CW KX7L
10MHz CW W5RST
14MHz CW N6GA
144MHz FM KB6CIO

Packed up and headed down, passed by four big USFS vehicles and their fire crews. Perhaps they were going to cut down some of the standing dead wood?
100_3860

The olive drab growth in the trees is Misteltoe
100_3865

A nice ride down, stopping often to admire the view. It was hot and very bright, summer is on the way…
100_3866

The elevation gain was about 1700 ft. About an hour and three quarters to the top. Took five pints of water and a can of beer, I drank one pint and also the beer.

73!
Hal
N6JZT

I had attempted this mountain in the autumn. Thanks to the government shutdown the area had been closed off. Now I returned, this time with my mountain bike. It was one of the few remaining summits in the San Gabriels not yet activated for SOTA.

Indian Canyon Road heads south up into the hills from Soledad Canyon Road. It has been closed to “civilian” vehicles for some years, and is gated. The Pacific Crest trail head is here also, but takes a different route. First I headed steeply up and rose 400 feet, then down (west) 200 feet into Indian Canyon itself. I left at 5:35AM, about 45 minutes before sunrise.

A nice waning gibbous moon and a brightening sky provided light
100_3767

Then a nice mile along Indian Canyon, rising gently. The road was sandy in places but not a bad ride. The birds were awake and singing so it was very nice.
100_3770a

The road then heads right (west) and up to a saddle on the ridge above. The road had not been graded, I had hoped for a better surface. There was one other bike track in the road, and one vehicle track, I guess a 4WD since the road was so rough.

Snow Benchmark comes into view, a long ridge.
100_3775

At the saddle, a firebreak heads up (and down) the ridge. I guess people used to take their jeeps up here so it has been blocked off! The firebreak is easily seen on Google Maps. If you enable the photo function you can find a picture of a Jeep on the fire break.  (http://www.panoramio.com/photo/8637802  )
100_3777

The road now heads south on the west side of this ridge, so Indian Canyon has been left behind to the east. Peak 4054 (W6/CT-156) comes into view. It lies in the heart of the Magic Mountain Wilderness. I doubt that it will be activated for SOTA, since getting to the top would require much burrowing through very dense chaparral. Not my cup of tea, nor anyones’ I guess! However, if you have the urge to go there,  a fire break coming down from Magic Mountain high point will get you within three quarters of a mile, as the crow flies…
100_3778a

Magic Mountain Wilderness high point, about 4700 ft
100_3780

Some nice flowers
100_3783

Looking up towards Snow, and the firebreak and Indian Canyon Road
100_3785

The road surface is generally pretty darn crummy. Often it is like a stream bed. I pushed the bike up a lot. Luckily, I found it OK riding down.
100_3790

More spring flowers
100_3794

After six miles and two and a half hours, I came to the Santa Clara Divide Road, which runs along the east/west ridge from Bear Divide to the west, up over Magic Mountain, past Snow Benchmark, then down to North Fork ranger station, up to Mt. Gleason, down to Mill Creek Summit, continuing east to Mt Pacifico and then to the Angeles Crest Highway.

View west to Magic Mountain
100_3796

View east to Snow Benchmark. The SOTA activation zone is half a mile long, take your pick of operating spots!
100_3797

The crazy steep fire break on the ridge below
100_3802

Peak 4054 in the center. Just to its left is a peak about 3800 ft tall. It has a prominence of 400 ft, so is not a SOTA peak
100_3803

After half an hour I left the road and pushed the bike up through grass to the benchmark. About 30 feet away there was a strange concrete square about 8 feet on a side with what looked like a drain in the middle, no idea why it was there. I think this is a thing I barely made out from the Google maps aerial view. I didn’t feel like taking a picture of this structure!
100_3805

The “new” 1962 benchmark says Trail Cyn! What happened to poor Snow Benchmark we will never know.
100_3804

View along  the ridge of Snow Benchmark as it curves south. I later biked along the curve in the road to the “Vista Point”.  Skyline is Mendenhall Ridge, high point Iron Mtn #2. Towards the end of my operation today a couple of mountain bikers passed by on the road heading east.
100_3806

Got on the HT and called CQ on 2 meters, talked with N6SRI (Ed) who was just beginning a hike in the area at Mint Canyon, and W6GEV (Eric) who was camping in Soledad Canyon. Then I set up the HF gear.
100_3807a

Bike tied off one end of the dipole
100_3809a

I was well before my alert time, so I just listened and tuned around and made a few non-chaser QSOs. The started calling CQ, and made contacts on 20m, then 30m. I took a break and talked with Frank KR6AL on the Catalina Repeater, the Brian AB6UI on the Hughes Aircraft Company (now Raytheon) repeater W6HA. I hadn’t heard anyone on the latter for years. Brian says they now have a net noon Thursdays and 9:30AM Saturdays so i think I will join in, since I used to be a member of the club before retiring. Then I went back to 20m.

