Warm Springs Mountain is North and West of where I have been hiking for the last two years, so this is a new area for me. It is about 70 miles (110 km) from home, most of it by the 405 and 5 freeways, then northeast on Lake Hughes Road near Castaic Lake. It seemed to be one of the few straight forward mountains in the “Transverse Range” (W6 CT-XXX) that had not yet been activated. It is approachable by mountain bike on USFS roads 6N32.1 and 7N13. During research for this peak I found a few reports; it does not seem to see too many hikers or bikers. Matt Maxon has a report at http://www.everytrail.com/view_trip.php?trip_id=1371686  He mentions that road 6N32 has a “Closed” sign at the start, but he called the USFS Santa Clara/Mogave Rivers District Office and found that it is open to non-motorized travel. To be sure, I called them at 661 269 2808. I spoke with USFS employee named Ron; he looked in his data sheets and said that 6N32.1 is “not closed” and I would be fine on my mountain bike.

Arrived before sun rise, had some coffee from the thermos flask, and prepped the bike and gear. I set off by headlamp at 0555. The temperature was a nice cool 50F (10C). The first mile of the road is a gentle uphill to the right of the river bed, then heads along the side of the canyon and is steeper; I walked the bike when it was too steep. After 55 minutes I reached the top of the canyon and the intersection with road 7N13; about 3 miles from the start. This was about sunrise. Up to this point, the road had been good; firm packed dirt/gravel with some sand.

SAM_1034d

Heading up that way
SAM_1038d

From here the road continued to be good, firmer and rockier.
SAM_1037d

The gradient was usually OK so I did not have to push too much.
SAM_1039d

View to the west
SAM_1040d

Not too far from the summit, looking back at the easier road following the switchbacks
SAM_1043d

After just less than an hour more the tower on the summit is in view
SAM_1045d

Last push to the top. Total was 2h 10 min to the top from the start
SAM_1046d

View of Warm Springs Canyon, my route
SAM_1051d

Out of breath, I set up the two meter j-pole here and made two contacts
SAM_1047d

I then moved the mast and set up for HF. I wanted some shade because the day was forecast to be very hot. I was also carrying 6 pints (2.5 l) of water. I didn’t climb the tower; there are some stairs missing and I didn’t want to risk it. There seem to be some repeater antennas on the tower.
SAM_1049d

Wokred 20m, 30m, then back to 20m. Lots of good QSOs

2m FM: KK6LKN K6WMD
20m CW: N4EX VE7KBN NS7P NE4TN WB5USB KG3W N7KRN K6TUY K7ZO W4DOW N4MJ K7FO W0MNA W0ERI AA5CK W0RW AE4FZ K4MF N7WM WA2USA
30m CW: W7RV KB7HH K6EL K0LAF K6TUY NK6A KT5X KC6SSE

Also a weather station at the top
SAM_1050d

Redrock Mountain (W6 CT-139). View to the northwest. I think this may remain unactivated because there is a lot of bush whacking along the ridge to get to the summit
SAM_1052d

Sawtooth Mountain right (W6 CT-117), Burnt Peak left (W6 CT-093). View north
SAM_1053d

Ready to head down
SAM_1054d

I found a register. Very few people have signed this one; the last entry was 2013. Here is Matt Maxon’s entry from 2011.

SAM_1058d

SAM_1059d

View to the west near the start of the ride down
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You can see how good the road is. A pleasure to ride on.
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I will be going around to the left, then down the side of the canyon. Glad I don’t have to walk all the way back!
SAM_1063d

SAM_1064d

Now back on 6N32, looking back towards Warm Springs Mountain. The sign says the road is open to motorized vehicles. I guess the USFS does not keep their signs up to date. It conflicts with signs at the bottom! And the signs at the bottom conflict with themselves.
SAM_1067d

Pretty good road, but take care in the sandy spots
SAM_1068d

The final mile or so is shaded by the trees!
SAM_1070d

A very nice ride here
SAM_1071d

This is the start of 6N32 at Lake Hughes Road
SAM_1074d

You start right by this disused county medical center
SAM_1073d

Park across the road on the wide dirt shoulder
SAM_1072d

Put the gear in the Jeep, and the bike on the rack. Had some more to drink. The temperature was now 81F (27C). The ride was 6.5 miles (10 km) each way, with 2000 ft (600m) of elevation gain. A very nice ride. 2h 10 min up, 45 min down.

View of Warm Springs Mountain and Castaic Lake from Lake Hughes Road. You can see from the water level that we are in a drought…and have been for 4 years now

SAM_1080d

And then lots of traffic on the freeways; more than I am used to when I return from my “usual” hikes and rides….

