Martin WN6E found Los Pinos Peak W6/CT-138 as a summit near his previous hikes before SOTA was created. He noticed that it had never been activated yet and the challenge was on. Although there had been light rain and drizzle the day before, we decided to at least go to the site and see if it was a safe trip that we could do.
A brief advertisement here for readers that are already buried with our technical jargon. SOTA (Summits On The Air) is a program that encourages radio amateurs who enjoy hill walking and the great outdoors to take their radios with them and operate from the mountain tops. An award scheme recognizes those who activate (Activators) the summits and also those that make contact (called Chasers) with the activators . The program can be operated anywhere in the world.
Martin found hiker reference information at http://www.gohikeit.com/2013/10/los-pinos-peak-ortega-canyon-hiking.html and http://abhiking.blogspot.com/2011/02/los-pinos-peak-via-main-divide-road.html . I am a Geocacher so I looked at the caches that would become way points along our path (see http://www.geocaching.com and only do the free membership).
Luck was with us when we arrived as it was only drizzling lightly or it may have been the mist from the clouds we were in for most of the day. The one gate I was concerned about was open which shortened our walk from the truck to the summit to 1.68 km (1.03 miles) with an elevation gain of 427 feet. At the beginning of the hike is a fairly steep uphill to a false summit for the first 0.2 miles. The second summit is the real one and fairly mild.
Some reference way points:
The turn off at the main divide road which is very close to Geocache ’1950′ GC3H6QR N 33° 38.264 W 117° 25.401 just off of the Ortega Hwy. We accessed this from the Ortega 79 highway from the 5 freeway in San Juan Capistrano. This road is paved.
Now keep left from the Main Divide Road to Lone Canyon at Geocache “Mystic Oaks” GC3280A N 33° 38.434 W 117° 25.903. The road is still paved at this point.
Turn toward the peak at Geocache “Road to the Peaks” GC16HKE N 33° 39.715 W 117° 26.889. IMPORTANT NOTE: I strongly recommend a 4 wheel drive high clearance vehicle as currently the road is in tough shape. You could hike from here, ride a dirt bicycle, or take a motor cycle. This is a rugged road which will limit your speed in places to 5-8 mph. This part is not a quick trip.
Left turn to Peak at Geocache “YOU PICK WHICH ONE” GC16WG3 N 33° 40.284 W 117° 27.619
Summit is N 33° 39.864 W 117° 28.302 (33.6644 -117.4717) right next to Geocache Los Piños Peak GCD7F0 N 33° 39.853 W 117° 28.295 and some benchmarks.
One of the references we like to use is our ham radio APRS (Automatic Packet Reporting System) failed us on this trip and was not reporting or recording our position. This is a nice thing for our safety as our friends and relatives can track us. On future trips look for us at either WN6E-7 or KB6CIO-7 via http://www.aprs.fi. We always carry the boy scout ten essentials and have more food and water than is needed.
A point of interest that I tried to explain over the air to one of the spotters. I had requested a spot be place by him and he said there was already a local SPOT. I added that a SPOT from him would help other locals in his area know that propagation was good to his part of the country. He did a SPOT. Immediately after that I got other contacts from nearby areas.
The cold and dampness eventually took it’s toll and we wrapped up our equipment. Had it been nicer we would have stayed on the air a lot longer. I am not posting our logs here as they are readily available at http://www.sotadata.org.uk/ (free membership for hams and SWL). I made 19 contacts with my KX3 at 5 watts. Martin made 21 with his FT857. Martin made his last contacts with 8P6FX and 8P6AZ in Barbados – WOW !
The activation was terrific thanks to Chasers and people that posted SPOTS.
PICTURES ARE BELOW THIS COMMENT BOX