We will be going to this area this year, and was wondering if any of the SOTA summits there are “tourist day hike” level. This will be a vacation trip, and I will not have any serious gear with me. I’ll take my KX2 if I can activate casually.
On a side note, is the 2m band monitored much in that area? Wondering if an inReach is necessary, or if an HT is enough back up for lack of cell service in an emergency.
Tunnel Mountain VE6/HC-035 is a nice summit over looking Banf. Good trail to the summit.
Perfect, I can get a SOTA and POTA at the same time. Thanks!
I too did Tunnel Mountain. Great views! Decent walk. I did it in winter however.
When you post an alert, be vey specific about time and freq. Some of us hang out on the posted freq’s for just this occasion. On 2 metres, bring someone up on a repeater and announce that you are going to transmit on the output and listen on the input. Voila… legal SOTA contact.
Nice to hear you will be in the Canadian Mountain Parks and plan to do some SOTA.
You don’t mention what time of year you plan to be there. Many people are surprised to find out that the back-country all along the Lake Louise to Jasper highway (Hwy 93) has lots of snow well into July, and if you want to do any of the higher peaks (8,000’+) please expect snow. The valley bottoms, the Front (eastern) ranges will have much less snow and can be accessed earlier.
Tunnel Mountain has been mentioned and is accessible all year, as is Stoney Woman (VE6/HC-034). Indeed, it is easy to do both peaks in one day.
For more of a challenge, consider Fairview (VE6/GS-003) or Mt. St. Piran (VE6/GS-004), but be aware that access to the trailhead is difficult because of the number of people and you will need to check with Parks personnel, as they keep changing the rules.
You asked about 2m coverage. It is very poor. Do not rely on it to activate a mountain, you will probably get only mobile stations driving by on the trans-Canada highway. Where a peak shows activations by 2m, this has been often by prior arrangement, such as S2S contacts.
In Jasper the Sky tram gives access to Whistlers Peak (VE6-EC-001). Note that along Hwy 93, Parker’s Ridge is no longer a valid summit, so there are no easy peaks on Hwy 93 that I am aware of.
K6EL mentioned 2m repeaters. Coverage is not great. There is a repeater on Lake Louise Ski-hill VE6RPC, but VE6HWY is out of commission.
Have a good trip,
GM/ES-073 can be walked to from Banff - Oh wrong Banff
Hey Doug, as Ian has said, I wouldn’t rely on 2m. I took a 2m handie with me to the area in 2018 and I think I managed one contact with a trucker, across the two weeks of hiking, which included heading up lots of SOTA summits. Even near to Vancouver when we returned to Canada a year later, there was nothing happening on 2m FM. I made a single 2m contact from VE7/SL-129 and that was it for a three week holiday.
I’ll take the FT-818 and a couple of HF linked dipoles next time we visit, as there are so many unactivated summits that need visiting…
InReach may be a useful idea. I bought a local SIM for my phone, I can’t recall the network sorry, but it seemed to work well everywhere we travelled. Some of the valleys had iffy coverage, but I think we’d have still been able to call for help in most cases. Bear spray might be worth it - we walked around a corner in one area and, sat on the path literally 5m in front of us was a big black bear eating berries. We were a little surprised, as you can imagine, until a local lady walked up to us and shooed the bear away - not sure that’s standard protocol though
Have fun. Visit Hoodoo Lookout near Banff if you can, it’s a pretty scenic view of the town and mountains from there.
Wow, this is incredible information, thank you all. The plan is for late summer. I took a cursory look at all the mountains that were recommended, and I can see us doing all of them (we hike a lot, 75 miles in a week in Iceland), although probably not activating all of them. My goal is to get one combination SOTA/POTA, anything additional will be gravy.
Late Aug should be good. Post up when it is closer, you may find yourself having a willing SOTA guide for the activation.
I will echo what has been said about Mt. Saint Piran (GS-004) and Fairview Mountain (GS-003). They both offer a big bang for the buck with nice trails to the summit and fantastic views. For something really special, I would suggest Cirque Peak (HC-007) which also has a tourist trail to the summit with spectacular views. Of course there are hundreds of possibilities in the areas you will visit but most require a higher level of commitment than you may be willing to give. Keep us VE6 guys posted, we are keen to make sure you have a good experience.