73!
Hal
N6JZT

My third bike ride to this peak. Set off from Mill Creek Summit about 0730. Many trucks passed by for the electrical line work. I would stop and move well to the side when they passed. A nice sunny day, 50 degrees F (20C), a light wind from the west. At Mill Creek, met a couple who were going to hike the 9 miles to Mt Gleason and back…a long day!

On the way up. An hour and a half to the top all told.
SAM_1020d

Made some 2m QSOs first, then to HF. Later on, Bob K6TUY told me Dan NA6MG was on a peak, so I left the rig on 10.110 MHz, heard him call QRL?, and we completed a summit to summit QSO.

Operating with the HB1B QRP rig
SAM_1023d

2m FM: WD9DUI KG6HQD KE6QBV KK6AOR KG6JTB
14 MHz CW: N7WM K6TUY WA2USA WG0AT N7KRN
10 MHz CW: W7RV K6TUY AA4Q W7CNL NA6MG

20m was busy with a contest.

Mt Pacifico (W6 CT-015) from the operating point
SAM_1024d

Microwave site at the summit
SAM_1025d

View on the way down. Mt Lukens left (W6 CT-030), Condor Peak right (W6 CT-027)
SAM_1029d

In the distance, you can see one of the many trucks that passed by today
SAM_1030d

As usual, a nice fast ride down!

73!
Hal
N6JZT

Other activations of Little Gleason:
https://halssota.wordpress.com/2014/03/21/riding-the-new-bike-to-little-gleason-mountain-w6-ct-087-6020ft-21-march-2014/

https://halssota.wordpress.com/2013/09/08/bike-ride-little-gleason-mountain-pt-6020-w6-ct-087-7-september-2013/

A nice moderate hike today. About 3 miles each way with 1300 ft elevation gain. Started at 0620, temperature 52F (11C).

San Gabriel Peak (W6 CT-019) across the way to the south, with snow still on its north face
SAM_1006d

Reached the saddle after an hour. Mt Pacifico (W6 CT-015)
SAM_1007d

Strawberry Peak (W6 CT-018)
SAM_1008d

Then up the ridge, reaching the top in another 40 minutes
SAM_1010d

First a QSO on 2m, then 20m and 30m, followed by 2m. I discovered the “secret” to operating with strong RFI and resulting intermod from Mt Wilson. I had assumed that the Yaesu VX6 HT did not have a front end attenuator, but it does! So I switched it on through the menus and was able to get rid of the nasty intermod noise. I assume the attenuator reduces sensitivity by 10 dB, but that is better than much more desens by the TV transmissions. I found I could even operate with the J-pole, so I was able to put out a good signal, and still receive pretty well too.

log

The descent, this is some of the scrambling. Below you can see a ridge to the left. You start along this but after the white rocks you turn sharp right.
SAM_1013d

Turn sharp right! A path continues on to the left but degenerates into bush whacking. This is where I made my mistake last May. The point is now well ducked, I added a fourth duck to the correct path.
SAM_1014d

A little snow here and there in the shade
SAM_1017d

As I was going down, I met a dozen or so people coming up to hike Strawberry Peak

Mt Blady (W6 CT-003) in the distance
SAM_1019d

73!
Hal
N6JZT

Previous activation here:

https://halssota.wordpress.com/2014/05/25/five-years-after-the-station-fire-mt-lawlor-w6-ct-089-5957-ft-24-may-2014/

Thought I would try another bike ride. The weather was predicted sunny, light winds, and cool but not cold temperatures. Set off from Clear Creek on the Angeles Crest Highway, the temperature was 42F (5C), with no wind. The starting elevation is 3700 feet.

SOTA Peaks left to right: Peak 4202 (W6 CT-150), Hoyt Mountain (W6 CT-146), and behind it Mt Lukens (W6 CT-030). On the far right is Yerba Buena Ridge (W6 CT-163)
SAM_0989d

I pushed most of the way up this time. Not feeling very strong, maybe due to a cold I have had for over three weeks now.

