Friday, March 1, 2013

Roundtop Mountain, Bushwhack and Blood

What a fun summit today.  Roundtop Mountain W4T/SU-074 is a 3,077 ft mountain in the Great Smokey Mountains.  Overlooking Wears Valley the Roundtop Trail can be accessed by Lyon Springs Road.  During my planning I found that the trail did not lead over the summit but skirted the south side of the mountain.  I decided to park on one of the roads on the north side and bushwhack my way to the summit.

From my starting point I only had a little over half a mile to the summit.  But in that half mile I would gain about 1200 ft in elevation.  I was in for one steep climb.

It was a great time of year for this climb.  With very little underbrush it made the assent a bit easier.  I can just imagine the grabbing nastiness had I attempted this summit in the summer.  The weather was cool, around 30 degrees F with light snow flurries. 

I brought along a new set of equipment for today's climb.  Having never used a set of treking poles I found that they can save a lot of wear and tear on the body.  They also are an amazing asset for the pack laden hiker.  I found that many times during the day these poles kept me from rolling ass over apple cart down the hill.

 I hope the cheap set I purchased from Walmart will last for a while.  If not I will definitely will be in the market for a better set.

I took my time to the summit.  It was lightly snowing so everything was wet and slick.  Safety first!  Despite my cautiousness I still ended up scratching the heck out of my left hand.  I didn't notice it at first until I looked down and saw blood on the back of my hand.   So today's climb turned into a bloody bushwhack.

As this short clip shows it wasn't too bad.  Just had to Carry on to the Ranger Objective! 

I reached the summit and set up on the north side of the ridge to keep me out of the wind.  I set up my Buddipole antenna and my Elecraft KX3.  And since I actually had cell service I threw a self spot up on the SOTA website for 10m's.  I know, I know still 10m's.  If all goes well tomorrow I can /AG my call sign and get on some different bands. 

Well 10m's was pretty damn dead so I spent some time tuning around the ban in hopes of finding anyone. 
Despite the poor conditions I was lucky and made my 4 contacts.  Thanks to EA7JM, TO22C, V26B, and Larry W6UB.  Thanks for the final contact Larry!  I was very happy to make EA7JM in Spain.  my furthest contact to date!

As you can see things were slow so I was laid back and chilling, actually getting cold and damp.  I would have stayed longer if I was making contacts but oh well. 

I had hoped to make a video of this summit but there were some issues with my GOPRO and its Micro SD card.  A good portion of my video was corrupted.  Oh well perhaps next time.

All in all it was a great day.  My equipment performed very well, thank you Elecraft and Buddipole!  Oh and thanks to Zippy, the 8400 LifePo4 battery was on its 3rd summit and had just dropped below 13v.  Pretty damn awesome. 

Next week I hope to get in one or two more summits.  Hope to get contacts with some of the guys from the midwest on 20m's!

73's and Keep Climbing!

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