For my 60th birthday, which is now some months ago, I wanted to return to Miranda Dome, now called Taylor Dome. I first climbed this peak in 1980 just after I had moved to California. For some reason it was the first peak I climbed in California, because I had picked up a book called “Self Propelled in the Southern Sierra” and kind of at random decided to spend the Memorial Day holiday 1980 in the area near the Domeland Wilderness. I don’t know why I just did not stay closer to home in the Los Angeles area! I guess I wanted to hike in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Well, I climbed it, meeting a USFS ranger named John on the way, and later in September of that year I brought my friend Charlie Nieto (visiting from England) back there and climbed it again.
View looking east, 36 years ago, towards the pinnacle on the east ridge, and Church Dome
At that time it was informally known as Miranda Dome, after the last hereditary chief, Steban Miranda, of the Tubatulabal Indians. It has never been named officially. Now it seems to be known as Taylor Dome because of its proximity to Taylor Meadow. Named after “Charlie Taylor, who for many years was manager of the A. Brown interests at Kernville”.
And by the way, Taylor Dome is W6 SS-305, Peak 8443 is W6 SS-616, for SOTA.
The route begins on the Taylor Meadow trail, from the east side of Big Meadow. This trail is just a hundred yards south of the Manter Meadow Trail
The trail gently rises then gently descends east for two thirds of a mile, then heads south upwards for another two thirds of a mile to a saddle…
…where we turned left at the giant boulders and proceeded up the rocky west ridge, staying to the right of the gendarmes most of the way. That is Miranda Dome up there. Both summits are easily in the SOTA activation zone according to the topo.
Some nice scrambling over the rocks
Bypassing some spectacular rock formations
We went easily to the left of the last big gendarme on the ridge, then headed up steep forested and rocky slopes.
To the right leads to the easiest way to the top, between the twin summits. We chose to go to the left and set up on some ledges north of the summit block, where we felt there would be room for both our stations.
Dan up on his eagle’s eyrie!
Not too much room, and the end of my antenna was only maybe 10 feet from Dan. We could hear each others key clicks but operated OK
20m CW: W0MNA W0ERI W4KRN F6HKA N7WM K1JD WB0KIU
I did not operate on 40m or 30m, not enough room to extend my antenna. Dan took care of the chasers on those bands.
In 1980 ranger John had shown me a quicker way down that did not involve going down the rocky ridge…so we went back the way we came, but before the gendarme just headed down open sandy and forested slopes to the north
And there is our “favorite” mountain Cannell Peak…it was too tiring so we do not like it very much, actually!
Then just continued to head north more or less until we hit the Manter trail, where we turned left (west) and back to the road
Then we drove over to have a look at Peak 8443 (W6 SS-616). The map shows a jeep road (24S12A) to the summit. The road starts at 35.8253 -118.3489. Maybe we would get lucky and drive within 200 feet of the summit!
Well, we did not get lucky…
I guess they just do not really want people to maybe get stuck up there if their vehicles break down. Anyway the hike was nice, about a mile and a half with about 700 feet of elevation gain. We both enjoyed this hike.
After a gentle uphill we then went downhill
The summit is there, the road curves to the left to a saddle and then a 200 foot uphill cross country to the top
Boulders at the top
On the air, I called CQ on 20m with no takers…it sounded like I was not being spotted. When I got home I found this was the case; RBN had detected me seven times, but the SOTA sporting software must have hung up. So I went down in frequency and worked four stations in the Texas QSO party. I had prepared in advance to learn the contest exchange, I found this a good idea in case spotting does not work. Another example is the SKCC activity which runs once a month. After Dan had worked 40m and 30m he gave me an APRS spot, and this led to QSOs with four chasers…
20m CW: AE5G K5YAA K5GQ W4WJ ND0C AC7P WB0KIU KD3CA
Taylor Dome and pinnacle on its east ridge
A little view of Lake Isabella
Interesting rock formation on the way down
The road would be OK for 4WD, again I think the USFS wants to abandon it.
There were plenty of deer foot prints but the only human prints were ours. I don’t thing people come here very much at all. All the hunters do not seem to go very far from their pickup trucks.
Dan pointed out some mountain lion footprints! I thought this was exciting since I had never seen any signs of mountain lion before. SO I think I shall refer to Peak 8443 as “Lion Paw Mountain”
And finishing our nice walk back to Dan’s Jeep
We drove back to camp and cooked a nice dinner. We heard a couple of far off rifle shots, the only we had heard though we had seen quite a few hunters. I think it is so dry there are not too many deer around; we did not see any, just their foot prints.
We were missing home and had enough SOTA for the weekend, so we drove back to LA the next day, leaving around 7AM in our Jeeps. We kept in touch via 2m all the way, and met up on the Angeles Forest Highway at Mill Creek Summit where it was very windy, and then Hidden Springs where it was less windy but hot. And it is very hot today as I write this, 100 degrees F (37C)!
So we had a great SOTA adventure!
73! Hal N6JZT