After about an hour and a half ran into a little snow, from the storms 5 days ago. It was on the north facing slope in the shade. I could ride on this because the friction was good; there was a small section of ice at the far end so got off and walked so I wouldn’t slip and fall!
SAM_0991d

Strawberry Peak (W6 CT-018), and snowy high country peaks in the distance
SAM_0994d

At the top, heard Dan NA6MG on 2m, from San Gabriel Peak (W6 CT-019). I hadn’t known he would be up today. We had a summit to summit QSO. For HF, used the 5W HB1B on 20m and 30m. For 2m I tried the j-pole but Mt Wilson TV transmitters overloaded the HT front end, so I found it was better to use the lower gain rubber duck antenna to keep the intermod at bay.
log

Looking down from the summit to the bicycle and helipad. Mt Gleason in the distance (W6 CT-017)
SAM_0996d

Beginning the ride down, Mt Lukens in the back ground
SAM_0999d

Radio bike on the snow
SAM_1002d

Strawberry Peak. The 4 mile ride down took 25 minutes. Just under 2 hours on the way up!
SAM_1004d

Met up with Dan NA6MG at Clear Creek. We had a good chat about our SOTA activities. Particulary his hike up Condor Peak (W6 CT-027) two days ago, that’s a tough hike. We have both activated it now, we are both unlikely to hike it again, it is so tiring…

73!
Hal
N6JZT

Previous Josephine activation:
https://halssota.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/bike-ride-to-josephine-peak-w6-ct-025-5558-ft-8-august-2014/

Our hot, dry “winter” continues…and other parts of the country get many feet of snow! So today was a good day for a bike ride to Mt. Gleason, with light SW winds forecast and temperatures to 70F (20C). Dan NA6MG decided to activate neighboring Mt Pacifico (W6 CT-015)

Started from Mill Creek Summit at 0615. Temperature 50F (10C)

After 4 miles, I pass beneath Little Gleason Mountain (Pt 6020, W6 CT-087), not today’s objective
SAM_0969d

I continue on
SAM_0970d

After just over 5 miles, I pass the turn off to Little Gleason then descend past the former fire camp to a saddle, then the road gets steep and I had to push the bike 1.5 miles, then can ride the final half mile to the top of Gleason

Fire camp burnt out during the huge Station Fire of 2009, which burned about 200 square miles of our forest
SAM_0971d

Set up the mast right on the bike, it worked well as an antenna support
SAM_0973d

Conditions were good on 20m and 30m
log

Mt Gleason is the former home of a Nike Hercules air defense radar. This was the highest Nike site in the US. The missiles were located at what became the fire camp. It was deactivated in 1974. All that remains are two water tanks, a storage hut with the roof burnt off, and fading traffic markings.
SAM_0979d

Instruments for measuring plate tectonics
SAM_0978d

Long ago the Air Defense Artillery soldiers used to park their cars here…
SAM_0976d

Dan NA6MG was over there on Mt Pacifico
SAM_0982d

Headed down at a fast clip on the bike

Power line work at the saddle. They have been doing this more than a year…
SAM_0984d

All the heavy equipment for the power line work has broken up the road!
SAM_0985d

One mile to go
SAM_0986d

Back down, for a total of 18 miles (29 km). Dan’s Jeep on the left. When I left in the morning, he had not arrived yet
SAM_0987d

An excellent bike ride and activation!
73!
Hal N6JZT

PS account of a previous activation o fMt Gleason:
https://halssota.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/great-bike-ride-on-mt-gleason-6520-ft-w6-ct-017-30-dec-2013/

I’m recovering from a cold and mild flu…this year’s flu vaccine doesn’t work. I wanted a fairly easy hike, so chose Hoyt which is about 45 minutes to the top and about 800 feet (250m) elevation gain. I also looked at VOACAP and saw that propagation is possible to Europe on 17m, so I brought the heavy IC-706 and 20Ah battery so I could run 50W of RF.

Set off at 6AM, cairn at dawn. There are now four cairns on the way up
SAM_0957d

Setup
SAM_0958d

Mt. Lukens (W6 CT-030) to the West
SAM_0959d

Condor Peak (W6 CT-027) to the NW
SAM_0960d

First on 2m, then to 17m. The EU stations had good signal strength, but were hard to copy due to the propagation; the morse characters were running over each other due to different delays of different propagation paths. Still, worked quite a few including Spain, Germany, Switzerland and England. 17m was also good to most of the US. Picked up nearer stations on 30m, then Paul W0RW pedestrian mobile on 20m.
log

Nice views, no wind, and cool but got warmer during the activation. It was about 72F (21C) as I headed down

Josephine Peak (W6 CT-025) to the NE
SAM_0963d

Nice view down
SAM_0964d

Josephine, Strawberry (W6 CT-018) and Lawlor (W6 CT-089)
SAM_0965d

Back at the Angeles Crest Highway
SAM_0967d

Thank you chasers!
73!
Hal
N6JZT

Since I have hiked San Gabriel several times, I thought I would ride my bike. The route is via the USFS paved road to the saddle (5781 ft) of Mt Disappointment, then a short hike with 400 feet elevation gain to San Gabriel. The Mt Disappointment road is about a third of a mile up the Mt Wilson Road from the Red Box picnic area (intersection of Mt Wilson Road and Angeles Crest Highway). The ride starts at 4740 ft, and is 2.9 miles to the saddle, so the grade is about 7% on average.

