The Most Work You Ever Did Not To Activate a Summit?

So? What’s your biggest tale of utter futility? Your biggest Sisyphean boulder?

I just got back from carrying 38 pounds of gear 35.2 miles and up 7,582’ of elevation gain not to activate Mount Andrea Lawrence (W6/SS-157 - 12,245’) for the first time.

When we got to Donohue Pass the remnants of hurricane Kay had other ideas in the form of a drowning rain and lightning. We had a very wet evening furiously digging canals to keep the water from pooling up under our tents. I was reminded of an early mountaineering rule about avoiding low lying spots to set up one’s tent.

We still had a blast. It’s funny how we spend so much time, physical effort and money to endure such abject misery. But, ah, does it pay off on those ecstatic moments of pure, unadulterated, fresh mountain air bliss.



Nice PIX!


Well, at least you had a nice(?) outing!. Nice scenery…
Better than sitting around the house watching soap operas.


ooohhh that photo is bliss. I’d walk, more than a few kms to take that one! not sure about your extreme walk, well done and commiserations on not getting to the activation itself. Chalk up one to experience.

73 Andrew VK1DA/2DA


I once climbed most of the way up Helvellyn in the Lake District with my yaesu 857 and battery to have a hypoglycaemic (hypo) diabetic attack just before the summit and my wife had to get me back down.
I was newly diagnosed and didn’t take into account the effect on sugar levels climbing would have.
A lot older and wiser later I never go anywhere without glucose tablets.


Andrew, we had a fantastic time and it was worth every step, even the agonizing ones where I couldn’t wait to set that loathsome pack down. After a few hours of hauling that thing I start to feel like a stupid beast of burden. But, then plunge my body into the bracing waters of a lake like Garnet Lake in that picture and crystalline sharp mental function is restored; and, lo, I find myself in an alpine wonderland that could not be attained in any other way.

These two guys have been mountaineering buddies of mine for 50 years. That’s Thousand Island Lake with Mt. Banner in the background:


Craig, Wow, what a wake up call.

Perhaps the single most important thing of learned about mountaineering is a willingness to turn around. When the lightning starts striking below you, it’s time to go down. As the famous Sierra peakbagger Norman Clyde once sagely said: “The mountains will be here tomorrow. Reckon to be able to say the same about yourself.”


Smart move Roberto. Looks like beautiful country even without the 4 points.


Awesome pics mate.

I wanted to activate Helvellyn not long ago. Set off little bit too late, weather was playing up a bit. I went from Patterdale hotel via Striding Edge. Wind, rain and fog made it a little bit more difficult than what I anticipated, I decided to turn back just before final scramble, about 20 minutes from the summit. Visibility was low and I would have to come back after sunset if I attempted activation. As much as I was prepared, had map, compass, multiple flashlights etc, I didn’t fancy being there in the dark. Returned via Striding Edge too.

This is the summit

And Striding Edge itself

I figured out it’s better to be safe than sorry. That same day another ham was stuck on Great Gabble and MRT had to get him down.

So far this is the only summit that has beaten me, it’s personal now, I’m coming back soon :joy::joy::joy:.


I’m sorry we can’t award bonus points for making eminently sensible decisions like that.

Oh the joys to be hypo-g and not hyper-g like me :slight_smile: Well you know what I mean!



After 3 hour drive and total about 7 hours on the trail I was seriously beating myself up over it. Calmed down a bit during 3 hour drive home :joy::joy::joy:. Tried going out again this week but weather forecasts weren’t looking too good so I’m still waiting for better window.


I admire your discipline Tom. I’ve stumbled down in the dark on too many summits.


I did overstay once, on Kinder Scout in January this year. This is the actual photo of what I could see :joy::joy::joy:.

Thank god I had a flashlight and maps with me :joy:. I took too long cause my spider beam pole sections jammed and I couldn’t get them right, by the time I was packed it was already dark.

If I don’t have to or don’t plant to, I’m not staying up on the mountains at night, but if I mess up again I have means to get back down safely… ish :joy:


Yeah, it’s the drive that gets you. My trip was a car shuttle. We left a car in Mammoth and one in Yosemite. I’m sure it was around 1,000 miles of burning petrol all told. If I had a Star Trek transporter I’d still do the walk because I like to walk, but the drive? ugh.

Oh, and the pack would be transported too. :wink:


Too right, I’m not really a fan of driving nowadays. It’s enough I drive trucks for living so I’m trying to avoid it as much as possible in my spare time :joy:


Nothing like as bad as yours… but in 2015 I was on holiday on the Spanish Mediterranean island of Menorca. I did one easy drive on summit, then tried to do an unactivated 1pt summit - EA6/ME-002. After an hour or so I found myself in impenetrable scrub and spiky trees. I was frustratingly only about 20m vertical below the AZ. Spent 90 minutes trying to find a way though.

@EA2GM finally did it in 2020. No write up though, so I don’t know how it was done.



Living in the chaparral that grows in another Mediterranean climatic zone, I have endured some 5.13 bushwacks. I find that if I can get my face through, the rest of my body can usually follow. :slight_smile:

The biggest worry there, besides lacerations, is that when you can’t see where you are putting your feet, they may inadvertantly discover what my mountain girl friend Kim calls “buzz worms” or Western Diamonback Rattlesnakes. Not to mention those nasty ticks and poison oak. The crazy things we do for fun.


:+1: wonderful expression.


Ho ho… I was thinking the same thing. Fortunately we don’t have so many deadly things in Western Europe. Although there are now Wolves and Brown Bears in some parts! In the UK the biggest danger is getting trampled by cattle!

Yup! Still, I’d be bored otherwise. :rofl: