I had been looking at Red Mountain on the map off and on for a year or so; I had written it off as inaccessible, probably covered in dense chaparral. It had never been activated for SOTA. A week ago I looked at the satellite map and saw that a giant fire break had been cut to the summit, probably during the Powerhouse fire of 2013. I also found a video on Youtube of four hikers who had climbed Grass Mountain, Tule Ridge, and Red Mountain all in one day! I alerted for Red, then got an email from Dan NA6MG; he had been planning to do Red Mountain too, but had a bad knee so decided not to!

The start of the fire break is north off of Dry Gulch Road, about 0.6 miles east of Lake Hughes Road. You can also get there from San Francisquito Road. Set off from home around 0340. After arriving in the dark, had some coffee, set off when it was light enough at 0520. The temperature was cool, about 46F (8C). No wind.

View back down the fire break. Dry Gulch Road runs along the bottom of the canyon

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View up the fire break. Many sections were very steep. I found the steepness demoralizing! You first get to humps at 2700 feet and then 3000 feet.
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On the subsidiary summits at about 3500 ft; the “3500 foot ridge”. Almost gave up here; looking through the haze into the sun made it look a long way off. I figured it was an optical illusion so thought I would continue to see how things went.
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Looking back to the fire break and 3500 foot ridge. Lots of up and down! Amazing how they brought the bulldozers through here to ram through this fire break. When I was a kid, I wanted to have a job like that, how come I couldn’t be a bulldozer driver plowing giant fire breaks??!! What happened?!
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Went up this steep track, got to the ridge shortly. At the top, bushes and boulders obscured the track, so I made some arrows in the dirt and made a stone duck so I could find my way back down.
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The summit ridge
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Summit is nearly flat. this pile of rocks is on the west end. I didn’t set up here because of the Poodle Dog bush, growing after the fire
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Set up here. You can see a fire break continuing east along the ridge out to San Francisquito Canyon
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3500 foot ridge from where I was sitting
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First got on 2m and made a QSO. Then 20m and 30m, only operated HF for half an hour since I was feeling so beat up from the ascent, and knew the steepness of the descent would beat me up some more.

2m FM: N6TKP Rick, out for a hike about 20 miles away to the south

20m CW: N4EX NM5S K8TE K4MF K7NEW W0MNA W0ERI NA6MG NE4TN NU7A WH6LE AC1Z KH6/NF1R

30m CW: W7RV W7USA

Heard Bob K6TUY call ??? on 30m but he could not hear me.

Headed down the ridge, found my markings to locate the start of the steep track down. Then up and down along the large fire break. Whoever bulldozed it must have had fun! I wished the bulldozer was there to give me a ride down!

View back to the saddle….doesn’t look too far in this light
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Warm Springs Mountain to the west (W6 CT-159)
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Up and onto the 3500 foot ridge again
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Taking a break, view back to Red Mountain
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The steep parts were quite tiring
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Almost back to the Jeep!
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Feeling spent when I got back to the start!. 2 hours 35 minutes up, 2 hours down. 2400 feet elevation gain up, 400 feet on return. Just over 3 miles each way. I had also alerted for Burn Benchmark (W6 CT-136), but canceled when I got to where my cell phone started to work; I was too tired for another activation!

73!
Hal
N6JZT

Thought I would ride Mt Lukens the “long” way this time: 7 miles (11km) and 3000 ft (900m) elevation gain from the USFS fire station on Angeles Crest Highway, just a few miles above La Canada. The start of the ride is only a 45 minute drive from my house, whcih is why I wanted to do it. I get tired of driving so much!

Actually, for the previous week I had been planning on hiking and activating Liebre Mountain (W6 CT-095), a 90 mile drive. But on Monday my wife made me assemble some IKEA furniture so I was too tired to do a long drive! And switched to Lukens instead…by a funny coincidence I got an email from Dan NA6MG inviting me to do Burnt Peak and Liebre Mountain but I couldn’t face the drive at this point!

