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SOTA Report: Stonewall and Cuyamaca Peak (22-Feb-2015)
 

A collection of Adam's photos, videos, and trip reports.

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Home Trip Reports SOTA SOTA Report: Stonewall and Cuyamaca Peak (22-Feb-2015)

SOTA Report: Stonewall and Cuyamaca Peak (22-Feb-2015)

With 55mph winds forecasted for the desert, my plans to climb Rabbit and Villager peaks seemed like a bad idea. Now, I'm not opposed to some Type 2 fun (not fun during, but fun when you're done) but it seemed this would just be a bit too much.

I had already called off plans for Rabbit Peak and a San Diego Mountain Rescue member and running friend Erin sent a text asking where and when to meet for the adventure. I conveyed the bad news and offered an alternate plan - bag some peaks in the Cuyamaca area instead. The weather would likely be as bad, but most of the trails are sheltered enough for the suffering to be limited to the highest parts of the exposed summits.

We met the next morning at a Park and Ride and carpooled up, climbing Highway 79 into the clouds and moisture. At the Trout Pond trailhead, visibility was minimal but it wasn't really raining yet. The temps were in the low 40s and it seemed unlikely that it would get any warmer throughout the day.

 

Just a mile into the run, we slowed to keep from causing too much of a stir amongst 15-20 deer and a flock of 30-40 turkeys that were blocking the trail.

 

Within an hour we reached the summit of Stonewall Peak (W6/SC-029) via the trail up the back side from the horse camp. The winds at the summit were gusty but not unbearable. Even though it still wasn't really raining, the the clouds streaming past the peak deposited their moisture onto the trees, and to us. Within no time we were soaked. Only successfully making two 2-meter simplex contacts from the summit, we retreated a bit to a more protected location at the base of the summit railing and unfurled the HF antenna. A spot via satellite messenger brought in a few quick contacts on 20m. Less than 10 minutes after the initial spot, we were shivering and it was time to get moving again.

Summit Log - Stonewall Peak (W6/SC-029) 6pts

TimeCallBandMode
16:37z W6OHV 144MHz FM
16:38z KK7DZA 144MHz FM
16:45z NS7P 14MHz SSB
16:46z WB5USB 14MHz SSB
16:47z W0MNA 14MHz SSB

We ran down the Stonewall Peak trail toward Paso Picacho, then headed up the Cold Stream Trail to meet the California Riding and Hiking Trail. From there, we headed up my favorite trail in Cuyamaca - the Azalea Glen trail, then on up the fire roads to the summit of Cuyamaca Peak. Surprisingly, we encountered a few other hardy souls on the trails.

From the summit of Cuyamaca Peak, the 2m simplex calling frequency was too busy for me to try calling for contacts. I could hear signals from 2 or 3 conversations going on at once, and had no opportunity to break in to any of them. And with the temps as chilly as they were on the summit, we once again retreated to a more sheltered location just below the summit an set up the HF wire antenna once again.

A spot with the Delorme InReach again brought some quick contacts on 20m. I briefly switched to 40m, but we once again began to shiver from the increasing drizzle and high winds. After a minute or two of calling on 40m, we made the wise decision to call it and head down.

Summit Log - Cuyamaca Peak (W6/CC-014) 6pts + 3 bonus

TimeCallBandMode
19:03z W0MNA 14MHz SSB
19:04z W0ERI 14MHz SSB
19:04z WB5USB 14MHz SSB
19:05z KX7L 14MHz SSB

For some variety on the descent, we followed the Conejos Trail down, then branched over to Milk Ranch Road for the direct route back to the car. Round-trip involved 15 miles with 3,300' of elevation gain and loss - a great consolation prize to the original plan of Rabbit Peak.