The High Sierra Passes thread... 2016-2017 Edition

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by wrk2surf, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. michaeln

    michaeln What're YOU lookin' at?

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    I really enjoy Sheep Ranch and Railroad Flat, especially the part of RRF that runs down the canyon and back up.
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  2. slogger

    slogger Been here awhile

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    The Eastern Sierra business must be stoked that the passes are open. I was up in Bridgeport a few weeks ago and it was very quite.
  3. bdesj

    bdesj Been here awhile

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  4. Mr B

    Mr B Been here awhile

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    No report on the passes but I have to say a hearty thanks to all the fire fighters in and around Mariposa. Was able to sneak away this afternoon and rode up through Bear Valley and then on 49 to Mariposa. What amazed me was not the damage, the fire actually did not seem that hot...seems only the underbrush burned mostly, but the number of homes and structures that were protected by the fire crews! Nice job folks I am sure you will not have to buy a beer in Mariposa for some time..
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  5. rollinrob

    rollinrob Long timer

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  6. Topcop45

    Topcop45 Adventurer

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    I did a 587 mile loop from my house north on 99 up to 108 east to 395 south the back over 120 west last Saturday. It was an amazing day with side trips to Twin Lakes, Virginia, Lundy, and Saddlebag lakes. I was surprised by the snow that was still up there at the end of July. IMG_0632.JPG IMG_0635.JPG IMG_0634.JPG IMG_0637.JPG
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  7. Topcop45

    Topcop45 Adventurer

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    And a couple more IMG_0638.JPG IMG_0639.JPG IMG_0633.JPG
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  8. michaeln

    michaeln What're YOU lookin' at?

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    Thanks for sharing the report and the pictures. Somehow KTMs make the sky look bluer and the vegetation look greener. ;-)
  9. bdesj

    bdesj Been here awhile

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    Good stuff, TopCop! Yeah, nice to still see snow, and all the lakes still full in August. Taking my wife camping tomorrow somewhere within striking distance of Calaveras Big Trees SP. She says it`s too hot to ride without air conditioning though, so it looks like we`ll be "wasting" a trip over Hwy 4 in a cage. Anyways, campgrounds at the park are all booked up, so hoping for one of the first come first served Stanislaus NF sites around Lake Alpine. How are our chances given mid afternoon Sat arrival?

    :rofl
  10. michaeln

    michaeln What're YOU lookin' at?

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    I did the Sonora Pass / Monitor Pass / Ebbetts Pass loop again today on my KTM Duke 690.

    Word of warning... after the rains last evening, highway 4 is very dirty on the east side from the two hairpins on up to Ebbetts Pass. Lots of pine cones and gravel on the road, making for some tricky riding conditions. I slid the rear once today in some of that new gravel, and coming around another corner it was peppered with pine cones all over the road. I hit one with my front tire while in a lean and it picked up the tire and set it down a few inches from where it was.... very quickly. Lots of crap on the road!

    Neither incident resulted in a crash, and caused me to slow way the hell down for the rest of the ride. The western slope from Ebbetts over Pacific Grade and on down to Lake Alpine was clean.
  11. michaeln

    michaeln What're YOU lookin' at?

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    bdesj there was a ton of traffic headed up 4 as I was coming down this afternoon, most looked like campers and kayakers. I would expect pickins to be pretty slim by mid afternoon Saturday.
  12. bdesj

    bdesj Been here awhile

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    Thanks, Michael. I`ll talk it over with SheWhoWearsThePants and maybe we`ll think about Almanor or Antelope Lake instead.
  13. bdesj

    bdesj Been here awhile

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    Follow up for future reference...
    We decided to cross our fingers and go for it anyway, since dispersed camping seems to be permitted, or at least tolerated in Stanislaus. By noon on Sat, both campgrounds we checked right at Lake Alpine were completely full, but we still found plenty of open spots about 10 miles down the road at Big Meadows Campground. On a walk around the area shortly before 6AM yesterday (Sunday) I saw probably a half dozen sites still open, some very nice and others more "would work in a pinch" type. My conclusion is that camping right at the lake is definitely hard to come by in mid summer without reservations, but if you don`t need to be right there you can still get your $20 picnic table and stinky outhouse without a lot of searching. Conclusion drawn on the basis of one weekend, so take that as you will.

