2014. március 15.

Predeal mountains - continued

Last time was well half a disaster with depleting the batteries, so now with every battery fully charged it was time to visit the other two summits in the Predeal mountains.
First target was YO/EC-247, the closer one when going from Rosenau to Predeal. The path starts at the last serpentine before Pârâul Rece, with an unmarked forest road which goes up to the saddle between YO/EC-247 and 252 (activated last time) and continues towards 247. The forest road is closed by a barrier at the entry from the national road, but hiking past it is not a problem. Soon after passing the barrier a large pasture opens with nice view of YO/EC-011:
A view from behind of YO/EC-011
and also the YO/EC-247 ahead of us:
YO/EC-247 ahead
The pasture turns soon back into forest, however large clearings are still around the road with the spring already being manifested:
Springtime beauty
After reaching the col another great panorama opens to the south with the Bucegi plateau dominating the horizon:
Bucegi mountains
Bucșoiu (YO/MC-008) to the left

After the col the the road turns towards the summit, but before reaching the summit however the road takes another right turn, leaving the last portion of the ascent a direct through the forest one. I also made a mistake to take the straight away approach and had some very thick bush to fight through, however on the way down I found a much cleaner way along the ridge (which I also marked on the gps track below).
The summit is also thick woods, just enough room for the vertical antenna, but at least the summit stone offers a good place to sit on. After a good hour of operating packed together and went on towards the next summit. On the way back down, at the pasture it can also be glimpsed towards east:
YO/EC-241 in the distant
The hike to the YO/EC-247 was a longer one, it took almost 2 hours for the 5km hike (especially the last part in the bush and also coming back down along the ridge to avoid the bush) so it was kinda late so I decided to approach the summit from the other side, starting out from Predeal. This time fortunately on very good marked trail which goes from Predeal through the summit and going down to Pârâul Rece. It can also be hiked from the latter one, but is a longer trail, and already being late I wanted better of staying longer on summit activating than hiking.
The path is marked with blue cross, and starts right at the DN1 in Predeal first following the road which takes to Trei Brazi resort (it is well marked on the lampposts). After exiting Predeal the trail breaks off the paved road and climbs up to the ridge. The hiking trail starts near a table warning about the bears in the area:
Start of the blue cross trail
The bear threat should be taken seriously in this parts, as although they do avoid human contact, but they actually like to prey on goats, mountain goats that is. Fortunately I'm not there yet, and unfortunately the trail has too much motorcycle traffic, so no encounters for me this time. The trail is very good and easy hike:
Well marked trail to Leányka-havas
so about 40 minutes of walking I was up on the summit, which is actually a crossing road of three blue cross marked trails (the third one goes down to Trei Brazi), but the proper summit is not really marked, you just get some tables showing the directions and the hiking times:
On the summit
Although there is large clear spot at the crossroads, I wouldn't recommend rising the antenna right there, as there are too many riders passing by (with quite speed) and they would definitely bring down any antennas or guy lines spreading across the trail. So I operated a few steps into the woods not interfering with anyone (indeed while I was activating a few motorcycles passed by)
Shack on YO/EC-241
The decision to go from Predeal proved to be a wise one, getting down back to car just before sunset. This means that a three summit activation of YO/EC-252, 247 and 241 is only feasible in the summer with longer days to have enough time also for activating. (personal note: I do like to stay on activation as long as possible and work every chaser looking for me, instead of doing a 10 minute 4 contact run to accumulate many summits a day).
Finally here is the tracks I hiked:
Tracks to YO/EC-247 (red) and YO/EC-241 (blue)

2014. március 1.

Predeal mountains

A nice multi-activation area close to Brassó can be found in the Predeál mountains where 3 qualifying summits in close proximity waits for the adventurous SOTAer: YO/EC-247, YO/EC-252 and YO/EC-241. They also appear being doable in one day (well in summer day anyway), and although it is still late winter with pretty short days, I targeted these on this weekend.
Best approach is by the 73A road connecting Rozsnyó (Rosenau, Râșnov) with Predeal, where a small mountain resort Hidegpatak (Pârâul Rece) situated right at the col offers a good starting point to all 3 summits.
I was of course beginning with the closest summit, YO/EC-252, Piatra Arsă, which is right next to the resort and also has a quite good forest road up to near the summit. Actually half of the road is also paved and leads to the Forrest Administration's hut, so it might be doable up until there by car, but I think you might need a special permit to access this road by car, at least this is what the panel at the entry of the road suggests:
The starting point of the forrest road
This road is the easiest approach as it gently ascends along the ridge up to the hut, so it is an easy walk, but starting from well over the exit from Pârâul Rece towards Predeal, some can find it a bit too long away, for those there is a shortcut directly from the center of the resort, pretty much in the middle of the forrest up to the hut, from there the normal road can be taken. I also took the latter approach and stopped right at the col, which can also offer some nice panorama towards north with the Schuler (YO/EC-011) in the background:
Panorama from Pârâul Rece
Either way, not far from the Forrest Administration's place there is a logging road splitting out from the paved road mentioned earlier, which takes up to the close vicinity of the summit, with about 50m left cut through the forest up to the summit. Which is well pretty much the same full of tree (one large one right at the summit), except for the other side which is a big ravine. Not too much space for an antenna either, just enough to put up the vertical and guy it to the nearby trees. Here's a game of spot the antenna:
The summit of YO/EC-252
On the other hand, some rocks on the summit form actually a quite nice shack, albeit still a little cold this time of the year:
Shack on YO/EC-252
It was quite nice pileup in the morning, with several s2s, so time was flying by very rapidly, and I only noticed this, when to my great surprise (and of course annoyance), the radio went silent, as it turned out to my great embarrassment the battery went flat (both the LiION and the internal ones) so that was it for the activation, and also for the rest of the day, as without batteries it wasn't going to be a next summit.
So that was it for today, but at least I could check out the tracks to the summit, so I can give you two possible approaches as I mentioned before:
Track to the summit YO/EC-252 from the 73A road (blue the forrest road, yellow the shortcut)