Cordova - Valdez, the old road.

Discussion in 'Alaska' started by crashmaster, Apr 4, 2014.

  1. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Anyone know if this old road/RR grade is at all passable, or impossible? Would I need a raft, a winch, and a chain saw? :lol3 Was thinking of giving it a shot on the WR this summer if its even feasible, but its probably not I'm guessing.
    #1
  2. Andrewmc

    Andrewmc Been here awhile

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    No bridge over a very, very large river in a couple of places. Might be almost doable with an actual dirt bike and some raft building skills, but would not be even close to easy, if even possible. Bring a Spot tracker.
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  3. Tom S

    Tom S Can I ride it?

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    #3
  4. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Thanks for the link. Last summer would have been the time to try it for sure. Sounds like it could be multi-summer, miserable and fun adventure. Would for sure involve lots of logistics, gear/fuel caches.

    I've got an idea for a minimalist raft that would float a person and a dirt bike, but its a little sketchy and I haven't tried it out yet. :lol3

    I'll try to borrow and airplane and fly it and see if its even possible.
    #4
  5. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Brownie

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    This summer is supposedly going to be dry and hot.
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  6. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    That means that it will start raining next week and won't stop until it turns to snow in October. :rofl
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  7. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Brownie

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    Wait you forgot snow in July!
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  8. Full Power

    Full Power Long timer

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    easier passage in winter.
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  9. beamertwin

    beamertwin Paul

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  10. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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  11. tiny-wheel-200

    tiny-wheel-200 Been here awhile

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    I understand its choked with alder and impassible, but i dont know that firsthand.
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  12. Cliff h

    Cliff h [IMG]http://i219.pho

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    As TinyWheel stated, the trail is choked with alders and impassable after awhile. I do have firsthand knowledge of this from 2 or 3 seasons ago. Pics from along the trail:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #12
  13. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    Thanks for the pics. Looks like fun, well until you get to a 10 mile long stretch of alders of course. :lol3
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  14. Tim McKittrick

    Tim McKittrick Long timer

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    From the Cordova side you can not even get to the Million Dollar bridge anymore. The road was washed out a few summers ago and DOT evidently has no plans to repair it.

    When you could get to the bridge you could only get about a half mile past it before you were confronted with a raging water crossing- one that I would be hesitant to cross with a good skiff.
    #14
  15. crashmaster

    crashmaster ow, my balls!

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    What about a home made pack raft? :rofl
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  16. Tom S

    Tom S Can I ride it?

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    [​IMG]
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  17. ThatGuy

    ThatGuy Brownie

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    It can be our own Darien Gap! :1drink
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  18. KHuddy

    KHuddy Big Sky Country

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    From the Milepost:

    DOT&PF, March 28, 2012: The Alaska Dept. of Transportation & Public Facilities reminds residents and visitors in the Cordova area that the Copper River Highway remains closed indefinitely at Mile 36 due to safety concerns at Bridge No. 339. This closure will remain in effect until the bridge is replaced, which is estimated to be several years away. DOT&PF closed Bridge No. 339 in August of 2011. The bridge is one of 11 bridges crossing the Copper River Delta. Naturally occurring changes to the water flow between channels across the delta led to a dramatic increase in the amount of water running under the bridge. Due to the increased amount of water, 50 feet of "scour," or erosion, was observed at the bridge in 2011. The scour lowered the channel bottom and compromised the bridge structure.. [See Mile 36 entry for more details.].

    The Copper River Highway begins where the Ferry Terminal road intersects with Orca Road and leads 48.6 miles northeast from Cordova across Million Dollar Bridge at the Copper River. This is a good gravel road with several U.S. Forest Service hiking trails and interpretive stops. Stop at the USFS office in Cordova for current road/trail conditions. The highway is not maintained in winter beyond Mile 12.4. Snow may prevent access to many points along the highway well into spring. The Copper River Highway was designated a Scenic Byway in May 2011.
    #18
  19. Rackemcrackem

    Rackemcrackem Unsafe at any speed

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    The current in the Copper River at Mile 36 is often in the range of 8-10 knots and the channel is at least 300 yards wide. It's a big, mean river and I don't think a packraft is gonna make it across there! :rofl

    During the past couple of summers, the Cordova-based owner of Orca Adventures Lodge has occasionally been running passengers from the Mile 36 river channel in an approximately 30' aluminum bowpicker converted to a landing craft. He runs several miles upriver to the Million Dollar Bridge area. The price of admission is steep, approaching the neighborhood of the fare for a small plane charter.

    Late in the summer of 2009, the tributary less than a mile upriver from the Million Dollar Bridge was essentially dry and I rode across on my TW200. Sometimes it's a dry wash, sometimes a raging torrent. I didn't explore beyond, though, as the alders were very thick. I've been told that a trail was brushed through the alders for several miles since that time. Water flow at any tributary or in the main river channels is highly variable.

    I think the strategy for passage along the lower sections of the old railbed would involve a lot of brush removal and many adventures of an amphibious nature. The upper sections would likely include spelunking through tunnels and rock climbing around/over trestle abutments, cliffs and blocked tunnels, in addition to periodic deep (and probably swift) water navigation.

    Sounds like the perfect adventure for someone who is thick of wallet, strong of back and weak of mind. Please report back after a few months and tell us how it went! :lol3
    #19
  20. beezerjuice

    beezerjuice Adventurer

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    For quite some time, I have been fascinated by this possibility. I rode from Cordova to the Million Dollar Bridge in 1985 on a new R80. Then in 2003, I rode from Chitina to Kennicott on a DR 650. On the '85 trip, we rode past the Million Dollar Bridge maybe 2 miles. Trestle was long gone at at an impassable river which others have noted--no way to go further.
    #20