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The big Mt. Kartxela EA2/NV-004

Motivation

For third year in a row, I was spending a couple days camping in northern Navarra, near the Pyrenees. During the year I use to activate summits near my home town, Pamplona, and I rarely have the chance to visit the higher mountains in Navarra as they are far to reach and take longer to climb.

Therefore I wait for my holidays to organize hiking these mountains. This year I planned visiting two new summits for me.

Day 1: Mt. Kartxela, EA2/NV-004

This is the 3rd higher mountain in NV; yes, we don’t have a NV-002, as it was retired and relocated as of EA2/HU-080 (Mt. Ezkaurre, that I visited last year).

Mt. Kartxela is a very impressive mountain located at the Western part of the Pyrenees range.

Activation date: July 20th 2021

Climb

The trail starts in the valley of Belagua, a few kilometers near the border with France.

Drive from the village of Isaba (road NV-137) and park at about 1400 m a.s.l., after km 50, near the abamdoned military mountain barracks.

  • Track length (one way) is 4,5 km, not too long, it seems…
  • Elevation gain: about 580 m.
  • Max. elevation: 1982 m. A pity I can’t get 10 points due to the 18 missing meters, hi!

Just from the start of the trail you see it’s impressive shape:

The track length isn’t very long but if you see the vertical profile you realize that the hard real climb is concentrated since the middle of the track:

I woke up early at 06:30, got my breakfast and drove for half an hour from the camping site at Zuriza. Weather has been very hot the last days and I didn’t want to arrive late in the summit.

The hike took me about two hours, and I arrived in the summit at around 08:00 utc.

See some pictures taken during the ascent, excellent weather & views!

I reached the middle of the track, col of Arrakogoiti (1416m.). From this point the ascent starts, see the remaining route to reach the summit : (hopefully cows were in calm)

As you progress the smooth grassy path changes and you have to sort big rocks:

Once you reach the col of Binbaleta (1680 m) you have new summits at sight, that were hidden until now; in the middle Mt. Barazea EA2/NV-007 and further left Mt. Ori EA2/NV-003:

The summit is not far; you turn Southwest and keep on climbing to reach your target.

From the summit I see now three top SOTA mountains:

Activation

I carried light gear for the activation: LNR MTR-3B, 3 x LiIon 18650 batt, EFHW triband antenna and the VHF handheld Kenwood TH-F7, plus lots of water, sun cream and food… Not very light in the end!

I started running VHF FM with the handheld which produced 4 qso.

Summit is not very big, but there is a flat area enough to deploy the EFHW antenna (a short one coil loaded for 40m) and then I ran on 14-10-7 MHz.

I tried to watch SOTA spots but my smartphone wasn’t worky. The summit is too close with France. Internet wasn’t operative and therefore I couldn’t see any spot today. Nevertheless, when running HF CW the glorious RBN was in charge of producing a self spot and a pile up soon.

I enjoyed the calls I got, many were frequent chasers, others were new to me.

Being spot blinded, I was delighted to get also S2S. I also spend the last minutes on the summit performing a band scan that produced the final ones.

All in all I closed my log with 55 qso, including S2S with Elena EA4DOS/P & Alejandro EA4DON/P, the gentle and very active couple in his summer tour in EA2/HU-076, Andre F5UKL/P, I guess close to mine, Paul SM/DL6FBK/P together with Lars SA4BLM/P, Mikel EA2CW/P, Jaan SM0OEK/P, Matt DL/OE6FEG/P and Paul HB9DST/P.

I was very happy enjoying the pile up from this nice mountain shack I was on:

It is very rewarding to have such activation running the tiny MTR-3B. I was on for 1h 20 minutes and when I recharged the 18650 batteries in the afternoon they just topped with about 500 mAmps. I love such low battery consumption plus the true 5w out I got from this rig!

I packed everything and it again took me 2 hours to arrive to the car. I stopped here and there to drink, eat some food and to take some more pictures on my way back. I saw a nice cloud retained without passing over my path.

I got back to the camping and prepared a good dish of cous cous with eggs, tomato, nuts, tuna and avocado; delicious!

Later I went to the camping bar and was surprised to find a known US Sota activator standing as a beer in the counter!

Tomorrow I will try the second SOTA activation… Now I must rest a bit!

73 de Ignacio

15 Likes

Hi Ignacio, thanks for your interesting activation report and photos.

73 de Geoff vk3sq

Great report, I hope that one day I can accompany you on a climb to one of these summits.
Best 73!!
Javi

Nice report Ignacio!
Beautiful summit indeed. More than earned food afterwards.

Wishing to do it whenever we can Javi!
Always nice to share the walk and chat.
73 Ignacio

1 Like

That is an area I love. I stayed in Camping Zuriza in 2014.

1 Like

Wonderful report and lovely photos, thank you so much Ignacio.

Regards, Mark.

Thanks for the nice picture, exactly the same view I had these days…
Autumn in this area must be really wonderful.
I add a picture of the Alanos range from last July.

Thanks all for the nice comments, 73
Ignacio

2 Likes

Hello Ignatio,

Great photos, I have not yet activated this summit, I have already activated the other three; I am thinking of activating this summit this automn.
It was a pleasure to do both S2S yesterday during my NV-046 and NV-059 activations. I hope to share climbing a NV- or PO- summit or quite simply to drink a beer together.

See you soon

Alain

1 Like

Hi Alain,
I was very happy to work you S2S twice in the last weekend. Tu as fait un bon tour!
Sure we will find a chance to have a beer or a joint activation.
It is great to have an F friend to share the mountains near our common border.
Très heureux d’avoir l’opportunité de rencontrer. Nous chercherons l’occasion.

73 de Ignacio

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