This year I decided to combine the Colorado 14er Event with Summits on the Air for a weekend of fun in the Colorado High Country! Our hike up Castle on Sunday, August 4th was the final day of a 5-day camping/hiking trip starting in Fort Collins. We spent Saturday night at site #2 along the road up to Castle Peak, and got a 5am start on the trail. Since we were driving all the way to just below the Pearl Pass Rd split, we got to sleep in a little.
The trail to the summit follows an old mining road all the way to ~ 12,800′, where it becomes a scramble up a boulder field. We decided to take a harder route up the summit, which goes to the extreme left when viewing the summit from the 12,800′ area. This was probably a class III scramble, and was very difficult at times. For the route down, we came down the “normal” route. You can see the road we hiked in the background:
About 45 minutes from the summit, I began hearing 14er stations on 146.52 and 147.42. I talked with Alan NM5S and told him we’d be on the summit soon. I’ve started using a Smiley 2m 1/2 wave antenna for summit activations, and have found that it works really well. I routinely make contacts to 100 miles with this antenna, and the biggest benefit over the Arrow Yagi which I also use is that it’s available during the hike up.
Once on the summit, I worked a decent pile of guys, both on 2m to other 14er summits, and on 20m-ssb for SOTA. Here’s my log from the day:
The remaining pictures from Castle Peak can be seen at W0/WE-001 Castle