2m FM: N6SRI W6GEV
20m CW: W7KOW NF8J W0RW NS7P KX0R K0LAF K6TUY KG3W KB7HH K1RO WA2USA WB5USB W5ODS WA9STI N4EX NE4TN NK6A KT5X K6TUY
30m CW: K6TUY W7RV AA5CK N5XL(s2s w7a aw-009) N0OI WA6RIC K6EL(s2s w6 nc-423) NA6MG(s2s w6 ct-023) K0YO W7CNL WD0EBZ VA6FUN

Radio bike packed and ready to head down
100_3812a

Magic Mountain Wilderness high point, and Peak 4054
100_3818a

The condition of the Indian Canyon Road sign matches the condition of the road!
100_3819

Indian Canyon Road at Quail Spring
100_3821

The road has a grade of 10%, so is steeper than I like to bike up hill. Ok for down though
100_3822a

Indian Creek
100_3826

The ride down took one hour twenty minutes. After the hike/ride, I headed over to Blum Ranch in Aliso Canyon to buy honey and more peach jam. We will be going there again in harvest season to buy peaches and pears. It was founded by George and Magdalena Blum from Switzerland, in 1891!   http://www.blumranch.com

 

100_3829

Poppies at Clear Creek
100_3833

Now the statistics. Seven miles up, seven miles down. Took six pints of water, drank three, then had a coke and half a pint of water in the car. Temperature was about 60F at the top, 74 at the base, though of course seemed hotter in the bright sun. 2900 feet up, 200 elevation gain returning.

Thanks!
73!
Hal
N6JZT

This mountain is sometimes called “Iron Mountain #2″. It is in the Mt. Gleason region of the western San Gabriels. This distiguishes it from 8000 ft “Big Iron” which is near Mt. Baldy.

I had been looking at Iron Mountain #2 for a few months. To reach it is a long hike or bike ride: 11 miles up the Mendenhall Ridge Road from Dillon Divide off Little Tujunga Canyon road, 10 miles up the Yerba Buena Trail, or 15 miles or so of biking from Mill Creek Summit over Mt. Gleason and then down and up to Iron. I chose the Mendenhall route since it only has one mile of downhills and 10 miles of uphills on the way up, so returning is 10 miles of downhill on the bike! When/if the USFS opens the Mt. Gleason Road to Lightning Point campground the hike will only be 3 miles each way. The road has been closed to “civilian” vehicles since the 2009 Station Fire.

I used Patrick O’Neill’s hiking blog for more information; he has over 300 pictures of his bike ride up Mendenhall Ridge to Iron Mountain. Not only did he do Iron, he hiked up Mendenhall Peak, and also down from the ridge and up Mt. McKinley and back to the ridge to continue his ride to Iron! Patrick has been recently licensed and is KK6KUM. Less than a week before my Iron #2 ride he hiked and activated Big Iron.

http://thistrail.com/in/?p=987

His GPS track:

http://thistrail.com/in/?p=963

I monitored the weather forecast; I wanted a day in which the winds were from the West, not the North East so I could have a bit of a tail wind on the way up. Also a day that was not too hot. I saw from the daily graphs you can find for weather stations on “wunderground.com” that it would start to get much warmer around 10AM, so I wanted my uphill ride over by then.
I also checked the solar weather to check for quiet band conditions

http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/forecast.html

I started early at 5:20AM, the stars were out, it was cool in the 50s and very quiet and peaceful. Starting altitude at Dillon Divide is 2700 ft. After a little while I found I was more comfortable pushing the bike in the dark rather that riding by my headlamp on the dirt road. It had been recently graded and there were rocks and soft spots in places. I really don’t mind pushing the bike; I had a gallon of water and my radio gear, it’s easier pushing the bike than carrying that cargo on my back!