I parked the Jeep at the Mt Disappointment road, had some coffee, then took the bike off the rack and packed the radio gear. The first 0.7 miles was the steepest, but it was OK and I did it without having to get off the bike and push. After that the grade eases off a lot. Temperature was 46F, no wind (which is why I selected this morning to ride)

At the top of the first switchback at 0.7 miles
SAM_0932d

Josephine Peak (W6 CT-025)
SAM_0934d

The grade is easier now
SAM_0936d

Took 50 minutes to get to the saddle, then walked the bike down hill about 50 feet and left it by the side of the trail
SAM_0937d

Just under 20 minutes to the summit of San Gabriel, and set up the station. First contact was Charles KM6CEM on 2m FM. There was RFI from Mt Wilson so I didn’t set up the j-pole, since that would just increase the noise into the HT. Just used the rubber duck.
SAM_0939d

Conditions were pretty good. QSO with CU3AA in the Azores again, with his CW hard to copy due to multipath slurring the characters together! Interesting propagation paths!
log

Some hikers arrived at the summit, so my 30m operation got abbreviated a little as I talked with them. The headed down.

Mt Lawlor (W6 CT-089)
SAM_0940d

Concrete pads at the saddle. I guess these were for the barracks/admin buildings for the former Nike Ajax radar site at the summit of Mt Disappointment (LA-09). The missiles were located across the valley to the north on Barley Flats ridge.
SAM_0941d

I had to push the bike the last part of the road to the top, it was too steep. Then flat at the top, with comm gear all around. San Gabriel Peak in the background
SAM_0943d

View looking down to the south towards LA. I had a Clif Bar here. I have read that Mt Disappointment got its name from the original Army survey team back in the day. They arrived at the top only to find they would have to get over to San Gabriel which is higher!
SAM_0945d

Josephine Peak is closest, Iron Mountain (W6 CT-024) behind, with white scar on its shoulder.
SAM_0947d

Downtown LA
SAM_0953d

A nice fast ride down. Way in the distance is Mt Baldy (W6 CT-003)
SAM_0955d

Packed the bike onto the Jeep. Stopped at Red Box and had some coffee from the Thermos flask. Chatted with two young guys, Dave and Mike. Dave was from North Carolina and visiting, they hadn’t been up here before. They wanted to see the snow-covered mountains better, so I suggested they go for a hike on Mt Waterman from Buckhorn Day Use area up the Mt Waterman trail to the saddle at the top of Buckhorn Canyon (about 35 minutes), then stop for a beer at Newcomb’s on the way back!

73!
Hal
N6JZT

Another bike riding season in the mountains has begun, for me anyway. To start off an easy 2 miler up 500 ft to Vetter Mountain. Arrived at the Charlton Flat trailhead at 0620, and drank coffee and got the bike ready to set off at 0700. Since the bike ride would be short, I brought the 6 pound IC-706 transceiver and 7 pound Li 20AH battery, so I could operate 50W and hopefully make some summits on the air contacts with stations in Europe

The Jeep had just had some recall work done; they added a trailer hitch to “protect” the gas tank…so I was able to use my big bike rack which fits on a trailer hitch.

The weather was nice, in the low 40s, with only a breath of wind
SAM_0909d

I had to push the last quarter mile; I was out of breath so I need to get back in shape for the bike rides to come.

SAM_0914d

Set up the 18 MHz dipole, made lots of contacts including into England, Germany, Finland, and the Azores. Signals from the eastern USA were strong. This was pretty much as predicted by the VOACAP program. Then 10 MHz to work closer stations, and finished on 14 MHz.

SAM_0911d

Made 56 QSOs, a new SOTA record for me
Vetterlog

Nice weather, getting into the mid 50s, and sunny
SAM_0922d

Mt. Baldy (W6 CT-003) in the distance, at the start of the nice ride down
SAM_0923d

73!
Hal
N6JZT

Kratka is the easiest of the “high country” peaks for me to do in the winter; it is an easy hike above Angeles Crest Highway. The weather was predicted cloudy but not too cold. We had last been to the base of Kratka on Christmas Day – at that time the temperature was a chilly 26F (-3C), sunny and windy.

