Ibex Hills Unnamed Peak W6/ND-377

updated 2021-01-02

Activated: 2019-02-19

This was another trip I put together to activate a never-active peak. This one is out in the southern end of Death Valley and is accessed by interstate 10. You could hike it in a day trip if you wanted, but I went out there as part of an overnight trip.

View of the Ibex Hills from the ground
Ibex hills in the background, looking north-west (the one right above my head)

Although not part of Death Valley (the valley itself), this part of the park is just as barren as the rest of the region. This actually makes for easy traveling since you don’t have to contend with trees, brush, water, or . . . anything really. After a good night’s rest I packed up and headed for the peak.

Unnamed peak in the Ibex Hills of Death Valley
Starting to gain some elevation – peak in the distance

You can take just about any route you want to reach the top. I approached via a canyon that runs from the southeast to the northwest. The route is pretty easy with a mix of sand, gravel, and rock surfaces.

Ridgeline approaching the top of a peak
The final ridge to the top made for easy walking and beautiful views
Golden retriever on top of a SOTA peak
Trusty radio dog sledge on the lookout for incoming transmissions

This peak is pretty isolated, so putting it on the air was definitely going to require HF. What surprised me though was that I actually had perfect APRS coverage. I had brought my Kenwood APRS handheld on the possibility that I might be able to self-spot that way if cell coverage was unavailable. However, there were digipeaters above Hesperia that I was picking up perfectly. It goes to show – you never know when you will have coverage on one system or another.

Amateur radio operator portable in Death Valley
The weather was absolutely perfect and the propagation was excellent.

The band conditions were excellent and I was able to make a number of contacts on 40 meter and 20 meters. However, there was one doofus who had his Windows dings and dongs going out over the air.

Dog peeing in Death Valley
Sledge making a pit stop. This canyon took us all the way back down the mountain.

The route going up the hill was pleasant enough, but there was an old mining road that ran below the peak. On the way down I took that route out of the hills.

Dog and 4runner in Death Valley
Returning to camp after another successful SOTA activation

All in all, a very successful activation, a beautiful day, and a good hike.