This was a peaceful and pleasant hike that started along the forest route 3N12 then on the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) on foot before a short cross country hike. I had the summit all to myself and there was a small area that would be an outstanding place to spend the night. Here’s my five-point trail report to help you enjoy this hike/activation:
1 – Parking & Road Conditions – I elected to grab the bonus points for this activation so I choose to tackle this summit in the winter (January 2018). The weekend prior to my hike we had snow fall in the Big Bear range and there was a nice amount of patchy snow left to enjoy. I will add having a 4X4 truck was comforting because the snow had been melting and the re-freezing through the night causing snow. If the road is done without inclement weather then with great care you can reach the trail head on 3N12 with a high clearance 2WD car. I entered the area from Fawnskin at the 3N14 Forest Road then at the t-intersection with 3N12 I followed it up to where the PCT intersects with the road. There is a large enough parking area as can be seen from my video. Park there and hit the PCT.
2- Trail Conditions – The trail starts on the heavily used PCT until you either find the ridgeline trail up to the summit or utilize the route seen in my video. Once you leave the PCT you are going cross country but there isn’t really any bushwhacking. Use your navigation skills and equipment to get to the summit and enjoy. Plenty of shade along the way and on the summit.
3 – VHF & HF – I was able to make contacts on VHF and if I really was patient and tried I’m sure I could make a VHF only activation. I had purposefully wanted to work 20m as my standard band and to test my new home brew antenna. Both worked really well and there were plenty of trees if you wanted to hang a wire and leave your push up pole at home.
4 – APRS & Cell – I had cell service with Sprint at the summit and had no issues with APRS. Both were working just fine for me.
5 – Extra Info – This is a fairly short hike but a very pleasant one. I’d plan to spend some time there just hanging out but know the views from the summit are not that great due to the flat shape of the summit that is heavily covered in trees blocking panoramic views in most directions.