Peak name: Mt. Gordon Lyon
Peak Reference: KLA/AN-167
Location: USA, Alaska, Anchorage area
Activation Date: 2018-06-16
Trailhead to peak time: 1 Hr
Summary: Mt. Gordon Lyon and it’s brother peak, Rendezvous Mtn. (KLA/AN-169), are great options for the summer visitor to Alaska who doesn’t have a ton of time for hiking but wants to get in an activation or two. In the summer it’s an easy walk up from the Arctic Valley trailhead up to a saddle. From the saddle you can then go to either of the two peaks, both of which qualify for SOTA.
Hiking: In winter the whole approach is an avalanche area, so be sure to check on conditions before snowshoeing or skiing in. A quick call to the local hiking stores will get you some good info on snow conditions if you’re not a resident. The Alaska Avalanche Information Center is another good online resource for general conditions. I’ve hiked this peak in the winter, and it’s about a half hour to an hour longer of a hike, depending on the snow and your skills.
Operating: SOTA is still getting off the ground (no pun intended) up here, so drop me a line if you’ll be in the area. I’ll scare up some other operators for you to make sure you get your contacts in. 2 M FM voice on the national simplex channel is the best way to go. The Anchorage Amateur Radio Club website and http://www.alaskarepeaters.kl7.net/ both list repeaters in the area that you can light up to find other operators and QSY over to simplex.
For HF, QRP can be a challenge (to put it lightly) from up here. So far I haven’t been able to get squat on HF QRP from my activations. I’m working on a setup to run psk31 from the field, so we will see how that goes. But basically, plan on using simplex VHF to get your contacts in for this area. You might have better luck with CW though. I’m not a CW operator so I couldn’t say.
Packet: APRS coverage is good once you reach the saddle, but spotty on the approach up the valley. Self-spotting is easy to do either via SMS or APRS2SOTA, but again, with the challenges on HF self-spotting may be of dubious value. It’s the edge of the world up here.
Typical summer trail conditions.
Looking North towards the city of Eagle River.
View of the peak itself from my operating location. Winds can be very high and very cold up here - even in “summer”.
Looking south towards Anchorage. Good line of sight VHF access to the major population center.
This is a view to the east towards Rendezvous peak. During the winter Peter Fahringer was up here and activated both of these peaks in one afternoon.
Good view of the approach, trailhead, and partial view of the saddle between the two main peaks here.