Double SOTA: Mosquito Peak and London Mountain
Mosquito Pass is a popular 4WD road in Colorado that takes you to 13,185 feet in elevation. It also provides access to two excellent SOTA summits, both over 13k feet: Mosquito Peak (W0C/SR-068) and London Mountain (W0C/SP-025). Joyce/K0JJW and I activated both summits on the same day. Fortunately, the weather cooperated nicely.
We drove the road to the pass from the east (via Highway 9, heading north out of Fairplay then turning west onto County Rd 12 / Mosquito Pass Road). Consult the Pike National Forest map for more detail.
We’ve driven over this pass many times over the years and the condition of the road has varied quite a bit. Right now, I’d call this a moderate 4WD road. You will find trail descriptions online that call Mosquito Pass “easy 4WD” but I think that information is out of date. Our stock Jeep Wrangler had no problem with it but I would not recommend driving the road with a Subaru-class crossover SUV.
Be aware that this road is closed by snow early in the fall and opens late in the summer. It is very unlikely to be passable in June and typically opens sometime in July. We decided to wait until August. Did I mention the road exceeds 13,000 feet in elevation? Check BushDucks for usually reliable pass information.
Mosquito Peak (W0C/SR-068)
At Mosquito Pass, we took an unmarked 4WD north towards Mosquito Peak. This road is not shown on the Pike National Forest map. The road was in good condition but is a narrow shelf road with limited opportunities to turn around. We parked the Jeep at an obvious turn-around spot and hiked on up the south ridge to the summit. No consistent trail, but a few cairns here and there. The one-way distance was about half a mile with 500 feet of vertical gain, so not very difficult.
It was quite windy on top so we hunkered down behind some rocks to provide some shelter. Using the Yaesu FT-90 transceiver and the 3-element Arrow 2m yagi, we worked these stations without much trouble: W0BV, N0EMU, KN0MAP, W0DLE, KD0VHD and W9GYA. Our best DX was N0EMU near Calhan, CO at about 100 miles.
London Mountain (W0C/SP-025)
To hike London Mountain, we drove back down the pass to the west end of the mountain and parked the Jeep at the point another 4WD road heads off to the south (see map). This road was gated closed and marked “no trespassing”.
We followed an obvious but unmarked trail leading from this small parking spot up the ridge of London Mountain. For the most part, we were able to follow this trail all the way to the summit. In a few spots it faded out but we stayed near the top of the ridge and always found it again. There were times when we really wondered if the trail’s route was the best option but it worked out fine. There are a few steep sections and places where we used our hands on rocks. The variety of rocks on this mountain (including marble) made it an interesting and fun hike. Following the top of the ridge also provided some ups and downs and many small false summits. The one-way distance is 0.85 miles with 600 vertical feet.
On top, we worked W0BV, W0DLE, N0EMU, KC0PBR, KN0MAP and KL7GLK on 2m FM. The wind dissipated a bit so it was more pleasant to hang out on this summit. We left the summit around 1 pm local with blue skies and a few puffy clouds all around.
These two summits are a great double-summit opportunity, as long as you have a capable 4WD vehicle. I suppose you could hike up the road but you probably can’t do both of the summits in one day.
73, Bob K0NR
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