Flagstaff Fearsome Four - Ham Radio Style

I am planning to do the “Flagstaff Fearsome Four” next month and would like to invite anyone else who might be interested in having some fun on some of the highest and most popular Flagstaff summits to join me for some fun. The Official Flagstaff Fearsome Four involves summiting 4 peaks in 1-2 days, and I’m modifying it slightly to include doing a SOTA Activation on each, plus recognizing that some may only want to do 1, 2, or 3 of these summits.

The summits involved are:
O’Leary Peak - W7A/CS-006, 8,937’
Elden Mountain - W7A/AE-017, 9,301’
Humphreys Peak - W7A/AE-001, 12,635’
Kendrick Peak - W7A/AE-008, 10,420’

All are ten pointers and all have well-established trails to the top. According to the FFF organizers, the standard routes add up to about 34 miles and 10,307’ of vertical gain. I’ve hiked them all and while none are what I would call “easy” hikes, they are all fairly straightforward. GPS tracks for all 4 hikes are available on the SOTA Mapping Project and sotl.as web pages. The FFF challenge does not require one continuous hike - it is standard to drive between trailheads. (However if you are truly crazy you can do one continuous hike, which apparently means more like 72 hiking miles and 14,500+ vertical climb).

So how about it? Is anyone else interested in having some fun with this? My plan is to do this on May 6-7 or 7-8. I don’t want to wait until summer because of weather concerns as well as more crowds, and planning it later in the year is risky given the common fire closures.

With this many hiking miles I think it’s likely that each person would want to hike at their own pace, but I think it would be awesome to get a bunch of us up on these mountains over the course of the two days. If you don’t feel like tackling all 4, you could just choose one (or two, or three). And if we were all coordinated and checking in on each other that would make it even more fun. My own plan is to hike very light with a small QRP rig and a goal of just 10 or so QSO’s per summit to keep things moving along. But you could do your own thing, whatever is most fun!

The official FFF challenge website is Flagstaff Fearsome 4

Some people take on the FFF as a speed challenge, but my objective will be simply to hike all 4 over the course of 2 days without any time goal. If you are curious, the challenge is an officially recognized one on the Fastest Known Times website, see Flagstaff Fearsome Four (AZ) | Fastest Known Time.

If you are interested please comment here or send me a private message!


Keith KR7RK


That will be a fun adventure, I will be in the slow lane chugging my way up.
First camping trip of the summer:)

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I’ve had several people ask if we can push the Flagstaff Fearsome Four to a later date, due to school commitments and other reasons. So the final plan will be to do this on June 4 & June 5 (Saturday/Sunday). This is also the weekend of the W1 Campout so maybe we will get some nice S2S action!
Hopefully the new dates will allow more participation. By the way, W7A/AE-001 is the High Point of Arizona and long-distance VHF QSO’s are fairly easy from up there.
Thanks everyone for the interest,
Keith KR7RK



I will be in Flagstaff that week and would love to tag along. I’m looking forward to meeting you.

I’m certainly interested in joining this adventure, Keith. Hopefully, I can get out to Flagstaff that weekend.
I’ll be there in May for a memorial service.
Lots of great memories of time spent in the area.

73, David N6AN

Sounds like a fun challenge. I wish I could join you on the summits, however I will certainly chase you on 40 and/or 30 meters if you activate those bands.
Have fun.
Jeff K6QCB

May 7-8 may work for me.
73! Oleh KD7WPJ

Sounds like fun. Too bad I am back home as I would be up for a challenge.


Good luck ya’ll! Sounds like a fun challenge!

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As most of you in Arizona probably know, the Tunnel Fire has become a major situation in Flagstaff, currently estimated at over 19,000 acres. The fire footprint, according the InciWeb site at Azcof Tunnel Fire Information |, apparently includes the Sunset Crater National Monument and some of the SOTA summits within it, and a portion of FS Road 545A which is the primary route to the summit of O’Leary Peak.
It’s too early to know what the status will be by June 4th, but I think it’s likely that O’Leary will either be fully within a closure order area, or at least the trailhead will be. I’ll keep an eye on this and share information if I learn more.
So, we may find that the Flagstaff Fearsome Four challenge will need to be rescheduled. Obviously that is nothing compared to the devastation those who have been more directly affected by this fire are experiencing, for example loss of homes and pets and livestock. My prayers go out to them.
Keith KR7RK