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.
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
20m - NA6MG, KA5PVB, KF7JQV, WA9STI, W7CNL
12m - KQ6P