Ibex Peak W6/ND-361

updated 2021-01-02

Activated: 2017-02-25

Ibex Peak is an isolated mountain in the south end of Death Valley National Park. My previous activation was in the same area, a few miles southwest of this peak. Like most of the peaks in this area, there are no trails to the top. Old roads and one highway cut through the region, but once you are on foot you are deep in the backcountry and on your own.

View of Ibex Peak in Death Valley, CA
View of the peak from the ground. This was an off-trail route.

The closest approach to the mountain was an old mining roads that skirts the mountain on the north side. After parking at the side of the road I packed up and headed off on foot.

Amateur radi ooperator in the desert
Dressed for the desert

There are a few ridgelines that all converge at the peak, but I elected to approach through a large canyon instead. The canyon made for easy walking and allowed me to cover a lot of ground quickly. After the canyon ran out I scrambled up a ridge to cover the last of the elevation.

Just about all of the peaks in this region are far too remote to depend on VHF for the activation. You might be able to pick up four contacts from mobiles passing on the nearest highway, but to even reach them you will likely need a portable yagi. This was going to be an HF activation.

Yaesu 817 ND sitting on a rock
Rocks make nice tables as long as you are careful.

The top of the peak is actually a very large area, and gently rounded. The tricky part was actually finding a place to secure the portable mast. The peak is covered with boulders that range in size from bowling balls to beach balls. After finding one that was big enough to tie the mast to I was in business.

Portable ham radio operator on SOTA peak
The top of the peak was a large, gently-sloped field of small boulders.

I was able to get a self-spot out and the contacts started rolling in. Band conditions were good and I was able to reach up and down the west coast, the midwest, and a few stations on the east coast, albeit weakly.

Looking out towards Dumont Dunes
Looking south-east towards Dumont Dunes.