September 10, 2017

Schynige Platte

Last edited: 13.09.2017

View from Schynige Platte (photo by PA7MDJ)
This summer, I was up at the Schynige Platte in the Berner Oberland region of Switzerland. We took the mountain cog-railway up from Wilderswil to the nostalgic Schynige Platte alpine railway station at 1967 m a.s.l. The view from the Schynige Platte is breathtaking, with the famous majestic, 4 km high trio Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau towering in the distance. But especially to the SOTA chaser / activator there's also another attraction drawing the attention; the Gumihorn. With 2099 m a.s.l., the Gumihorn is the highest peak of the Schynige Platte. It's also SOTA summit HB/BE-134. But the peak is difficult to climb and is only for the experienced mountaineer. In the past there have been some SOTA activations, but most were invalid, as it turned out afterwards that the activators might have operated close to the actual SOTA activation zone (a maximum of 25 m vertical from the actual summit), but not from within, the zone being not so easy to reach without some serious belayed climbing.

The Schynige Platte railway station (photo by PA7MDJ)
Some SOTA activations are just more epic than others. And one of the more epic ones definitely was the activation of the Gumihorn HB/BE-134 on September 8th, 2017 by Manuel HB9DQM, Matt HB9FVF, and Clemens HB9EWO. Unfortunately I was at work and had to miss the activation, but still I really felt the urge to do this blog entry about it.

The Gumihorn SOTA HB/BE-134 (source)
The three OM took up the challenge to ascend the extremely steep southeastern grass slope, and to climb the last 25 metres of vertical rock face to get to the actual summit of the Gumihorn. And with succes; signing HB9SOTA, they did a valid activation from the summit, and despite bad HF propagation conditions made a total of 56 QSO's (including 11 on VHF).

Matt HB9FVF leading the way to the Gumihorn summit (source)
There's one other activation remaining in the SOTA database, dating back to 2010, done from the peak's southern grass flank, but height measurements taken by the September 8 SOTA climbing party show this may well have been a couple of metres short to be within the SOTA activation zone. It seems the only way to do a valid activation of the Gumihorn is to climb the vertical rock face to the top.

The SOTA climbing party at the summit found a cairn with a summit book from 1970. The book only has a few entries per year, and only one in 2016, and one in 2017, again showing that the Gumihorn is not an easy climb and is rarely visited.

The summit book (source)
Congratulations to HB9DQM, HB9FVF, and HB9EWO for the excellent achievement, both in SOTA and mountaineering!

Succesful activation from the summit by HB9SOTA on September 8th, 2017
The full activation report can be found here on the SOTA Reflector.

Addendum 13.09.2017
A nice slide show / video of the September 8 activation, can be found here on YouTube

The last remaining activation of the Gumihorn, the one of 2010, recently has also been withdrawn from the SOTA database by the activator, as the new height measurements have shown that it most probably was done from outside the SOTA activation zone.

1 comment:

  1. dear Michael
    thank you very much for this report. pity you could not work us. It was a very nice activation. We look forward for other sepcial activations.
    vy 73 de Matt HB9FVF