Sometimes you have a day where everything just goes the way it should. The sun shines, the breeze is gentle, the temperatures are pleasant, and the radio gods smile upon you with a bounty of contacts and no SWR issues. This was one of those days.
When I went to activate this peak I was really in the mood for just a simple activation on VHF. There is definitely a time to run HF and weak signal modes, but there is also a time to keep it simple and enjoy yourself without any pressure.
This is the same parking lot as you would take to go to Mt. Gordon Lyon (See other post here). When I hiked MGL I took the trail that goes straight up the center of the valley. One trail which I had not tried was one which goes up the east ridgeline, leading straight to Rendezvous Peak. I decided today was the day.
The gear load-out was light: just snacks, water, a rain layer in case any weather came in, and a light radio setup. I took my Yaesu 817-ND, spare battery, and vertical fan dipole (2 M and 70 cm). My plan was to time the ascent to be on top when the Alaska VHF-Up Group Saturday net was going on. That always makes for an easy way to get a few contacts and bag teh peak.
In the photo of the map above you can see the route I took. Starting out in the center of the map, my route follows the red line that goes down and to the right before making a U-turn and heading up the ridgeline.
This is a popular area and the trail is consistently in good shape. This route could also be done in the winter, but be prepared for avalanche conditions if you come during the solid-water season. At the start the trail is pretty level and you pass through some dense brush, Beware of bears and moose when in this area. I did not run into either, but when I started gaining some altitude I did see a moose on the opposite side of the valley going up and over. Moose are tasty, but they are also mean.
Immediately after doing the U-turn mentioned above the trail goes up. As in, straight up. No warm up, no giddy up, no easy up. Just a kind of “assume the position because this is going to hurt” kind of straight up the side of the peak.
Once you get through the straight-up section you come out on the ridgeline, and the views are completely worth the trouble to get there. Looking south you can see into Anchorage and Cook Inlet. Looking north you can see in to the Susitna Valley, and even spot Denali if the weather allows. To get to the peak you just follow the trail along the ridgeline.
The ridgeline itself makes for great walking. You gain some elevation as you go, but the incline is gradual and involves enough ups and downs that you don’t suffer any for the height you gain.
This peak and its brother, Mt. Gordon Lyon, make up the head of Arctic Valley. However, the trail up to Rendezvous (this trail) would also provide an excellent jumping off point for venturing further into the Chugach Mountains. The image above is looking east, and there are a number of SOTA peaks visible. A future trip will be to retrace this route to the spot where I took this image, and then venture further east into the mountains.
By the time you are about ready for a break you have reached the peak, and it is time to set up. After a quick snack, drink, and a few minutes to set up I was on the air for the net. 2 meter contacts to all of Anchorage are possible, as well as to better-equipped stations on the Kenai Peninsula. You can reach a decent portion of Wasilla and the Mat-su from here, but the mountains on the other side of Eagle River do interfere a bit.
After the conclusion of the net I packed up and headed home. However, if you were so inclined you could get an easy two-fer out of this route. The image above is a view of Mt Gordon Lyon, as seen from Rendezvous. The saddle is a decent walk, but once you have taken the effort to get this far you may as well do both peaks. After activating MGL you would simply take the trail down the valley to get home, making a nice loop like. For me though, I had already activated MGL, so it was time to go back the way I came.
Sometimes simple is nice.