Friday, May 23, 2014

Whitaker Peak W6/SC-076

Whitaker Peak is north of the Santa Clarita Valley.  A fire rolled through the area in 2007.  A lot of vegetation has grown back since the fire.  I wanted to activate this peak before the summer heat.  It is about 4.5 miles on a semi-paved road to a radio tower, followed by a nearly half mile of bushwhacking.  I decided to bring my bike and ride to the radio tower.  It was quite steep in a few sports, so I alternated biking and walking.  All said, I am glad I brought the bike.

I drove N/B on the 5 freeway, exiting Templin Hwy to the old Golden State Hwy.  After a few miles, there is a sign for Whitaker Peak.  There is plenty of parking at the turnout.    There is a locked gate that prevents driving the road.  At about the two mile mark, you will come to a fork in the road.  Take the left road and follow it to the radio tower 2.3 miles further.

The bike worked out well.  I hadn't been riding in at least five years, but had no problem.  I put a basket on the back which nicely held my pack.  I used a couple bungee cords to tie down the Jackite.  Behind the bike, you can see the gate that blocks the road.  The sign reads "Road Closed".

I rode to the radio tower and hiked nearly a half mile to the peak.  I thought I may be able to save some time and climb the peak from the north side, but the brush was extremely thick. As I rode along the west side towards the radio tower, I noticed that there was a 15-20 foot steep, almost cliff, to hike to Whitaker Peak.  Rather that try to climb the 15-20 foot cliff, I rode to the radio tower.  There is no trail to the peak.  Google Earth made it look like a fairly open area to hike.  There has been a lot of vegetation growth and it was a difficult hike.

I had read that there were three benchmarks on the peak.  I only found this one on the summit.  It was partially covered with dirt and gravel.

There was a nice spot on the peak to activate.  The flat rocks made for a nice spot to set up my equipment and a place to sit.  In the upper left of the photo is a pile of rocks that contain a summit log and in the upper right is the benchmark.  I brought a small thermos of coffee for this trek as it was a little cool in the morning and it sure was nice to have a cup of coffee on top of the peak.  I use an Yaesu 857d radio, 13.2v 10amp battery, three LNR End Fedz antennas (12, 20, 40), Kenwood TH-d72a HT, GPS, Summit Log, two pints of water.  Not pictured is my Jackite telescopic pole.  I have been happy with the performance of the Jackite, but I would like to investigate something lighter for the longer treks.

This pile of rocks on the peak contained a Summit Log provided by the Sierra Club.  No one had signed the log in about two years.  I initially thought it was geocache.

There were plenty of old, burned out manzanita trees that worked well for anchoring the Jackite.  There was a very slight breeze on the peak.

Here is the 12m antenna.  I sloped it south to north.

There is plenty of space on the peak to deploy any length of antenna.  

I found the geocache near the summit.  After checking the cache, I signed the log, returned the contents and returned it to its hiding spot.  The last log entry for the cache was October, 2011.

Here is a view of Townsend Peak, W6/SC-161, which I activated a couple weeks ago.

Piru Lake can be seen from the peak.  Castaic Lake can also be seen when looking east.

On the way back to the truck, I stopped at this rock and located another geocache.

This is the radio tower where I parked my bike.  There is also a geocache located near the tower.

It was a fun day on Whitaker Peak.  If you make this trek, be sure and bring plenty of water.  I worked 40, 20, 12 meters.  When I was on 12 meters, I had just made contact with KQ6P.  He spotted me and within a few minutes, I was bounced off the frequency by a DXer from Spain.  I also had some interference when I was finishing up on 40m.  This is the first time I have not taken Roxy with me, as I thought she would have difficulty keeping up with the bike. Thank you to all chasers!

40m - W7RV, N6KZ, NS7P, KB7HH, KC7DM, KB6CIO


12m - KQ6P

1 comment:

  1. Enjoy your blog and reading your adventures. Curious where/how you anchor your jackite in some of your photos? Also how do you secure the antenna to the pole? I know the jackite has eyelits at the top? Have you had any issues with high wind loads and it coming down? Thanks and 73!