Today, I brought snow shoes, crampons and an ice axe but didn’t need any of them since there was much less snow than I thought there might be. The snow that there was was partially frozen and was a good surface to walk on.

Not much snow today
SAM_0892d

Also little snow around the summit
SAM_0894d

The temperature was about 40F (5C). I was warm from the hike but got progressively chilled over the next hour and a half at the summit, since there was little sunshine through the clouds. I was wearing a wool shirt, two light pile jackets, and a goretex jacket. Also jeans and wind proof over-trousers, plus my snow boots. Wool gloves.

First I set up the 20m dipole, then put up the 2m j pole and made some nice FM contacts. Switched to 20m CW, propagation to the SE US was very good and signals were very strong. Then to 30m (Elliot K6EL was s2s on Mt Davidson), and back to 20m to work Dennis WA2USA summit to summit on Worthington Knob in Tennessee. I’m happy there is so much 2m simplex activity now. When I first took my HT to Kratka in late 2012 (my first ever SOTA activation) I only managed to work two stations.

2m FM: KI6UCN KK6EHQ KN6CCW K6QCB KW6ACK KM6CEM KB6CIO
20m CW: N0EVH N4MJ N4EX K8TE W6UB NK6A KE5AKL NE4TN W0MNA W4DOW W0ERI NS7P K4PIC AE5B W6IYS AE4FZ N7CNH K0LAF WA2USA
30m CW: W7RV W7USA K6EL K6TUY

Looking wintry to the east
SAM_0897d

Twin Peaks W6 CT-064. Hiking this in the winter is not a good idea, at least by yourself. A bad slip during the descent on the snow/ice could lead to a very cold night.
SAM_0896d

The intermediate ski run from near the top. The ski area has been defunct for 13 years, since the lift house and restaurant burned in a fire. The pine trees are taking over. I used to ski here, and enjoyed it very much. I suppose if I had hiked up this route I could have used my snow shoes. Miriam and I hiked up this way on Good Friday in 2008.
SAM_0898d

I stopped at Newcomb’s Ranch for a nice late breakfast about 1030! That sure warmed me up.
SAM_0904d

73!
Hal
N6JZT

Getting into the swing of things with an easy hike to Occidental Peak, just like I did in 2014.

On the drive up, for a treat, I stopped at McDonalds and picked up a sausage mcmuffin, “hash browns”, and a small coffee. I haven’t had a fast food breakfast in a long time so I was surprised by the 5 dollar price (which included sales tax). Wow, seems expensive to me, guess I am behind the times. At least it was fairly tasty so I can’t complain too much.

Parked at the usual place near the giant communications tower. Nice view of Mt Wilson Observatory. You can now use the 100 inch telescope for $5000/night, $2700/half night. You can bring up to 17 friends with you! That’s pretty cool. They have had the 60 inch telescope available for amateur observation for a long time now, I think that’s $900/half night, $1500/night.
SAM_0877d

Some of the other other towers
SAM_0878d

Nice hike along the ridge through oak and fir trees
SAM_0882d

I was dressed way too warmly, the temperature got to be in upper 50s during the activation. I was wearing my cold weather snow boots in case there was snow, but there wasn’t. I did see a little remnant of snow at the road side on the way up, though. But now we are having a warm spell. There was snow on the higher peaks, maybe above 7000 ft or so.

Turned on the HT, but very high S9+ RFI from the comm towers. Set up for HF, first 20m, then 30m. On 20m worked Dan NA6MG on Conejo Peak W6 SC-318, and we managed a 2m contact later when I shielded the HT from the comm towers with my body! It was cold and windy where he was, but warm and still over here

20m CW: NA6MG W0MNA N4EX W0ERI KT0A NE4TN N7WM W4DOW KG3W K4PIC NS7P W7RV N4MJ K0LAF WA9STI K6TUY AE5B K7FO
2m FM: NA6MG
30m CW: AE9F KT5X W7USA K6TUY K6HPX W7RV

I checked out the summit register, last entry was from Dec 28. Also saw Chris’s K6CMG’s entry, I think in November. Another hiker wrote that he had come up from Eaton Saddle.

Pacific Ocean in the distance, Mt. Lowe closest
SAM_0886d

On the drive down, I stopped at Eaton Saddle and checked out what looks to be a trail up Occidental from there, so maybe I will try that next time. It would be shorter and more direct, but might be overgrown in places.

Also stopped at Major Surplus and Survival in Gardena, got a new medium (45 litre) pack. My “summer” pack is a little too small to hold all the winter kit I want to bring (thicker jackets, etc)

73!
Hal
N6JZT

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