Other SOTA sites: SOTAwatch | SOTA Home | Database | Summits | Video | Photos | Shop | Mapping | FAQs | Facebook | Contact SOTA

It's raining again

As the Supertramp band said in their classic famous song, it’s raining again…
However, I’ll keep my fingers crossed and hope to be able to activate Mt. San Cristobal EA2/NV-119 tomorrow morning and something else TBD on Sunday.
73 de Guru


Another song goes “The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain”, so hopefully you will be okay Guru. Take your sun cream just in case! Have a good activation.

73, Gerald G4OIG


Thanks Gerald,
I didn’t know about that other song. Ha, ha, ha!
Well, if the rain falls, either on the plain or on the hills, all I wish is that it holds on Saturday at about 10h ±1h utc and about 6 hours in the morning of Sunday, as I’d like to do this 6 pointer called Intzako Dorrea EA2/NV-018, also called Hirumugarrieta, through either this highly demanding route with nearly 1 000 meters height difference in 4.2 linear Km from the start point in the village of Gaintza to the summit

or this other route from the other side of the range, with less height difference (almost 850m) and a longer linear distance of 9.3 linear Km.

This summit has only been activated once on HF with just 7 QSOs on 10m. All the other activations have been on VHF with 265 QSOs and 1 QSO on UHF.

I hope to be able to give you and all this one soon.

Best 73 de Guru

Must be showing my age! All the best for both days. Unfortunately I am unlikely to be in the shack which is a pity since conditions have been reasonable into EA2 today… unlike other directions!

73, Gerald G4OIG


Well, I managed to activate this morning without any rain and given that it hasn’t rain at all today, I have the feel that I’ll be able to activate tomorrow too, despite some dark grey clouds coming in from the North and the temperature dropping down a bit.

After carefully studying the map and the possible routes today, I have already made my mind and I’ve decided that I’ll try two 6 pointers pretty close to each other as there’s one called Ganboa (EA2/SS-056) not far from the one I was initially planning to activate (EA2/NV-018) and it will give me the chance to activate EA2/SS area for the first time.

This is their location with respect to my QTH.

I’ll post alerts now and hope to be able to self spot from the summits.

Best 73 de Guru

Hi Guru,

if I compare the weather forecast for your area near Pamplona:

with the weather forecast of our region here in southern Germany:

I’m pretty sure you will be a lucky man tomorrow :slight_smile:

Wish you all the best for your activation.

73 Stephan, DM1LE

1 Like

Hi Stephan,
Your words were indeed encouraging but, unfortunately, they didn’t match reality.
Today I’ve been defeated by the worst WX I have ever had in the mountain since I do SOTA and possibly in my whole life.
Rain and snow most of the time with very strong winds when I was above the 1100m asl.
The strong wind plus a very intense horizontal snow fall made me abandon when I was at about 1300m asl and just a few more than 100 m in height to reach the summit.
I’ve spent 5 hours out in the mountain today but was unable to reach my target.
I’m away from home now writing this on my smartphone while using the wifi in a bar.
I’ll post some more details and pics later tonight when back home.
Sorry for not having been able to activate.
73 de Guru

Hi Guru, sorry to hear about your adventure. I did wonder
what happened to you. Best to abandon rather than risk.
Summer is supposed to be here but this morning there was rain turning into sleet - maybe not yet summer here :wink:
Best wishes.
Night night

Hi Guru,

I’m also very sorry to hear that you had such a miserable weather.

Instead our local weather forecast was perfectly true: All day long snow showers down to a sea level of abt. 650m ASL. Also not very inviting for a SOTA activation :frowning:

Hope that spring is returning soon.

73 Stephan, DM1LE

Editted to change the words snow/sleet into graupel now that I’ve learned it’s the right word for what I actually had falling from the clouds that day.

Well, it’s been a shame, a real shame but it was entirely my fault.
I woke up at 4h15 utc and I saw it was everything wet outside and still raining a bit.
I should have returned to bed but I remembered the weather forecast saying that some rain may happen in the early morning but the weather would improve as the day hours move on. With this in my mind and my sometimes stubborn character, I decided to leave home and head to the start point about 65Km to the NorthWest.
I had rain all the way and it rained when I parked my car at the start point. Stubborness made me wait in the car for 50 minutes until rained stopped instead of turning back home or finding some other summit in a Southerly area.
Once the rain had stopped, I decided to leave the car and started the hike in company of my dog Lucho.
I don’t recall exactly but in less than half hour (I would even say in 15 minutes) the rain came back and Mr. stubborn (myself) opened his umbrella and decided to keep hiking up hoping the weather forecast about getting better as the day hours move on would be right.

This is an intermediate summit we passed by on our way up.

It rained for a long while, more than an hour and it stopped at one point, so I closed the umbrella and kept hiking up.
We found some patches of snow:

…and Lucho enjoyed them very much:

By the time we reached the 1200m asl, strong winds were blowing with a speed that I woud guess (I had not an anemometer with me) at not less than 70Km/h, maybe more at times.
At this height the precipitations returned but in the form of graupel instead of rain. I kept hiking because I knew the summit was not far, but I was telling to myself that, in such conditions, the activation would not be possible on HF and I would possibly have to try to qualify just on VHF 2m FM.
At one point, the horizontal graupel fall became so heavy and intense that I clearly saw that, in such conditions, an activation was not going to be possible, no matter the band/mode. Even trying to keep going like this and try to reach the summit was crazy to me at that point, so I decided to abort and return when I was at about 1300m asl.
You can see the map showing the GPS track I followed and the exact point where I aborted the ascent. I think there were just 130m left to reach the summit, less than 15 minutes hike in normal conditions, but it was very difficult for me to hold the umbrella, the walking stick, the fishing pole and look at the GPS to find the right path in the middle of such strong winds and heavy horizontal graupel fall.

