The Great Dirt Divide on GSPD

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by luv2lean, Jul 30, 2004.

  1. 12ride

    12ride Been here awhile

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    Chuck:
    Yes it was a heck of a challenge. Right after the Lava Mt. Trail # 244 sign there are 2 downhills that the best rider in our group said " darn glad were on the right track because we would not be able to get back up either one of those". He rode down Fleecer ridge and didn't fall doing it.
    12ride.
    #81
  2. lacrestadr

    lacrestadr Been here awhile

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    Chuck/12ride, Are you talking about the lava mountain just south of helena after the frohner meadows turn off? North Fork of Quartz Creek which is where 1878-D1 is??? And then another portion of the trail quite a bit further south just north of wise river and west of Divide, near Fleecer Mountain? On the adv. cycling map both of those route portions are designated as "trail", compared to "forest service gravel". Trying to get as much info as possible before I make the trip. Thanks for any info/insight or even wisdom! :D
    #82
  3. 12ride

    12ride Been here awhile

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    lacrestadr:
    I am talking about the southern portion near Fleecer Mt..
    When we came south to Hwy. 12 north of Helena we did not take the pavement into Helena. Instead we went straight across Hwy. 12 and followed the dirt road to 1 mile before Rimini we turned left and went by Chessman Lake and reconnected with 4009. (oh if you follow this route the turnoff looks like it goes to a nice ranch house on the left- we went by it about 3 miles before we figured it out- there is a sign for Chessman but it faces the other way and we didn't see it). 1878-D1 turns off 4009 toward Fleecer Mt. it then forks right after about 2 miles and that is when the rough stuff begins. When you get to the Lava Mt trail #244 sign you have climbed the worst sections but still have 2 very nasty downhills to negotiate. Then you come out into a large open area and must go to your right front to find the old rail fence that the 2 track goes around and down Fleecer Mt. (called John's hill by the locals). good luck. 12ride.
    #83
  4. Mopti

    Mopti Been here awhile

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    We tried to do the "rough four-wheel-drive track" after 1878-D1 and had to turn back. Alan's crash happened past Beaver Creek Campground towards Jerr Creek. The graded road was mushy with rocks and Alan low-sided to catch a rock with the left valve cover. We left the bike there with my extra passenger seat luggage and put Alan on with me for a two up ride out. Rich thought we could get back to I15 easier buy coutinuing up the road and going left to Fleecer Ridge. With Alan on the back of my GSA I felt frozen on the controls and we made it up the ridge to a faint cut to the left. The Continental Divide route had continued to the right, behind/below us. The left trail "seemed" the best way back. If only we had known! Soon it became a faint two track, little used jeep, hunting trail heading straight down through rocks and roots. I continued two up for as long as I could, as Alan had really hurt his ankle and could only limp. Soon it's "sorry,Alan" we might die if you stay aboard. Jeez it was tough. Probably only lasted 5-6 miles but I was whipped at the bottom. After a while our only choice was to go down. Pat way along, Rich looks at us sheepishly and says this way will be longer than the graved road we rode in on. I was to tired to kill him.
    Never did see Lava Mountain trail #244 sign. Probably got lost before it and missed it. From what you say I would have remembered it.
    #84
  5. r_crabb

    r_crabb Been here awhile

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    I was in the group that had luv2lean, JimC, Skwerl, and the rest. We camped just before the 1878-D1/Lava Mountain Trail portion, at Park lake(?) campground. Very cool campground, BTW. JimC and I dropped our saddlebags at the campsite and scouted forward, as I had done the trip last year, and my riding partner had decided that the Lava Mountain Trail was too steep, rough, and rocky to tackle at the end of the day. JimC and I were on F650GSD's with knobbies (TKC80s and Karoos), and we had stripped off our hard bags. We got to the first really steep downhill fine, though we were in first gear and on the pegs basically the whole way. Upon seeing the first downhill, however, we decided that it would take better riders than us to make it down the hill with bags on, and making it back up, bags or no, would be nearly impossible for any but Scot Harden, Gaston Rahier, or Jimmy Lewis. JimC took a pic or two of the slope, but I haven't yet seen them.

    So how did Fleecer ridge compare in terms of difficulty to this part of the trail?

    Robin
    #85
  6. 12ride

    12ride Been here awhile

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    r crabb:
    Fleecer ridge was really challenging. It was so steep that I shut the Lc4 off and used compression and brakes and essentially walked my bike down it (I am long legged and could straddle the bike). Every time I stopped and then let off the brake the engine would turn over 3 or 4 times. The LC4 640 has pretty good compression so that lets you know how steep it is. Two of us walked the bikes down and two rode them down. One of the riders fell and managed to pick it up and ride it on down. The rider who made it down without falling said that he was concerned that if he fell the bike would roll all the way to the bottom.
    There is a lot of loose rock in the 2 track and it is washed pretty good which makes it even more challenging.
    12ride
    #86
  7. Gizmo

    Gizmo Hermes

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    Thanks for sharing, nice photos and story. One day I will do it as well. From the photos you included the terrain looked pretty easy is this true and would you do this ride two-up?

    #87
  8. SKWERL

    SKWERL Squirrelly Adventurer

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    Dang, after reading all these replies, I'm really disappointed that we didn't get a chance to ride Fleecer Ridge! :eek1

    bryan
    #88
  9. 12ride

    12ride Been here awhile

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    We met this couple at Elkhorn Hot Springs the day after we came down Fleecer. They told us they had a website and one of the riders with me on this trip found it.