I reached my first goal, the power lines at Highline Saddle, 3630 ft altitude and 2.4 miles in.
100_3695

Magic Mountain in the background
100_3696

Recently graded road. At least the USFS had cleared any rock slides off the road! I pushed the bike alot on this trip.
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The next goal 4350 ft and just over 4 miles, the turn off to the old Mendenahall Peak road. Highway 18 apparently.
100_3703a

From here you ascend along the south side of the ridge, then descend 150 ft over about a mile and return to the North side

Continue the ascent
100_3704

Snow Benchmark across Pacoima Canyon
100_3705

View of Mt. Lukens, with shoulder of Condor Peak to the left
100_3708a

Finally I get a clear view of Iron Mountain, perhaps a mile or so away. The road is pretty gentle here which was good since my legs were tired by this point. The giant concrete “toothpicks” in the picture are interlocked together to make retaining walls.
100_3709

Up to a saddle, Iron can be reached an easy half mile up the grassy ridge from here. I took this picture on the way down, since I chose a different route up…
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I rode a little further up the road, packed the gear in my day pack, then went up steeply to the ridge through brush. It was OK but at one point I scrambled up a burnt log to avoid dried out Poodle Dog bush on either side.
100_3714

Nice grassy ridge, elevation gain from the road to the summit is maybe 150ft
100_3715

Finally, the summit benchmark! There were a few signatures in the summit register.
100_3716

I turned on the HT and right there was Mike N6MKW who was near the summit of Peak 4202 W6/CT-150 above the Angeles Crest Highway. A few minutes later he was at the summit and we had a summit to summit QSO.

The antenna at the summit
100_3728

Thanks to all for the contacts!
2m FM: N6MKW, WB6EFL WA9STI
20m CW: AD7IR/M K7TQ W7CNL K5WI NS7P K7NEW NA6MG K6TUY WA2USA N7WM W0MNA W6BUX KF5J KF7WNS K8TE
30m CW: WA6RIC W7RV N7CW NK6A K0YO KK7EL AE9F K6EL K9ZMD

Mt. Gleason to the Northeast. The Mendenhall Ridge road goes down to Indian Ben Saddle, then up to where it will meet the Santa Clara Divide Road then on to the summit
100_3730

View back down Mendenhall Ridge to the West
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View South showing the route to Condor Peak, about 3 miles. I wonder if those water tanks have water in them?
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The same picture showing where Mike is on Peak 4202 W6 CT-150. If you click on the picture your browser should be able to zoom in. You can go to his blog and see if you can make out where I am! http://mikakw1sota.blogspot.com/2014/04/pt-4202-w6ct-150.html
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And I too was there, too.
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Magic Mountain and Snow Benchmark to the Northwest
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A snowy Mt. Baldy far to the East
100_3731

After another contact or two with Mike on 4202, and KR6AL Frank on the Catalina Repeater, headed back down to the road. The rocks and boulders looked rusty, so I guess maybe they really are Iron Oxide and there is Iron on Iron Mountain
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I had put the bike down for a nap so it would be well rested.
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Ready to head down
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Mendenhall Ridge
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I think this may be at Iron Mountain Saddle, but my geography is a bit weak. Snow Benchmark in the background
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View back East along Mendenhall Ridge
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Spring flowers
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New growth of chaparral since the Station Fire of 2009
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Now for a little uphill
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Kagel Mountain L and Los Pinetos (“Fernando 2 Benchmark”) R
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Approaching Highline Saddle
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Enjoying some shade and a nice road
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Almost down to Little Tujunga Canyon and the end of this adventure…
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The USFS road grader!
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During the ride, I drank five pints out of the eight I had taken. I immediately had a cold coke from the cooler in the Jeep when I arrived. The mid day temperature was in the low 70s on the mountain (with bright hot sunshine) and in the 80s back at the Jeep. I think if you were to hike this you would need two gallons of water.

It took four hours up the road to the beginning of the scramble to the ridge, and two hours to ride back down. Total elevation gain is about 3200 ft out, 300 ft back. 11 miles each way on the road, plus a little in hiking to the summit.

73!
Hal
N6JZT

I went up to Mill Creek Summit at 4900 ft 6 days ago with the intent of riding again to Little Gleason but the wind was blowing too strongly from the North, so I went over to Vetter Mountain for a ride, but didn’t take the radio up. Today was predicted with light winds from the south west, that’s OK; the first 2 miles of the ride are to the North. When I got to the start of the ride there was no wind, yay!

Start at Mille Creek Summit, this rest area is across the road from the start of the Mt. Gleason Road.
SAM_0029

There were many trucks heading up Mt. Gleason road, I think for HV line work. As I rode maybe a dozen pickups and one heavy truck passed but it was OK. Some of the pickups were towing trailers containing fuel for helicopter work, which I could see and hear later from time to time. On the HT, contacted Mike N6MKW who was just heading up Mt Emma W6 CT-029.

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A beautiful morning, sunny and cool.
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Up the paved road for five and a half miles, then the dirt road another half mile to the summit. Had to push quite a bit up the steep dirt road like last time. It was even harder as the rain a few weeks ago had formed channels in the road.

