Old Greyback as Mount San Gorgonio is sometimes called. More like Old Whiteback on this day
15 JANUARY 2022 W6/CT-044
I last hiked up Onyx Peak on March 28, 1997. At the time I was struck by the “nice little cedar camps. Looked like Bristlecone pines.” I’ve since discovered that these ancient trees are actually Western Juniper trees. This time I decided to go in the true winter season to claim the winter bonus. There was still quite a bit of snow on the ground after the big storm we had in December and I was glad to have brought my big winter boots and gaiters. The road to the summit is perhaps too well graded at 2.71 miles with only 684 feet of gain.
I’m not usually one to cut switchbacks due to the erosion this causes, but because of the snow, I did shorten the trip some — especially on the way down when sinking a heel into the deep snow made the descent a breeze. This cheating cuts out about a mile, but I would not do it if there was not deep snow present.
It was forecast to be a bit windy but it didn’t turn out to be so bad. The aforementioned Juniper trees and the broad summit plateau provided a decent wind break and good antenna supports. This was the Winter SOTAfest weekend and, while the HF band conditions weren’t great, I handed out 64 summit-to-summit points with other winter SOTAfest folks out in the Barstow area mostly. Thank you all! Especially the S2S folks: David N6AN, Lorene W6LOR, Mike K6STR, Bret K1BAA, Chris N1CLC, Kevin KN6FNY and Mike KN6EZE. You guys rock!