Failed Activations are still fun! – W6/NS-062 – Red Lake Peak

My graduate lab took a group retreat to the South Lake Tahoe area and the festivities included snowshoeing. We didn’t have a destination in mind, so I suggested why not go up a nearby peak and bring the radio along? We ended up at Carson Pass where we had easy access to Red Lake Peak (10063 feet!), which has the distinction of being the subject of the first recorded ascent of a peak in the Sierras. The ever-present Lt. John C. Fremont was involved, and from the summit he first spotted Lake Tahoe.

Our expedition was ultimately not so successful. It was relatively easy snowshoeing up the first 2000 feet, after which four of us broke off from the main group to take a stab at the remaining 1000 feet. After about 500 more feet of climing, we reached a lower summit. Up here winds were over 40 mph, which made the final summit approach along an exposed ridge much less appealing. On top of that, the prospect of eventually putting up a fiberglass mast without it sailing away was daunting. We decided to huddle behind a boulder to escape the winds, eat a few Nilla wafers, and then mosey on back.

Lessons learned:

  • Snowshoes are amazing!
  • Wind is… a force of nature
  • John C. Fremont’s been everywhere, man

We’ll have to return to conquer this peak another time. 3/4 of the successful SOTA activations were done during the summertime, so a change in timing may make things easier.

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