Tuesday, May 22, 2018

W7N/CK-050 Mountain Spring Benchmark

I had a free morning, so I decided to head up to the Red Rock Canyon Area for another SOTA activation. Mountain Spring Benchmark looked like a relatively easy four pointer. The trailhead is a small dirt area on NV 160 just before the town of Mountain Springs. There was already one car here, so I just parked behind it, and set off up the trail.
Plenty of space for cars at the trail head.
There are a few different roads leading off. The middle one is the correct one. It climbs up a ridge, to a communication tower. Here there is a gate in the road, and a trail that continues on the other side. Follow this trail up to the summit. The trail ascends at a pleasant grade, and I made good time up the hill. There were great views to the south and west, the other side of the ridge that you can't see from Las Vegas.
That peak is W7N/CK-054. Town of Mountain Springs in the trees.
When the trail reaches the crest of the ridge, it makes a sharp turn to the left, and follows the ridge line up to the summit. There was a cairn and some sticks marking the turn, it was easy to find and know which way to go. Around this point I passed the guy who had parked at the base. I was expecting that he'd catch me on the summit while I was operating, but I never saw him again.
First view into the Las Vegas basin.
At a few points along the ridge the trail was hard to follow, but it was easy to keep going in the right direction. At the summit I signed the register and got set up. There was a great cell signal, and great views down to Las Vegas. I started on 30 meters, like I usually do, but didn't get many contacts. Moving up to 20 got me the rest of the required contacts. I also got a few on 40. I tried calling on 17, but there wasn't anyone there.
Looking north, towards Mt Charleston.
I then tried VHF, since there was great line of sight to the city. The second person who answered my CQ told me that some idiot had put up a remote base with an input on 146.52, so to be careful that the contacts I made were actually simplex. When I asked him to tell me what a remote base was, he described a repeater. I was able to confirm the two contacts I made were simplex, and valid for SOTA. After cursing at the repeater operator a bit, I decided that it was getting hot and I was ready to hike down.
I like the desert, but I don't like how spiky everything is.
The descent was quick, retracing my steps. I passed a few people heading up, and there were a number of cars in the lot when I got back.

Trailhead: Mountain Springs Trailhead. Google Maps has a landmark here.
Website: SOTA Site.
Maps: AA6XA SOTA Hikes map.
Route: Take the middle road, which leads up to the communication tower. Go around the gate, and follow the trail up the spur to the main ridge. Turn left, and continue following the trail along the ridge up to the summit.
Red Tape: None.
Looking south to Potosi Mountain, another SOTA peak.

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