Previous activation along Grizzly Flats Road described here:
https://halssota.wordpress.com/2014/02/22/mt-lukens-w6-ct-030-5066-feet-on-a-new-mountain-bike-21-feb-2014/
Started the ride at 0500. After half an hour arriving at a bench and view point over the city

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Not yet arrived at the Grizzly Flat Road intersection…press on along the ridge
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When I started the clouds were further down in the LA Basin, now creeping up towards the mountains
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Mountain shadow on the clouds below
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A pretty day, cool with a light wind
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Communications towers on the top of Mt. Lukens in sight
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Set up the radio, first the j pole on 2m and worked Dan NA6MG on Burnt Peak, W6 CT-093, then Charles KM6CEM. Enabled the 10 dB attenuator in the HT to reduce the intermod from the comm towers.
SAM_1192d

2m FM: NA6MG KM6CEM W6TOD KK6HRS KE6HRV NK6A K6SYW
20m CW: N0TK/M W0MNA N4EX W0ERI WB5USB NS7P K7NEW N9KW KH2TJ N4MJ W4MPS KO7X K9ZMD NA6MG NU7A WG8Y WG0AT W7/DL6AP/P (S2S W7W/NO-163)
30m CW: W7RV K8TE N7EDK W7/DL6AP/P

Iron Mountain #2 (W6 CT-024) left of center on skyline ridge, the big mass of Condor Peak (W6 CT-027) center and just across the valley
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Clouds higher now
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Towers on summit
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Heading down
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Pretty section of the ride
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I guess I am at cloud level now
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Ride through spring flowers
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Sign post at the start, just above the USFS station
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Took three and a quarter hours up, mostly pushing the bike when the road was too steep for me. One hour down. Seven miles each way, 3000 ft elevation gain

73!
Hal N6JZT

Previous activations are described here:

https://halssota.wordpress.com/2014/05/04/mt-pacifico-by-mountain-bike-7124-ft-w6ct-015-3-may-2014/

and

https://halssota.wordpress.com/2013/07/26/pacifico-mountain-7200-feet-w6ct-015-cool-morning-and-baked-on-the-descent-25-july-2013/

This was another mountain bike ride. I found that Sulphur Springs Road to the trail head is being resurfaced, more about this later…most of the resurfacing has been completed.

Started at 0630 and had a nice ride up, took one and three quarters hours, the final mile mostly pushing up the steeper road to the top.

Mt Gleason (W6 CT-017) in the background
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2 meter set up with j-pole on the mast. It was colder than I thought it would be so I wore three layers under a windproof jacket, luckily I was sheltered from the light wind.
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Worked Charles KM6CEM on 2m, then KB6WWI. Then set up for HF. Didn’t seem to get out as well as usual on HF, maybe my antenna was too close to the pine tree.

2m FM: KM6CEM KB6WWI N6MKW (S2S on Smith Mtn CT-120)) NA6MG K6TW KK6RHP KR6RG
20m CW: NE4TN NS7P K4MF N7CW NA6MG N9KW VE2JCW NM5S K7ZO NK6A K6TUY WA9STI KG3W WG0AT NU7A
30m CW: W7RV WB5USB K6TUY

For my latter 2m QSOs, moved up to the summit rocks with the j-pole to get better line of sight to the LA basin to the south. Worked Dan NA6MG, Tim K6TW in my home city of Torrance, and Roy KR6RG near the Mexican border; I had worked him from Mt Baldy last summer, and also from my garage(!) QTH the other day. Roy has a 17 foot vertical for 2m and is up a couple hundred feet.
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Headed down, the easy part on the bike!
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Pleasant View Ridge and Pallett Benchmark (W6 CT-058)
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Got back to the Jeep and headed back along the road…almost to the Angeles Crest Highway and: the road crew was resurfacing Sulphur Springs Road. The roller drive asked that I go back to a dirt road to get back out to the ACH. He gave me directions, but suggested I stop at the Angeles Crest Christian camp to get better directions. So I did!

Angeles Crest Christian Camp
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Here I found Brian in the office, and he kindly directed me to USFS road 3N14. This was back further almost to where I began my ride up Pacifico on 3N17. The road was easy to find, nice to see a road that is open and not  closed by a gate! The road was narrow and scenic, not too rough and could be done by any two wheel drive vehicle.

