Onyx Peak

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!

The station in the nice Western Juniper grove on the summit
Looking out to the Northeast and into the Mojave Desert. The Ord Mountains I believe are at the left.
The last time these boots saw action was on Mt. Shasta in June of 1999
Happy activator with Mount San Jacinto in the background

Published by wringmaster

I'm a graphic artist in the movie business. When I was a kid I got interested in astronomy. When it would get too cloudy to observe the heavens, my buddy and I would sit at the VFO of his Hallicrafters S 38c like safe crackers trying to coax faraway signals out of that humble radio. My love of astronomy and radio survive to this day fifty+ years later.

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