Thanks! I am currently studying for my upgrade to General. Once that has happened, I’ll start considering SSB. This first summit is located in a fairly heavily-populated area, with line of site to a several cities; I’m inclined to think that, in this instance at least, it was more an issue of people not being on the air than VHF itself. I can definitely see how that would be a challenge deeper into the mountains, though.
I’ve set a some goals for myself to try and make at least a few contacts in some of the lesser-used bands, such as 6-meter and 70-cm FM.