Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak

Saturday, April 8, 2017

"10654" (W0C/FR-139) SOTA Activation


When the wife and kids said they had plans to meet some friends this Saturday for a movie, my mind quickly thought about a summit I've been stalking for a couple months. Now that things have warmed up with Spring's arrival I set plans to activate this peak for its first time under the Summits On The Air (SOTA) program.

Looking west from the summit of "10654"
Rex and I left the house just after 6am and were on the trail just before 8am. On the last portion of the drive to the TH we passed the South Platte River.  It was already packed with anglers decked out in their fly fishing gear. As I drove by I thought to myself, "who would want to stand in a river with all these great mountains around just waiting to be climbed?" To each their own I suppose. My estimated time to reach the summit was 10:30 am. We did not make that goal. It was closer to 11:15 by the time we made the summit.

This was just a tough, bushwhack of a hike. The first half mile was a nice gradual slope through a pasture following an old ATV trail, now used primarily for horseback riders. As we passed through a small grove of pines and into another clearing the summit came into view again. From here the path looked pretty straight forward. Due to the extensive fire damage, the terrain was easily discernable. While assessing the hillside we found a path of least resistance and made our way up to a ridgeline to begin our assault to the summit.

The nearly impenetrable forest.
From our earlier vantage point from far below we could see the best likely route. What we could not foresee was the myriad of hurdles we would have to navigate due to all the downed trees. Rex gets a little apprehensive jumping over logs higher than his head. Additionally, many of these fallen timbers had the majority of their limbs still attached so going under was usually not an option for him. Because of this, we did a lot of zigzagging and occasionally had to reverse course to find an easier route for my four-legged hiking companion. The other obstacle I did not expect was the thick stands of developing Aspen.  It was great to see the forest in rejuvenation, but those wispy branches at face level were perfect for whipping us, continually. I was glad I had my sunglasses to protect my eyes.

Overall, this was a tough hike. Four miles round trip (as the crow flies) and about 2,800 feet of gain from where we parked. The majority was steep. Dealing with the fallen trees was one thing, but due to erosion, loose boulders were also a continual threat. The descent took us 1 hour 45 minutes. I might do this hike again, however, I'll do Rex a favor and leave him at home next time.

73 and safe hiking,
AL
APRS.fi route data.
Parking along Goose Creek Rd., "10654" in the background

Looking South from about halfway up the summit.

Rex enjoying a snow cone treat on ascent

From summit, looking SW

On summit, looking South to Pikes Peak

Rex wondering why I'm jumping around the summit with wires

KH7AL and SOTA-dog Rex. Not sure who is more tired in this photo...
SOTA Log of the day's contacts

Not how a trekking pole should look, on descent