Stay At Home

Here in W6 we are in the terrible situation of having a great surge in COVID-19 infections; a great surge in hospitalizations; a resulting great limitation on the number of ICU beds. Put together this has resulted in a dreadfully sad increase in the number of deaths.

It is tempting to travel to SOTA summits on the basis that on the trails and at the summits we will be socially isolated and getting the exercise that is so good for our mental and physical health.

However, consider the possibility that while traveling you have the unintended accident with your vehicle; or that you slip and break an ankle; or that while driving you need to replenish your gasoline; or any number of other untoward events that could bring you into unintended contacts with others.

It may be “legal” to activate; but I doubt that it is prudent or wise.

It is time to stay home - the summits will remain after the current misfortunes have resolved - we all will have the opportunity to participate in future activations if we are prudent and wise now.

I want to activate, but I shall stay home. Please stay home and take this time to plan for the future.


Then again, you are statistically more likely to require the emergency services for an accident in your own home than you are on the hills.

It is up to each individual to assess their own situation and make their own decision within the laws and guidelines that exist at their location at the time.


Here in Southern California we are seeing our hospitals with no more ICU beds and they are preparing for rationed care. In other words - no efforts to save those they deem too far gone. The number of activations is down compared to a month or so ago as well.

Yes, there are risks in ascending a summit escpecially as we enter the winter season. This is where individual judgment comes in, knowing one’s capabilities vs the challenge. As pointed out, accidents still happen whether in SOTA or general life. Personally, I think the greatest risk in SOTA is a brand new ham, who is not a hiker, will take their brand new HT up one of our local mountains to try it out and in their anxiety … oops, I fell and can’t get up.

As to going up a summit myself? Nope, I am a gimp to begin with so why take the risk. For some of the local SOTA acitvators I know - GO FOR IT. Be careful and I hope to give you points and wish you a safe descent.

Howard KE6MAK

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Hello Joseph,

You may not understand correctly California stay-at-home order. Local government encourages hiking and other appropriate physical activity to keep mental and physical health in shape. This is the reason why all national parks in California are open.


The California stay at home order is clear. Previous orders encouraged hiking for exercise. The current one recommends walks close to home, nothing else.

All individuals living in the State of California are currently ordered to stay home or at their place of residence, except for permitted work, local shopping or other permitted errands, or as otherwise authorized (including in the Questions and Answers below).

In the Q&A, this is part of the answer to " Can I visit State Parks? What outdoor spaces are open?"

Californians should not travel significant distances for pleasure or recreation and should stay close to home. […] You can walk, run, hike and bike in your local neighborhoods as long as they continue to practice physical distancing of 6 feet. This means avoiding crowded trails and parking lots.

For the question “Are there travel restrictions within California?”

To prevent further spread of COVID-19, Californians should not travel significant distances and should stay close to home as much as possible. See the California Department of Public Health’s Travel Advisory for more info. Stay in your county if you can. Don’t drive more than 2-3 hours.



Is it?

It seems to change often and not exactly easy to keep up with. I agree with Oleh in that I thought hiking was called out as an OK thing to do, just not between 10pm and 5am.

Here is south Orange County (the US’s 6th most heavily populated county) it appears that compliance is a very spotty affair. I see non chain restaurants re-opening patio dinning (a no no under the current orders) and attracting crowds of maskless patrons.

It appears that Gavin Newsom, California’s Governor doesn’t understand his own rules either as he thought going to one of the most expensive and swankiest indoor restaurants in Cal with hordes of others was all above board.



I quoted the December 3 public health order. If previous orders allowed something different, that doesn’t change what this one requires. If people don’t obey the orders, that also doesn’t change what this one requires.

What is not clear about the parts I quoted or the page I linked?

“They do it in Orange County” is also not a good recommendation for how to defeat coronavirus.



I think that the actual decision anyone of us takes within what is legally allowed does not matter so much. What matters is making sensible decisions that are based on facts and considerations, and science. The biggest risk in these challenging times are people who do not consider the consequences of their behavior on others and themselves.

Personally, I think that solo mountaineering for SOTA is an acceptable risk, both in terms of the impact on others and myself. One would probably stay off the limits in order to reduce the risk of needing a hospital bed, minimize fuel stops, be completely self-supplied during the journey and the hike, and avoid crowded places and trails.

May you all and your beloved ones stay healthy throughout the coming months!

73 de Martin, DK3IT

Edit: I am speaking from a European perspective, where outdoor sports is still subject to few restrictions in many countries. If the public order is as clear as it seems to be in your area, there is of course nothing to debate.

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From a California government page…

While the Regional Stay at Home Order is asking Californians to stay home as much as possible and for certain sectors to close, the state recognizes that outdoor activity is critical for mental health and physical health. As such, we welcome you to recreate in the outdoors provided that you stay local, plan ahead to find out what is open, wear a face covering, practice physical distancing and avoid gatherings with people outside the immediate household.

I agree that OC residents eating out is a rather bizarre behavior. However the Governor isn’t exactly setting a good example.

Confusing mandates and weak leadership of all political stripes will be one aspect of 2020 hopefully we don’t see in 2021.


California ski areas are open too.

Though my knees can’t take skiing anymore. I just hike these days.
73 Hal N6JZt


Always act as if you tested positive and are terribly contagious - and the person standing across from you is a high-risk individual.

73 Armin


Mountain High ski area may be open but don’t even think about having an accident on the ski slopes that needs prompt medical attention because the nearest hospitals are in “internal disaster mode.”


By the way has anybody seen cloth face masks with SOTA logo? I saw some of those somewhere with ARRL logo.

73, Jaakko ac1bb/oh7bf


KCRA Sacramento TV news station did a spot on the ski areas being “open for business” up in the Lake Tahoe area. Person interviewed stated “business is good” with all the bay area peeps coming up to ski - and everything was AOK with them as the Gov had authorized skiing ?? Hotels in the South Lake Tahoe area were at full capacity even though they are to be opened only for “essential workers/travel”! The Fracebook page for Lassen Nat’l Park is inviting all to come up for some excellent snowshoeing as they received 2 to 4 feet of snow on this last storm! In fact, the southwest campground is open for snow camping. I work in and out of Reno, NV., almost daily - I guess the hundreds of CA license plates I see over there just didn’t get the work ;-( Later, Todd KH2TJ

Whoops - last word should have been WORD - not work! Me bad… :wink:

And I didn’t mention all the snow machines that were out and about in Plumas county this past weekend. And I’m sure the Truckee/Tahoe area was full of snowmobilers as well…

Would hate to bust my knee up there

I’m thinking of going to China to activate peaks. Their death rate is 1000x lower than the USA, UK, Spain and many other places. Go figure…;-).

73, Brad


The ski resorts are open, however limited to 25% capacity, and you have to reserve your spot on the mountain. no reservation, no skiing.

Most of those CA plates you are seeing in Reno are folks who have moved from the Bay to Reno…