Looking back at a fallen burnt Coulter Pine, which I went around. I could see that 4WD vehicles used to service the microwave station had also gone around through the vegetation!
SAM_0038

At the top, worked Mike again on the HT, he had just got to the summit so we had a good s2s contact. Set up the mast and attached it with velcro to a small post.
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Started on 20m, then to 30m, then 2m and back to 20m. When I went back to 20m I heard NM5S just starting his activation so that was a good QSO!

2m FM: N6MKW, KA6AIL
20m CW: N7WM W0MNA W0ERI W7CNL VE7KBN NS7P K9ZMD NA6MG W7OIL K0YO K6TUY NE4TN N1EU K7NEW AA5CK WI2W NM5S(s2s W5N SE-011) K7SO
30m CW: W7RV K7NEW W7USA KB7HH N6GA K6TUY WB5USB

After I had packed up I worked Bob KB6CIO on the Catalina repeater, he told me Martin WN6E was on the air with a first activation of Frankish Peak W6 CT-151. Dang! I should have called Bob when I still had the HF set up. We tried 2m simplex but no go since no line of sight. Oh well, better luck next time.

Isn’t a bicycle a great piece of technology?
SAM_0036

73!
Hal
N6JZT

Verdugo Peak is an urban mountain, rising above Burbank, which lies to the south, and La Crescenta-Montrose to the north. I planned this as another bike ride. I first looked at Whiting Woods Road, but that is too steep (10%+ grade), so I decided on the “standard” way of Hostetter Road, which has an average 8% grade and elevation gain of about 1450 feet in three and a half miles. The “trailhead” is on the north side of Verdugo, at the La Tuna exit of the 210 “Foothill” Freeway. It was a new experience to start a SOTA trip right by a freeway with all the cars and heavy trucks going by. There is parking for maybe a couple of dozen cars, it must get packed on weekends; there were many cars parked there today which was a Friday.

Note the position of the radio mast. I guess I could raise it right up from the bike if I need to. Freeway is in the background.
010

The first half mile is on pavement, then steeply up a dirt road, where I had to push for a hundred yards. This was the only part on which I had to push the bike. Then up a bit and the road is level for a quarter mile, then begins a pretty steady ascent.

Mt Lukens to the north, where I was two weeks ago.
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Hostetter fire road, fairly well graded though cut by many shallow water runoff channels.
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On the way up talked with Bob KB6CIO who was over doing Cerro Negro Bechmark a few miles to the east (W6 CT-226) with Martin WN6E. We were also in contact with Mike N6MKW who was hiking up Kagel Mountain (W6 CT-170) to the west. We used the Mt Wilson repeater on 449.7 MHz.

View to the east along the ridge, from the top, after an hour and a quarter of biking.
015

There are many radio transmitters in these hills. The summit has a fenced area with four tall telephone poles acting as radio masts.
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Today’s setup.
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Worked Alan NM5S S2S in New Mexico, he was running stations so took a break and worked KB6CIO and WN6E simplex on 2m FM. Then back to 20m and waited until Alan QSYed to 40 meters, then I called CQ on the frequency and worked many stations. After a while, worked Mike S2S on 2m FM, then to 30m CW. During the operation several other mountain bikers stopped by, they thought the ham radio was pretty cool, they were very interested that I had worked as far as Pennsylvania (KG3W). Final QSO was 2m FM with Dan NA6MG who was at home today, not in the mountains!

As on Mt Lukens, the radio transmitters interfered with by 2m HT reception, the noise level on VHF was about S7 or so.

2m FM: KB6CIO WN6E N6MKW NA6MG
14 MHz CW: NM5S K6TUY K9ZMD K7NEW NA6MG W7CNL N4MJ KX0R WA2USA NS7P VE7KBN N7WM W4DOW N4EX AJ5C K8TE W0MNA W0ERI KI0G KG3W
30m CW: K6TUY W7RV WA6RIC W8FDV W7TAO

Topo from USGS database showing start (1661 ft) and end (3131 ft) elevations. The 3126 feet elevation in the title is from Wikipedia.
CT-034 map

Today’s activation was different than usual, I got to chat with runners, walkers and bikers along the way. Usually my hikes are in the wilderness and quite solitary. On the way down, just below the summit, I asked a female runner if she would be doing the LA Marathon on Sunday. She said, no, she would be working it because she was a police officer. She would be in Hollywood. I told her I would be doing the communications at the 14 mile medical tent, a few miles beyond her! So that was pretty cool, we chatted about the marathon for a while then I continued down.

Took half an hour to ride down, it seemed steeper going down than going up!

73!
Hal
N6JZT

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