Our annual ski holiday to Mt Hotham was planned for the 2nd week of the July school holidays. However the weather had not been co-operating and there was very little snow by the time we were due to head up the mountain. Hence, the urgency to get to the mountain was not great and I managed to negotiate a side trip to Mt Buffalo on the way up. Mt Buffalo has two SOTA summits (The Hump and The Horn). However, the road to The Horn is closed to vehicles in winter leading to a very long walk. Hence I only planned to do The Hump this trip.
It was around 3:00 by the time we got to the beginning of the track to The Hump. There was some snow around, but most of the track was clear making for easy walking. About half way up I came across a guy and his son walking down. He was carrying a squid pole! Given the lack of places to fish on the top of The Hump, I had to ask whether he had just done a SOTA activation – it was Paul VK3HN. It’s the first time I’ve run into another activator by chance and it was great to put a face to the call sign.
Paul headed home and I finished the climb up and set up the station in an increasingly cold wind. The rest of my family headed quickly down the hill in search of a hot chocolate leaving me to find some chasers. With the wind getting colder, I pulled out the Bothy Bag and set up inside it. It’s amazing the difference a simple shelter makes to warmth.
Despite being late and the 2nd activation for the day for this summit, I had no trouble qualifying it on 40m.
I quickly packed up with rapidly numbing hands and then hurried down the summit as dusk was falling.
Another fun activation and 13 points in the bag.