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Janet and Bob

Feb 9, 2014 Bob, KB6CIO, and Janet headed to Vetter Mountain to do a SOTA (Summits On The Air) activation. Vetter Mountain is located in the San Gabriel Mountains and within the Angeles National Forest. This one was highly recommended by several other hams. Elevation 5908 feet. Vetter mountain was name after Victor P. Vetter who was a dedicated forest ranger and fire dispatcher in the 20s and 30s.

We started our hike (4 miles round trip) at the Charlton Flats, a picnic ground located to the northeast face of Vetter Mountain. (The picnic area has 185 tables and stoves and is open April through November. We hope it will reopen this year. We took Angeles Crest Highway 2 to Charleton Flats Turn off at Forest Service Road 3W16 at N 34° 17.885 W 118° 00.356 (34.29808, -118.00594). There is parking at this point with restrooms. There does not appear to be any water here or at the site. We displayed our Adventure Pass in the windshield and started our 2 mile slightly up hill walk from here (+546 ft / -98 ft). Just stay to the left at each road and follow the “Vetter Mountain” signs. The paved road turns into a dirt road just before the burned out lookout. There are many brand new restrooms along the road.

As you will see in the photos, this area is still recovering from the 2009 Station Fire. The Station Fire was started by an arsonist and was the largest fire in LA County’s recorded history. A total of 161,189 acres or 252 square miles burned.

Warnings were posted along the trail about Poodle-Dog Bush. It is widespread in the Station Fire burn area due to the fact that this plant thrives in disturbed soils. Touching it can cause a significant allergic reaction! When in bloom, it has a pretty purple flower but in winter it looks like any other half dead weed.

In the photos you will see the Fire Lookout Tower as it looked before the fire and what remains of the lookout today.

When we left the OC/LA basin that morning, it was completely overcast and foggy. By the time we reached the Charlton Flats trail head we realized we were above the clouds and fog! It was a little on the chilly side but the sun was bright and the air was clear! We had a great hike and Bob made 19 contacts over the air.

These chasers made the trip even better. Logged: K6TUY (Bob showed the true spirit of ham radio and got us a SPOT even though his home system was down) WA6JCL KK6D KA6ASJ VA6MCB NA6MG N5XL N6JZT N6QIC N4EX W0MNA WB0ERI AA5CK WB5USB W5ODS WA2USA N1EU W7CNL KG3W K6CMG (Summit 2 Summit).

Vetter Route

Vetter Route 

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Many of these mark your path.

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Orignal Fire Lookout

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What remains. This is what we saw.

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Original stairs still remain.

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This is Poodle Dog Bush

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Mount Wilson

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Reference Mark 1

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Reference Mark 2


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View looking North West to Big Tujunga Canyon

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Melted Glass

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Pine cone that has not fallen.

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New growth

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Look close to see antenna