November 21st, 1999 - Mt Evans Expedition #2, Colorado
This was our second attempt to make it to the top of Mt. Evans, to the University of Denver's astronomical observatory.
We had a larger turnout this time than last.
Bob Ragain and Colleen Ragain in his 404.1 Radio truck "HamMog",
Fred Reim and Judy Gardner in their 404.1 Radio truck,
Kent Drummond in his hard top 404.1 with Swiss bed, and
Ron DePugh and Cassidy in the 404.1 VLF
We transported Dr. Bob Stencel, (head of the DU Astronomy Dept), Chris Cudlip (astronomy major) and Colby Jurgenson (astronomy grad student).
The Unimogs met up at the gate to the Mt. Evans road. The road is usually closed after Labor Day, but Dr. Stencel has access anytime.
On the way up the road, we approach Summit Lake. There is still evidence
of the high-country snows, but there's been some melting since our last run up the mountain.
The snow levels were much less this time.
The Unimogs in convoy.
Here, you can see how exposed this road is.
On the way up, we got to see a few herds of mountain goats.
We reached the observatory with no troubles. It was very cold, and the strong winds added
to wind chill factor. I bundled Cassidy up in all of her cold weather gear, and then added
one of my down parkas, too. We made hot chocolate in the observatory. It was so cold,
that water spilled on the table froze within a few minutes.
We did a maintenance check on the fluid levels of the banks of batteries that keep
the observatory going when the solar panels aren't providing power. Since Cassidy was getting
really cold, we fired up a Radio Box heater, and we stuffed her in the box. It was quite a bit
warmer in there.
The view from the top is incredible. We noticed that some storms were headed our way.
Cassidy and I had a previous committment, and needed to leave. Since the scientists wanted
to finish up some work before they left, Kent accompanied me down to the gate, so it could be
locked again. The snow storm was really starting to move in by that time. I had a really hard time
getting the VLF to start, it was turning over just fine, but at that 14,000 foot altitude, it just didn't
want to fire. It finally did start.
As Kent and I headed down the road, I saw another herd of goats.
Kent and Dr. Bob only took 45 minutes to get back to the top of the mountain.
Before Bob, Fred & Kent's Mogs made it off the mountain, the snow storm hit. I guess there
were some exciting moments on the way down, dealing with the icy road.
By the time they made to to the gate at the bottom of the road, it was snowing
hard. Dr. Bob once again invited everyone for pizza at Beau Jo's in Idaho Springs.
There is more information about the observatory at