These are some interesting formations while the snow patches were melting

When an activation can take place, the time of the activation is good rest for the activator after the ascent, but today I couldn’t have any rest and had to descend immediately after the ascent.
Not giving a rest to my legs today and the horizontal graupel having got my trousers wet with cold water, thus cooling down my muscles, made my twin muscle in my right leg to contract at one point during descent and I guess most of you know how painful that is.
I fell down and had to be on my left knee on the wet, damped ground for about a minute, with my right leg fully extended while bending my right foot towards me, totally unable to stand up again.
After this episode I made some of the usual stretching exercises and finally managed to continue my descent with much care to protect my twin muscle.
I had graupel and later rain for a long time during descent but some little sunshine started to break through the clouds by the time I was about to arrive to my car.

At my arrival to the car I stopped the stopwatch in my pulsometer and it said I had been hiking for almost 5 hours (4h 52min 46sec). I reached a maximum heart beat rate of 163 BPM with an average of 136 BPM. It also said that I burnt 171 grams of fat and consumed 3220 Kcal.

When I got to the car I was really exhausted and I had to eat my ham and cheese sandwith with about 50cl of water before starting the drive back home.

Well, the mountains will still be there for a while and I hope to have another chance with a better weather to get there and activate.

Thanks to all the good friends who were waiting and looking for me. I didn’t have mobile phone signal in the beginning of the hike and I didn’t even look at it when I was higher because, with all the weather inclemences, I had neither time nor hands enough for it :slight_smile:

Have a nice week.

Best 73 de Guru


Really sorry to read your account of the bad weather Guru. This month is proving to be most unlike Spring. Maybe we are having Winter now - in the UK we certainly did not get that season during the usual months.

That is how I felt when I reached the summit of Lamachen Hill GM/SS-061 at the end of December. I had to eat and drink before I could start to set up the station. It was not a pleasant feeling - I nearly got out my bothy bag to settle down for a sleep rather than an activation, but managed to overcome that feeling once the food started to take effect.

Hopefully the weather will improve soon and you will be able to get out to activate in the EA2/SS area as planned.

73, Gerald G4OIG

What only rain?

Here’s what I woke to this morning, and it’s supposed to be the start of summer (summer soltice) in 8 weeks !

BRRRRRRR! No activation today - time to clear the drive again.


Can’t quite compete with that Ed. But, an hour ago I put a wash on thinking what a good drying day it was.

Indeed, Gerald, particularly after the snow fall shown by Ed and Andy on their pics of the latests posts here.
Despite Winter has been not too cold here this year, we all are already looking forward to having nice warm and sunny Spring days. But this weather is not too unusual for Spring time. I even remember some years having brief snow falls in Pamplona in May and I guess such thing must be even more frequent at higher latitudes like DL and G.
It won’t last long though, so let’s keep our hope and be ready to go out and activate as soon as Mr. WX lets us to.
This is the weather forecasted for this weekend:

So again about the same story of last weekend. I think I’ll stay home this Sunday :wink:

Best 73 de Guru

Virtually every afternoon recently we have had to grapple with the Graupel. :wink: I just love that stuff when out on an activation - bouncing everywhere and usually some of it ending up in my backpack where the heat from the 817 turns it quickly to water. I noted it was +6 Celsius here when we had a shower on Tuesday - bizarre!

I was hoping to get out to do a few activations next week, but probably will leave it and get a few of those jobs done that seem to have been on my list for ages. That’s another thing that seems to have gone awry - TIME!

73, Gerald G4OIG

1 Like

Hi Gerald,
It looks like a words game but I don’t get it.
I had to search what “Grapple” meanning was and found it, but I can’t find Graupel.
If you can explain it, I’ll be grateful.
I’m always ready to learn more.
Best 73 de Guru

Editted to change the words snow/sleet into graupel now that I’ve learned it’s the right word for what I had falling from the clouds today.

Despite having forecasted just variable clouds for today, I finally got wet during my weekly activation of Mt. San Cristóbal. It rained during the ascent, during the activation I got some rain first, which suddenly turned into graupel dressed with a cold wind from the North and it rained most of the time during descent. The temperature was 8° C when I parked the car at the mountain foot and I guess it was around 2° C at the summit.
However, I managed to succeed and complete my 48th activation of EA2/NV-119.
My SOTA kit is spreaded while drying out on the floor of my shack.
Best 73 de Guru

Hi Guru,

“Graupel” is a German invention :wink:
It is like hail just with very small ice pellets. Especially in combination with strong “horizontal” winds a not really pleasant feeling in ones face :frowning:

73 Stephan, DM1LE

1 Like

Thanks Stephan for the explanation of Graupel. I had never heard that word before, I think.
I was very pleased with our S2S QSO today. Thanks for calling in.
Best 73 de Guru

Graupel is similar to hail, but forms differently and is softer. Still nasty stuff.

1 Like