The sign says “Road Narrows”
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Looking across the valley to Pacifico
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The 3N14 road finally comes out through the Chilao visitors center/picnic area, after passing by the Chilao USFS ranger station

73!
Hal N6JZT

There are five SOTA Peaks near Bouquet Reservoir: Bee (CT-169), Jupiter (CT-140), Grass Mtn (CT-130), Burn (CT-136) and Granite (CT-132). Did Bee Peak last time, so thought I would do a couple more. Usually I only like to do one activation, but Jupiter Mountain is a short hike (1.5 miles each way, 1200 ft elevation gain) and Grass Mountain is a drive up so OK for two this time.

Up Spunky Canyon Road to the saddle, the trail begins opposite USFS road 6N09, also known as Spunky Edison Road! Start the hike here, after 300 feet or so there is a fork; I took the left which is the steep moto trail to the top. I believe the right fork is less steep and leads around west to a saddle between Jupiter and West Jupiter. Then you would reach the top by following the ridge back east.

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Steep! Too steep for my mountain bike today.
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Bouquet Reservoir down below. Took 50 minutes to get to the top.
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There is now a nice little bench at the summit. Attached the mast and operated here.
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Operated 20m and 30m
20m CW: KT5X N7KRN N7WM WG0AT W4DOW N4EX AC1Z W0MNA W0ERI WD9F KK1W N0EVH NN9K AE7AP N4MJ WB5USB K4MF W3ATT KG3W NA6MG N9KW W3DX
30m CW: W7RV W7JET W7USA

Now on to Grass Mountain!
SAM_1132a

On the way down
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Spunky Edison Road 6N09. You could take this up to a saddle, then follow 6N04 west (L)  for Burn Benchmark (CT-136) and then a short walk to the top. Not sure if you need 4 wheel drive or not for 6N09.
SAM_1140a

Drove down and through the nice little town of Green Valley, right at the junction and then up to the saddle where USFS road 6N04 crosses the main road. West goes up Grass Mountain, East is the way to Burn.
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Three miles on the narrow dirt road to the top. The drop off is steep in most places, I was nervous since I am not used to driving roads like this. OK walking and on the bike!
SAM_1143a

You come to a fork and go left on 6N05 to the top.

The top is grassy with pine trees and a comm site. A guy was camping under the shade of the trees. So it was pretty quiet; I believe people come to fly radio controlled gliders up here.
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Looking over to Jupiter (L) and West Jupiter (R)
SAM_1145a

Again worked 20m and 30m CW:
20m CW: WB5USB KT5X W7RV W7USA K7ZO NS7P W7CNL N7KRN N9KW AE7AP N7WM N4MJ N4EX K4MF KG3W
30m CW: K6EL (S2S) NA6MG K6TUY K5SSR KC6SSE

Now heading down
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Mind the drop off!
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73!
Hal
N6JZT

Bee Peak (aka Bee Benchmark) is up off of Bouquet Canyon, on the way to Bouquet Reservoir. I had never been in that area before. It looked to be a decent bike ride, as well as a first SOTA activation.

i was surprised to find the gate at Quarry Road open, and the road open to motorized vehicles, though none came along as I rode the bike. The road is good, and could be done in a high clearance 2 wheel drive vehicle.

Sunrise around 0700. The road is not too steep, and the surface is good with only a few ruts along the way. I thought of returning and driving up, but I kept going on the bike.
SAM_1084d

The route goes up Quarry Road (bottom left) from Bouquet Canyon Road for about 3 miles, then north east along Del Sur Road for half a mile or so. Then the easy stuff ends and  a steep push or hike up the last half mile. I show the route from the Del Sur road below: just beyond a prominent turn out, turn sharp right, then after a few hundred yards sharp left; the way to continue is then obvious.
route

This is the turn just after the open space. If you drive up, you could park at the open space then walk up from here.
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Not at the steep spot yet. The way becomes rugged and very steep in parts, OK for experienced moto riders.
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After some steep pushing, near the top. I will show the steep stuff on the way down
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At the top. Total elevation gain 1100 ft (300m)
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A benchmark, installed more than 80 years ago in 1932. “BEE”. There is also another benchmark on a short post nearby
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Today’s radio setup at the Bee Benchmark. The wind was strong and cool, so took shelter behind the shrub.
SAM_1092d

