Summit: W4T/SU-062 Whiterock Ridge
Date: November 4, 2013
Weather: Mostly sunny, breezy at times, temps in the 50s
Kenwood TH-F6A triband HT
Arrow portable 2m/70cm yagi
Contacts: 2m-14, 70cm-1
Hiking Path: Cascade to Stairstep to High Ridge
Trail is narrow and has a significant out-slope in places.
On the afternoon of November 4, 2013, I activated Whiterock Ridge atop Buffalo Mountain. My friend Eric, who is not a ham operator, came with me. The summit is 3310 ft. in elevation and is called “Tip Top” on the trial maps.
We parked at the “Alternative Trail Head” instead of the main trail head at the picnic area, because the gate to the picnic area closes at sundown. The main gate is never closed, according to a park official. We began our ascent around 2:15 pm. We hiked up the roadway to the picnic area/trail head, which was probably the most difficult part of the hike.
The trail to the summit varies quite a bit from the trailhead. Some parts are relatively flat and wide, while other parts have a significant outslope and are very narrow. I had a couple of close calls when my foot slipped, due to the trail not being level, with me nearly sliding down the steep slope adjacent to the trail.
We ran into nearly a dozen volunteers doing some trail work. There was barely enough room to pass. Any closer and we would have been pushing them out of the way.
The final ascent to the summit along the High Ridge trail can be somewhat deceiving. After taking this trail, it leads to a peak that initially appears to be the summit. But, it’s not. If you look further down the trail, you will see another peak that is taller. THAT is the summit. Yes, the hike up it is just as bad as it looks. It is quite steep.
We reached the summit shortly before 4:00 pm. There is a bench and a picnic table up at the summit. After setting up and making contacts on 146.550 MHz, I tried 223.00. Due to strong interference, I immediately switched to 446.000 MHz. After only a single contact on 440, it was approaching 5:00 pm. We decided to quickly pack up and head back before dark. Thus, I was not on 220 and 440 for very long.
As dusk was rapidly approaching, we hustled down the mountain and reached the bottom around 6 pm. It was nearly dark for the final third of our descent. The hike down took approximately an hour.