Nevada’s highest, almost a walk in the park (Boundary Peak, W7N/EM-001)

Summit: W7N/EM-001

Activation Date: September 12, 2015

ATT Data Coverage: Very good

ATT Voice coverage: Not sure but presumed to be OK

APRS Coverage: Not sure

Hike stats: 11 miles roundtrip and 4,500′ ascent up to 13,140′, exposed trail and summit.

The original and now rather ludicrous plan was to first activate Montgomery and then Boundary would be a “bonus” on the way down. Jaunting up 5,000 feet to the 13,000 foot region all seems very reasonable when you are sitting at home in your favorite comfy chair. Surely, success on the day is simply a matter of determination and just “grin and bare it”?

Ahead of the day I had a mental check list of items to take. You have to have water but I never realized a 100 oz weighs 6.5 lbs. Then of course you need a rain jacket, a GPS, a headlamp, a snack or two and so the good Boy Scout in me ends up with a 20+ lb pack when you factor in the portable radio station. Uhm, that seems somewhat heavy. Well, its simply a matter of determination!

The dirt road off of Route 6 to Queen’s mine is rutted from rain and despite what some of the web trail guides write this is not usable for a family sedan. Fortunately mine is elsewhere and I’m riding across a piece of historic Nevada in a high clearance 4×4. This area of the White Mountains is famous for wild mustangs and we see evidence of them along the trail. The mine, the horses etc create a real sense of being in the West and I half expect to see John Wayne on the brow of the next hill.

Looking back to start of hike in from Queen Mine
Looking back to start of hike in from Queen’s Mine

The first few miles ramble across scrub covered hills taking you to a saddle at the base of Boundary. You stand in awe of what appears a sheer vertical ascent. No trees, a barren, shrub free mountain that gleams white from the morning light. You try to figure which peak is Boundary, which is Montgomery and wonder what it will be like to set a station up that almost touches the sky.

And so I start the ascent along a scree trail that appears, disappears and reappears with frequent monotony. I slide and lose my footing but thankfully have poles. My pace has dropped from two and half miles per hour to one. At one point the trail is lost entirely and I scramble over boulders cursing under my breadth and begin to realize that Boundary alone is all time will allow.

Looking down to the saddle about 2,500 ft below summit. Another 1,200 ft to it! Trail snakes left to right from saddle to Queen's Mine
Looking down to the saddle about 2,500 ft below summit. Trail snakes left to right from saddle to Queen’s Mine
Boundary highest peak is top left
About 1,200 ft up from the saddle…..Boundary is highest peak is top left

Four and a half hours after starting I’m at the peak. Each and every beautiful view on the way up is dwarfed by the awe inspiring view I see from the top. Almost 360 degrees into Nevada and California.

Views from top
Views from top

Looking at the ridge over to Montgomery I wonder if its madness to attempt. It’s just a scree ridge, no trail, nothing. It’s settled there and is all about Boundary!

Ignore me!! Look at the scree ridge on the left of the picture to Montgomery
Ignore me!! Look at the scree ridge on the left of the picture to Montgomery

My station is up quickly and 40m/20m net more than enough QSOs to activate the peak. I’m reminded this is Nevada’s highest point as the peak is suddenly crowded with two then six and almost fifteen people all crammed on to a tiny summit. I feel bad because my guy wires and radial block easy access to the peak box that everyone wants to access; they are Peak Baggers and want to memorialize their achievement in the log book. Everyone is pretty cool about my “trip wires” and some are curious to know what I am up to. And so the SOTA story is told and I get comments like “cool…”,”….wow, that is dedication to bring a radio station up here..” and I was surprised when a Washington hiker said “you must be doing SOTA”.

Some of the Peak Baggers
Some of the Peak Baggers

An hour passes and I’m packed and ready to descend. Gravity never seems your friend when going down; I slide this way on scree, a solid rock is suddenly a surf board and I’m learning new pivot movements courtesy of my poles but eventfully the steep decent leads to the saddle and a clear feeling the worst is over. Which it is as the remainder of the hike out is easy and mellow.

This was a pretty strenuous undertaking and I’m happy with the outcome. It was fun to activate this peak during the NA SOTA weekend and bag a few peak to peak contacts in addition to some with very constant and reliable chasers.

40m chasers

  • NG6R, W7RV and KE6WYA

20m chasers



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