Operated on 20m and 30m CW. This early in the day, Phil NS7P in Washington was weak on 20m, and very strong on 30m.
20m CW: NE4TN KI0G WOMNA K4MF W0ERI NA6MG N4EX W4DOW K0JEM WA2USA K0LJG VA6FUN KG3W NU7A NS7P
30m CW: K6HPX W7RV NS7P NU7A W7USA K6TUY W7CNL

Looking east across Bouquet Canyon. This is the extreme western end of Sierra Pelona Ridge; it extends east 6 miles (10 km) to Mt McDill (W6 CT-118) and 9 miles (15 km) to Sierra Pelona (W6 CT-116)
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Looking north east,  Burn Benchmark left, W6 CT-136. It has been activated by Dan NA6MG.
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View south
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Heading down. Mountain is Tule Ridge W6 CT-145
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Survived the two very steep sections; this is one of them
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Down Del Sur Road
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Heading down Quarry Road
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The wind was now so strong I had to pedal a little downhill!
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Back at the start
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The sign points the way. I am parked a hundred feet south on the other side of the road at the moto/4x trail head and parking area.
SAM_1118d

A good ride. I am getting spoiled by doing “climbs” on the bike; I don’t have to walk down!

73!
Hal
N6JZT

PS I did not see any bees on Bee Peak, though I did see a red ant! And a few lizards.

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.

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Heading up that way
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From here the road continued to be good, firmer and rockier.
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The gradient was usually OK so I did not have to push too much.
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View to the west
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Not too far from the summit, looking back at the easier road following the switchbacks
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After just less than an hour more the tower on the summit is in view
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Last push to the top. Total was 2h 10 min to the top from the start
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View east
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Out of breath, I set up the two meter j-pole here and made two contacts
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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
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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
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Sawtooth Mountain right (W6 CT-117), Burnt Peak left (W6 CT-093). View north
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Ready to head down
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I found a register. Very few people have signed this one; the last entry was 2013. Here is Matt Maxon’s entry from 2011.

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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!
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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
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The final mile or so is shaded by the trees!
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A very nice ride here
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This is the start of 6N32 at Lake Hughes Road
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You start right by this disused county medical center
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Park across the road on the wide dirt shoulder
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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

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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

Postscript: Warm Springs Mountain, Burnt Peak, and Sawtooth were closed during parts of 2013 and 2014 due to the “Powerhouse Fire”. You can view the closure info at http://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/angeles/alerts-notices. The current map (dated Oct 22 2014) shows the closed area; Warm Springs, Burnt, Sawtooth are open, as is 6N32 if you look closely. 6N24 (which is half a mile south of 6N32) and heads east is closed. Tule Ridge (W6 CT-145) is in the closed area.

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
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Microwave site at the summit
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View on the way down. Mt Lukens left (W6 CT-030), Condor Peak right (W6 CT-027)
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In the distance, you can see one of the many trucks that passed by today
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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
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Reached the saddle after an hour. Mt Pacifico (W6 CT-015)
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Strawberry Peak (W6 CT-018)
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Then up the ridge, reaching the top in another 40 minutes
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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.
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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.
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A little snow here and there in the shade
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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
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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)
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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!
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Strawberry Peak (W6 CT-018), and snowy high country peaks in the distance
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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)
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Beginning the ride down, Mt Lukens in the back ground
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Radio bike on the snow
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Strawberry Peak. The 4 mile ride down took 25 minutes. Just under 2 hours on the way up!
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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
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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
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Set up the mast right on the bike, it worked well as an antenna support
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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.
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Instruments for measuring plate tectonics
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Long ago the Air Defense Artillery soldiers used to park their cars here…
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Dan NA6MG was over there on Mt Pacifico
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Headed down at a fast clip on the bike

Power line work at the saddle. They have been doing this more than a year…
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All the heavy equipment for the power line work has broken up the road!
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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/

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