This was a last minute activation for me…My plans changed the night before and I suddenly had a day off to myself. I’ve been looking at Grouse Mountain for a while, thinking it would be a good peak to activate without a lot of pre-planning. I had a rather leasurely start, gathering my things in the morning and heading down in the Jeep after a good breakfast. I remember looking at my snowshoes as I was pulling things out of my storage unit and thinking “I won’t need those, it’s not going to be very deep.” There’s a road that gets you pretty close to the south side of the peak. My plan was to drive the Jeep to the end of that road and pick may way up through the boulders and snow from there. I ended up chaining up the Jeep at the turnoff for the Horton Creek trailhead, where the tire tracks in the snow ended.
I made it quite a ways past that point making fresh tracks in the snow but after a mile or so I realized I could probably make better progress on foot. I parked the Jeep and started walking, trudging, post-holing through the snow. I really wish I pulled those snowshoes off the shelf.
Grouse Mountain is an interesting pile of boulders and routefinding can be tricky. I took a pretty good fall down a snow covered boulder on the way up and got scraped up a bit. I found the climbing to be really fun and interesting though. There were several points that I considered turning back, but each time, I found a way through.
I was a little surprised when I actually made the summit. I didn’t want to take the time to set up my full antenna, so I started out with the AX-1 on 20 meters.
I made a few contacts, but couldn’t get the AX-1 to tune up on 40, so I ended up pulling out the fiberglass mast setting up the full antenna anyway. I couldn’t move around at the summit very well, so I just set it up like a giant fishing pole and wedged the base into a rock with my feet. I didn’t get a good picture of the antenna, but it worked really well. It always amazes me to hear so many familliar stations on summit activations.