SOTA Summit: W6/ND-378, Sheep Mountain
Trail: None – cross country
Hike: Easy ~ 1.8 miles round trip
Elevation gain: 650′ (11,847′ to 12,502′)
Self Spot: Used inReach satellite
2-meter FM: Yes – see note*
My son Nick described Sheep Mountain as “like a moonscape”.
Sheep Mountain holds the distinction of being classified as a Northern Desert peak, despite its being in a sea of White Mountain peaks. Not one to quibble, I was happy to add it to our plan for the day, given its 3 point bonus for activating a desert peak during the “hot” summer months.
If you are interested in Sheep Mountain or any of the other peaks back in the White Mountains, you’ll need to know that most of these are accessed via a 16-mile dirt road that winds up towards the Barcroft Station. This is a remote high altitude area, and as the image above demonstrates, they really try to warn you to be prepared, because it will be a while before you can get help if needed. The road is in good shape and I never needed my 4×4, but high clearance is a plus. We saw only a handful of other vehicles the whole day.
Sheep Mountain, along with a good number of the other peaks in the area, can be accessed with short hikes directly from the road. Most work out to under 2-miles round trip. None of the peaks have trails to the summit. They are all cross country hikes straight up the side. The only challenge is the altitude; our Sheep Mountain hike started at ~11,800′ and went up to 12,502′. You’ll notice from our GPX file that we hit Limestone Peak on the way towards Sheep. Limestone has a register and made for a nice peak bag add-on.
This was part of a day long SOTA adventure in the Whites including: Sheep Mountain W6/ND-378, Campito Mountain W6/WH-004, Peak 10940′ W6/WH-008, and Clem Nelson Peak W6/WH-007. We really enjoyed the area, and look forward to returning soon to bag White Mountain (14,252′)!
Thank you to all the chasers who helped to make this a successful SOTA activation.
In fact, today I just received a QSL card from Bob “W7WOW”, who helped us on both Sheep and Campito while in the Whites. Thanks Bob!
*2-Meter Note: With 2-meters you always run the risk of bad timing, but I am pretty confident that this peak along with most others in the White Mountains can be successfully activated using 2-meters with a bit of planning. I found chasers every time with a simple CQ. For 2-meters only I’d bring a j-pole or yagi antenna and have the info on local repeaters to find chasers who can QSY to simplex for the contact. Having done Mt. Whitney last year using 2-meters I found that the same repeaters apply in this area.
(Note on photos: I am not a photography hobbyist, I simply point and shoot when I see something I want to remember. I like trip reports with lots of photos to give you an idea of trail conditions, features, points of interest, terrain etc.)