Joyce K0JJW and I were preparing to drive back home from the mountains and began to consider what Summits On The Air (SOTA) peaks might be on the way and easy to access. I consulted with Steve WG0AT, who had a number of good suggestions but we ultimately decided on Blue Mountain (W0C/SP-123). This is an easy summit to get to and an easy summit to hike.
I found Carey’s (KX0R) trip report to be helpful, so I suggest reading that information. To get to Blue Mountain, just get on Blue Mountain Road (CR 61) heading south out of Lake George. Looking at your Pike National Forest map (you do have a National Forest map, right?), you’ll see that this road passes by Blue Mountain on the east side and then turns west. Take forest service road FS 244 to the right (north), which takes you up to the west side of Blue Mountain.This road turns into easy 4WD (challenging 2WD with high clearance). We just kept going on FS 244 (ignoring the side roads) and parked at the very last turn, as shown on the map (38.93108N, 105.35597W). At this point, you can just take aim at the summit (40.33530N, 105.28100W) and hike your way up. Approaching the slope at an angle makes it not quite so steep.
For this activation, we took along gear for 2m, 70cm and 23cm, FM only. Basically, this amounts to a pile of HTs and a few compact antennas. All of our contacts were on 2m FM except I did work Paul W0RW on Wilkerson Pass using 1.2 GHz (23 cm). At an elevation of 9230 feet, this location does pretty well on VHF and higher, so we easily worked stations in Buena Vista (W0BV), Woodland Park (WA6TTY) and Como (KD0VHD). We also worked a hiker (Jim, KD0MRC) on the side of Mount Yale, about 50 miles away.
The photo on the left shows my portable 2m FM station: Yaesu FT-1DR handheld transceiver, 1/2-wave Flex antenna (Smiley Antenna), and the dismantled 3-element Yagi (Arrow Antenna). I recently started using the Smiley halfwave antenna because it flexes on the connector end, making it more resilient to on trail use.
In the photo to the left, I’ve got the yagi antenna assembled and I’m using it to make contacts. With a little practice, the Arrow antenna screws together quickly and provides some nice gain over the halfwave vertical (about 6 dB).
We had excellent weather today so that helped make for a fun day. If you are in the Lake George, CO area consider Blue Mountain for an easy and fun activation.
73, Bob K0NR