    Side note: Calveras Big Trees is a winner! Every time I see a giant Sequoia it fills me with awe, which seems to shrink in my mind until the next time I find myself staring at the base of a giant trunk as big around as my living room, when that awe comes back full strength. Can you ever get tired of looking at those beasts?

    Side note II: Crusco`s Ristorante on main street in Angels Camp = :clap
  14. browneye

    browneye PIN IT & BANG GEARS

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    117 where exactly? :eek7
  15. Topcop45

    Topcop45 Adventurer

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    In my garage a short while after getting home...heat soak. It was "only" about 104 that day
  16. michaeln

    michaeln What're YOU lookin' at?

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    Rode over 4 and back yesterday for the first time on my 2016 KTM SuperDuke R. Happy to report the debris from a week ago is now pretty much gone and the road is pretty clean again.

    Of course, mountain roads being what they are, you can never assume the next corner is clean, so use good judgement out there!
  17. michaeln

    michaeln What're YOU lookin' at?

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    I decided to try doing Tioga Pass early in the morning to avoid the traffic. Left Angels Camp at 5AM and promptly discovered I really should not be riding in the dark any more. When you get old, your eyes don't react to changes in brightness nearly as fast as when you are young. The result of that was while riding Highway 49 in the dark, every time a car would come around a corner toward me I would get blinded, and stayed that way for several seconds. I slowed way the hell down and was watching the fog line to stay on the road. Guess at my age (67) my riding in the dark days are over.

    So... up 120, not a single car on New Priest Grade, so that was fun. It was light by the time I got to the western entrance gate, but it was closed with a sign to go on through and pay on the way out. I did not encounter any traffic all the way to Tuolumne Meadows.

    That part of the plan worked out great, but what I had failed to account for is that it is COLD at 8-10,000 feet early in the morning, even in August. Thermometer on my bike was showing 43F... put that together with a 50MPH chill factor and no hand guards or winter gloves, and my hands were getting painfully cold. I stopped on three different occasions at pullovers that were in the morning sun. I took off my gloves and stuffed them in next to the bike's cylinders and cooked them a little while warming my hands in my pockets, then put them back on and soldiered on.

    [​IMG]

    I got to the East gate and the summit around 8AM, and although there was a guy in the booth, he just waved me through. I had my Poppy Pass all ready to show them, but they didn't want to see it.

    Tioga Pass road really is the prettiest among Carson, Ebbetts and Sonora passes. The scenery is spectacular, but the smoke on the western slope was pretty thick and stinky from the current Yosemite fires. Could barely see Half Dome from Olmstead point.

    [​IMG]

    On down to Whoa Nellie Deli (which was packed) for a cup of hot coffee and a bit more of a warmup in the sun. Down at 395 I headed up to Sonora Pass junction and rode that back over the summit and down to Sonora and on home to Angels Camp. Again, very little traffic and no road construction delays.

    So yeah, early morning after the kids are back in school is the ticket for Tioga Road, but don't be a dummy like me and forget it may be very cold up there.

    PS: When I got home the KTM heated grip kit was on my doorstep. They are installed now, a day late. ;-)
  18. ontheroad68

    ontheroad68 Adventurer

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    HEY! You folks might be the ones to help me figure out this route. I riding (most) of Nevada BDR N S and making a right turn some where between Coaldale and Pahrump, hop over the Sierra's and end up in Fresno. I'm hoping to stay off-road as much as possible and because it will be the first week of Sept. I'd like to stay high and out of Death Valley. Although I hope to fly back in March to check out Death Valley. Ideally, If I could get from Independence Ca, to Kanawyers (the beginning of hwy 180 in Kings Canyon NP) I would just book it down 180 to fresburg. But that doesn't look possible. Any other ideas?

    Thanks in advance, I may cross post this on the Central Valley Riders post.
  19. renogeorge

    renogeorge Let's ride!!

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    I don't believe you can get from Independence over to Kings Canyon without going south to Pearsonville/9 Mile/Kennedy Meadows or north to Tioga or Sonora. If it can be done, sign me up!
  20. 23103a

    23103a not n00b

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    Sure is... I camped by Shaver Lake on Thursday night and headed into Yosemite and over Tioga on Friday. I woke up to chilly temps and dew all over everything, bike showed 47 degrees at 7 AM. At 9 AM headed down the hill towards Auberry, it was already 84. Gotta love this state.

    Air quality around Wawona and Yosemite Valley was awful. Air quality from Tuolumne Meadows over the pass was excellent.

    IMG_1856.JPG
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