Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Mount Ogden (W7U/NU-048) SOTA Activation from KH7AL Devoted to the spirit of Ham Radio and Summits On The Air (SOTA).

With two days remaining until the fall equinox, I was looking for one more summer hike, close to home. Mount Ogden stands as a constant point of reference in the Ogden area and this summit has beckoned me for months. I kept finding other summits to hike after reading summit reviews that led me to believe it was too much to tackle. From the Beus Trail in the foothills of South Ogden, you face 4,500' of vertical gain and approximately 5.5 miles to the top. It's not Everest but it's not a walk in the park either. Time to bag this summit.

Getting There

The parking lot is located at:
41° 10' 38.4"N, 111° 55' 46.7"W
41.177341, -111.929625
*Open 6am to 10pm

Summit Info:
41° 11' 59.5"N, 111° 52' 54.2"W
41.1999, -111.8819

The Hike

I arrived in the dark to an empty parking lot located in a quiet neighborhood. I parked under a street light and noticed a sign stating the lot is closed from 10pm to 6am. I put my boots on, tossed on my backpack and turned on my headlamp. It was right at 6 as I headed off into the darkness towards the trail head (TH). It was cool on this 20th day of September. Probably in the low 50s and eerily quiet. No birds, just the occasional rustle of dry oak
leaves as acorns rained down all around. Within five minutes I was hiking upslope along a tranquil stream (audio). After about 1/2 mile the trail intersected with the Bonneville Shore Trail; just keep to the right to stay on the Beus Trail.

Over the next mile the trail gains gradually and crisscrosses the stream a few times. When it was light enough to turn of my headlamp I found myself traversing up through a dense fern forest along the now much smaller stream. Some ferns were close to seven feet tall, well over my head and
they kept the trail very tight. Finally, I crossed the stream a last time as the trail turned south and up into the oaks and maples in their fall splendor. South then east, up and up gradually. After four miles I was finally above the trees. As I crested a ridge the first of several cairns greeted me, along with a substantial breeze out of the west. From here I finally saw my destination and drove me to find my second wind.

The final push from the saddle follows a steep maintenance access road to the antenna towers. I found a route to the top and took a rest on the helipad. The wind was even stronger, but with blue skies it was just a matter of finding a wind break on the leeward side, which I did. The view was great and also gave me the realization that a great alternative for tackling this summit is from Snowbasin Ski Resort. After a snack and water I set my focus on setting up my antenna and radio to activate this peak for Summits On The Air (SOTA). Propagation was not great but I did manage to pull in 15 contacts including one summit-to-summit with George, KX0R, in Colorado.

This hike took me 4 hours to reach the summit and 2 hours to get back (I was in a hurry). I would not recommend attempting this route during the winter months. The rest of the year it is fair game.


Trekking Poles
3 Liters of H2O
Lite Windbreaker/stocking cap
Should have brought light gloves

Radio Gear:

HF:  Elecraft KX-3
Antenna:  SOTAbeams, Linked dipole (40, 30, 20 meters)
HT:  Kenwood DH-72 (for APRS)

Trail (Beus Trail to Mount Ogden saddle):

Good condition on the lower section. The upper-middle section was clogged with low lying oaks and several places the trail was damaged or just needed some maintenance.
Target in site, finally.

Looking east to Snowbasin

SOTA-beams antenna set up, op location on the right.

My APRS logged route.

73 and safe hiking!


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