Article by KX0R on Sep 15 2013 at 19:09

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Thorodin Mountain Secrets by KX0R

W0/SR-052 Tremont Mountain First Activated Sep 14, 2013 Thorodin Mountain is conveniently located north of Gap Road in Golden Gate State Park, west of Golden, Colorado. I climbed it from a designated parking spot about ½ mile east of Panorama Point. A fee and pass are required to park in the State Park. For this trip you need a topo map, compass, and good navigation skills. A GPS is helpful. The hike is moderately strenuous, but it’s only about 1.3 miles to the summit. The route appears to be an off-trail bushwhack trip about 1100 vertical feet all the way up. However, there’s an old abandoned logging road and a route marked with cairns that leads right to the top. From the parking spot, walk west about 500 feet to the highest spot along Gap road, at 9440 feet, and head north into the woods. You may find a short section of new trail – head north on this unmarked route, but veer right, northeast, as soon as that trail starts to head northwest and down. You will soon intersect the old logging road shown on the USGS 7.5 minute Tungsten quadrangle map. Climb northeast on this unmarked, un-maintained trail; where the old road heads east, resist the temptation to head toward the summit. Stay on the road until it ends at about 9840 feet. Near the end of the old road, you should find a cairn marking the start of the cairned route up to the summit. Simply follow the numerous cairns up the logical route that follows the broad steep valley up the south side of Thorodin. There is one section where the cairn builders marked the route up through a slope of large boulders – you may choose to stay slightly east of the cairns on an easier route up the slope until you get past the boulders, and then follow the cairns up from there. Thorodin has several summits. The one marked on the SOTA maps is the southwest summit, marked 10540 on the USGS quad. The middle peak is shown as the summit on Google maps, but that is not what SOTA or USGS has marked. The northeast summit is called Starr Peak, shown at 10511 on the USGS map, and even though it may appear higher, it is not the SOTA summit. There is a radio facility on Starr Peak, and legal access is questionable. The view from prominent Thorodin is awesome. You can see the high Front Range peaks, the area around Central City and Rollinsville, Tremont Mountain to the south, and out over the Plains. This is a really good SOTA peak! There are small trees along the extended summit ridge, and if you bring an antenna pole, you can just stick it in a tree. Even with no pole, the trees are sufficient to support a wire 8-10 feet above the granite ridge-top; there are larger trees close by. I used a 66 foot end-fed wire supported by a Black Widow pole at 18 feet above the ridge, with the west end tied to a tree. I got 25 contacts on 20, plus one on 40M, before I had to shut down because of lightning nearby. The peak has nice coverage of much of the Denver area, and I made good local contacts as far away as Fountain, south of Colorado Springs, as well as short and long skip Q’s. This is surely a great VHF/UHF peak! Needless to say, Thorodin should be avoided if there is any threat of electrical activity. It was nice while I was there, but it may be very windy during the cooler months. There are sheltered spots near the ridge where you could operate if the wind on top is strong. With the easy road access and route up the south side, winter activation on a good day seems practical. If you’re strong and the weather is good, you could activate both Tremont and Thorodin in one day from the same parking spot, for a 10 point day. Because of its easy access from the metro area and great prominence, Thorodin deserves your attention if you want to activate local summits or operate portable radios for any other reason. As long as you have lightweight equipment and can hike directly up a mountain without a switch-backed trail, Thorodin will delight you. George Carey Fuller KX0R