Leg Benchmark W7Y/EW-017 Activation - An Alternative Route From the West
Pole Mountain From My Operating Position
Summit Trip Summary
Distance: ~ 2.6 mi one way
Elevation Gain: ~500 feet
Time: ~ 1.25 hours one way
Route: Headquarters trail 791 to Summit Loops trail 796 to Summit Ascent
Access: Summit Trailhead at Happy Jack Road Exit 323 I80 41.2359, -105.42927
Parking: Several spots at Trailhead
Rig: MTR3b LCD
Bands/Modes: 20 mtr - CW, 30 mtr - CW, 40 mtr - CW
Antenna: Trapped 20/30/40 mtr EFHW
Antenna Support: Trees and bushes for mast support
Cell Service: Very Good (Verizon)
RF Noise: Quiet
A previous description of this summit suggested taking Happy Jack Road from the outskirts of Cheyenne to a trailhead south and east of the summit. An alternative route is to take I80 to exit 323 which is a rest stop and the Lincoln Memorial Monument (not the one in Washington DC). This marks the highest spot on the Lincoln Highway, now designated I80.
Click on this link for GPX file
Getting to the Summit
The hike starts at the Summit Trailhead parking lot which is just past the rest stop on Happy Jack Road. Happy Jack Road is a gravel road that was well maintained to the trailhead. There is a $5 fee which I did not mind paying for a convenient trailhead with a toilet.
From the trailhead take Headquarters (trail 791) for about a third of a mile until it intersects with Summit Loops (trail 796). The intersection is well marked, proceed east on Summit Loops for a couple miles. Summit Loops is a gently ascending trail with shade in some spots and wildflowers in other spots. Follow Summit Loops until you arrive at an intersection of a couple trails at 41.23723, -105.39929 . This is on a saddle with a trail circle and a pile of rocks.
This is where you start your accent to the summit in a southeasterly direction. There is no trail that you can follow, just a zig zagging bushwack through downed trees. I included both my ascent and decent tracks in the GPX file, the correct route is probably a combination. The ascent is not steep. As you approach the summit you will come upon a small boulder field that is easy to traverse towards the summit.
When you get past the boulders you are not on the summit, you have to continue southeasterly. After a small descent you will come across the summit that is just higher than where you first come up from the boulder field. On the summit you will find more than one summit marker including one for Pole Mountain which is an adjacent peak.
On the Summit
The summit is long and narrow with a long AZ. Likely you will be the only one on the summit, not too many people come to this summit since there is no trail. I set up just past the summit in a nice area with small and large trees and bushes to set up your mast and antenna. I found a small tree for my mast and used a dead tree for the other end of the antenna. There are several dead trees that crows like to perch and watch you from.
Simply return the way you came back to the trailhead. There are many other trails if you feel like more hiking before returning to the trailhead.