    Here is a view from two peddle bike riders who thought they would ride up Fleecer.

    Oh looks like they went around Lava Mt. Trail #244 (not sure but think they would have had to carry up it too.)

    http://topofusion.com/fusion3.61/comments.php?id=169
    12ride
    #89
  10. luv2lean

    luv2lean not lost til out of gas

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    Most of the terrain was easier than I expected. But as discussed above, Fleecer ridge and a few other spots were very difficult. Even with routing around the most difficult spots, I wouldnt ride it 2 up because we couldnt have ridden nearly as fast (or had near as much fun) with that much weight.
    But I like to test my limits on the dirt and never ride 2-up off road.

    On another topic, one of the ride mysteries were the large hand made log contraptions we saw in the high plain fields of montana. These things looked similar to large metal rock sifters used in earth work, but they were made of stripped tree branches. None of the city boys in our group knew what these things were. Anybody know?
    #90
  11. lacrestadr

    lacrestadr Been here awhile

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    They are used to make those large hay stscks!
    #91
  12. lacrestadr

    lacrestadr Been here awhile

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    A couple of weeks ago, just north of Helena on the Divde Route I ran into a couple probably in their late to mid fifties, riding a DRZ650, 2 up. They had started in Eureka Montana and were heading to mexico on this route. They trailored the bike out from their h home in Micigan :nod !
    #92
  13. Gyromaniac

    Gyromaniac Betty Crocker w/ wrenches

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    Yup. They are pretty common in the Big Hole Valley/Divide area of Montana. They're called beaver slides, and they lift up loose hay and pile it for storage. I bet you didn't see baled hay nearby.
    #93
  14. luv2lean

    luv2lean not lost til out of gas

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    Thanks Gyro.
    Big Hole Valley beaver slides - bite my tongue - who da thunk it!
    #94
  15. Dysco

    Dysco Diaper slinger

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    Sweet Jeebus! 1100 feet in 1 mile?? I wouldn't even walk that.
    #95
  16. ScottMorris

    ScottMorris n00b

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    Were you the guys we let into the bathroom, or the group of two we chatted with the previous evening?

    I generally believe I can ride up anything... until I prove to myself otherwise (which is often the case and definitely the case with Fleecer). Downhill on Fleecer would be a nice little challenge, but not so bad.

    We did not go around Lava Mt Trail. It was one of the best sections of the GDMBR. I was able to ride (with Bob trailer) all but the very first steep/bouldered pitch. We ran into another group of moto-guys right at Lava who told us the next 15 miles were nasty like that. I don't think they were following the directions correctly because it got easy very soon.

    Interesting to see so many friendly moto-guys out on the route. If you're riding in the many waterless sections please check with any cyclists to see if they have enough. Things can get desperate at times when you only have your legs to power you.

    I saw there is a page with GPS data and such from someone's trip. I will have to check that out. Mine is in progress (we ride slower, so we put pages together slower too) :

    http://www.topofusion.com/divide
    #96
  17. Wes Weber

    Wes Weber Been here awhile

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    L2L and crew -

    Excellent report, ride, and adventure! It's now on my to-do list. My wife's family lives in MT, and I have always wanted to veture from home (Golden, CO) up there via dirt. Now I just have some more motivation to do so. Great job of linking so many dirt roads. Very, very coooool.

    This looked really familiar, and not in a good way...

    [​IMG]

    On our way down to Ouray my bro Wayne and I crossed the same goo. I remember standing in it to check consistency and slowly sinking past my ankles. Ewww. Glad you made it across!
    #97
  18. rapiti

    rapiti IOR Veteran

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    You might be surprised at how many of us are present (or former) MTBers. Furthermore, I would expect you earned a fair bit of respect from the moto guys regardless if they are pedalers at home. I always did. "You rode your bike up here?!"

    There are also a couple who are motors in organized races & charity rides.

    With all this connectivity, it might be possible to convince moto-folk to cache water out on the trail for pedal-folk on a given trek. Pie in the sky maybe, but there is a lot of helpfulness to be found around here.


    Bridgestone MB-2/IF Crown Jewel
    #98
  19. d0gWateR

    d0gWateR Goat Stuntaz DSMC

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    I thoroughly enjoyed this ride report guys, it looks like a fun trip! I was thinking of doing the Mex2Can, but this seems a little easier if you are packing all your own stuff on your bike.

    Your pictures were all amazing! :eek1 Thanks for sharing this with us. :thumb

    Love the GSPD!
    #99
  20. arroyoshark

    arroyoshark Needing some space

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    Absolutely stunning ride report! :thumb

    It's truly worth it to live in the rocky mountain chain. There's just more than a lifetime of neat places to ride and explore.

    Upon seeing your pictures I find it amazing that I've been on segments of this ride over the years. I've missed a bunch too. Camped at the Green River Lakes a few years ago, but haven't been up on Union Pass for instance. I've hunted those little banded pecaries from Antelope wells to Silver City. The Storm King area in Colorado is one of my favorite hideaways. Eurobiker and I just went over Boreas Pass Last August. Camped at Seeley Lake, too and then rode up through Eureka and Rooseville.

    Seeing your great pictures pretty much just cements the notion of tying all the loose ends together and doing the entire route.

    ....Are you listening Empedrado?