Tikaboo Peak 17-Apr and Alamo 18-Apr 2012
by Ed Winchester

As one of my colleagues was retiring we thought we'd celebrate with a trip up Tikaboo Peak as it's 20 years since we first climbed. At the tender age of 68, I was wondering if he holds the 'Oldest Person To Climb Tikaboo' award?

This is a quick n dirty report as I haven't reviewed the video or audio yet.

Tikaboo Peak 17-Apr

Easy climb up, compacted snow in parts. Less easy coming down as melting snow made the shale a bit gloopy and less firm. But weather was great.

No unusual aircraft sighted. Callsign of the month is SNAKE, the base UH-60s used GOMER(?)36 and 11 and 2x base F-16s flew after lunch using FIRE61 and FIRE62 callsigns.

However we did have 4 visitors. A pair of very fit male 'Weather Station Inspectors' in the AM, a Sundance AS350 helicopter also AM and a solo female photographer PM.

The fit guys AM stayed only 20mins or so and showed little interest in the Weather Station that they said they were there to check had not been vandalised. Indeed, they said they didn't even know if it worked. They were fit - the more talkative one was ex-Army - and didn't stay long as they said they had to check another station on another mountain. None of the 4 of us took any photos of them at the time; I guess we were a little surprised to see others arrive (I haven't seen anyone else since the Swiss Mountain Bat in 1998) but hadn't considered whether they were who they said or whether the Weather guys actually employ a weather station checking team!

The Sundance helicopter came for a close look then landed behind Badger Mountain on the Alamo side where we couldn't see it. It stayed there roughly an hour max and felt a lot less threatening than the UH-60 visit we had a few years ago.

18-Apr Alamo

Around 0700 SABER1 and EAGLE1 were on the R/T so we thought we'd better scramble out of bed as SABER was the callsign used by the F-117 on our visit 18 months ago.

Whether the callsigns were actually what we were looking at, I'm not sure, but a traditional all blue with white nose cone Su-27 and F-15 were dogfighting over Groom Lake until 0800. The attached photo isn't great but we were happy watching the fight through binoculars and hadn't thought to get the big lenses out. If it was EAGLE1, it joined up with EAGLE2 and 4 and returned to Nellis while the Su-27 descended below the mountain line so presumably landed at Groom Lake.


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