This was the first SOTA summit hike of 2014 for me. It was also the last summit I’ve activated last year and in fact the last time I aired my KX3, the recorded messages didn’t even need updating (CQ CQ SOTA from VA3SIE/P, Mont Treblant Quebec” :-)
We hit the hiking trail around 8am and we hiked up leisurely up the Johannsen trail. It was a beautiful day, warm and sunny. There was some snow at higher altitudes which made the hike quite challenging – very muddy where the snow had melted, a bit slippery.
The true summit of the Mont Tremblant massif is the Johannsen Peak. At 968m, it’s an 8 point summit (just 32m short of a 10 pointer). The hiking trail (Johannsen Trail) to the summit is a 7km trek at a steady 10% incline. The trail crosses a few streams which have constructed bridges over and a few boggy regions which have also been bridged with planks or branches. The summit at the top is a cleared area with a summit marker. There are tall trees all around the clearing.
Just like past July we chose to hike back along the ridge line of the massif to the top of the ski trails along the Summits Trail. This trail dips down around 100m and then back up to some smaller peaks affording one or two nice view points. There is no view at Johannsen and only one brief view point about of the way up the climb. This trail is 5km in length, dips down to 780m at points but ends up just 50m or so below the elevation of the Johannsen Peak.
By the time we completed all this hiking we chose to ride the cable car back down the mountain to the ski village.
This activation was not without its challenges! I had not brought any phone with me so had no way of self-spotting. I would have to rely on chasers spotting me. The first location I put the antenna was bad, I’m not exactly sure why but the antenna just wouldn’t tune. So I pulled all the wire/string down, re-oriented the antenna in a different direction. I got on the air ~1 hour after my posted activation time.
I only had 60 minutes on the summit before we needed to hustle back along the ridge to meet the gondola which was closing at 4:30pm (we thought). I spent 20 minutes calling CQ on 14.342 with no takers. With only 40 minutes left, I switched over to 40m and located the trans provincial net. I completed a QSO with the net controller VE3SAO, so that’s one of my four required QSOs in the book. I spent another 15 minutes calling CQ again with no results, so I tuned the band and heard a mobile station K8HGY calling CQ. Rich gave me a 3×3 report but that was my second QSO on the books.
I spent the remaining time calling CQ on 40m and 60m but with no takers. As it was time to pack up I tuned over 40m and heard KB1LV in Vermont chatting with KC2DIA in New York. I broke into the conversation and they were kind enough to exchange signal reports with me to complete my four QSOs.
It was a fun day, lovely weather for a hoke, no mosquitoes or blackfly yet and a cool breeze… lovely!
Here are some photos, click to view larger version.