White Rim Trail - harder than I thought...

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Day Trippin'' started by timeOday, Oct 9, 2010.

  1. timeOday

    timeOday Been here awhile

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    The White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park (near Moab UT) is partially closed due to severe erosion right now:
    http://www.nps.gov/cany/news082410.htm

    The closure is near one end, so I thought I'd just ride in and back out the same way. Riding my V-Strom 650, I got right about 75 miles in from Moab, then came to a climb from which I backed away and turned back home:

    [​IMG]


    The ledge at the top really *is* that bad. (Actually that isn't even near the top, but I walked the rest and this was the worst part). I didn't realize White Rim was this gnarly! I wish I could remember the name, it was (somebody's) Pass - anybody know?

    I wasn't too disappointed since it was time to turn home anyways, but frankly I was glad I didn't "need" to ride this.
    #1
  2. timeOday

    timeOday Been here awhile

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    OK, replying to my own post, my waterloo was Murphy's Hogback:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvXgL6B_ZGM

    However, from watching this youtube and a few more, I am convinced the recent rain damage has made it *much* harder. The signage at the start of the trail says it's doable by stock SUVs, which I would really like to see now.

    You guys on real dirt bikes with knobbies go show us how it is done. (Only plated bikes are allowed there however).


    OK, here's a bonus shot - my highlight of this trip was the Million Dollar Highway - US 550 around Silverton and Ouray CO. I mean, here I've come all this way to ride my favorite twisties, and by chance the fall colors are perfect as well!

    http://theknack.net/Million_Dollar_Highway.jpg

    Which reminds me why I like the 'Strom: I never know whether the dirt or road riding will be more memorable on any given ride.
    [​IMG]
    #2
  3. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp REMF

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    Did it back in April on a KLX250S with a steering damper, 13/45 gearing (stock is 14/42) and Dunlop 952 non-DOT knobbies. Pretty easy:D
    #3
  4. sfarson

    sfarson On a Ride

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    timeOday... Beautiful MILLION DOLLAR pic. :nod

    And yes, tis nice to know any road is fair game.
    #4
  5. Signal

    Signal Cynical Idealist

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    My experience is that many of the Moab are trails (even those labeled as "easy") have some similar really difficult spots (at least to me) :becca
    #5
  6. splatte

    splatte Adventurer

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    Good job getting in there on the strom. I did it a couple years ago on a KLR with no problems but now have a DL650 and was wondering how it would go on that. What tires were you running?
    #6
  7. viverrid

    viverrid not dead yet

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    Admittedly I'm posting from the safety of my keyboard, but if that is the worst spot, I don't see anything in the shot that couldn't be done in our stock (except for tires) Xterra Off-Road which has an actual rear locking diff (not just 'traction control').

    I'd take off the trailer hitch though.

    And no, I would not take my V-Strom in there.
    #7
  8. SunwardIveClimbed

    SunwardIveClimbed Wildblueyonderwander

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    I've taken enough pictures in Moab (and many other places) to know that they do not ever capture the nail biting, stomach churning reality of what you see when you are really there. I have also noticed that the first time I rode Moab area 15 years ago the loose rock on steep inclines was not nearly as scary as it is when you go back after becoming more mature and realizing your mortality. I'm glad you turned back were able to post the great picture. Thanks.
    #8
  9. tbirdsp

    tbirdsp REMF

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    I'm being semi-sarcastic. White Rim wasn't bad but the rocky climbs and deep sand were a challenge even on my KLX. Also I broke my arm on the Sovereign Trail Saltwash Singletrack and pretty much ended my dirt riding forever:eek1 (had a previous shoulder injury to that same arm). Moab was some of the most difficult riding I have done. Even a KLR would be a handful on some of the White Rim IMHO (although I'm sure guys have done it on big GS's).
    #9
  10. timeOday

    timeOday Been here awhile

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    A trailwing with 9000 miles on it:

    [​IMG]

    I have a new set of Shinko 705's in the wings. Nothing but the best :)

    Honestly, short of a TKC80, I don't know how much any of these "80/20" tires really have over a straight road tire. Letting some air out is the main thing. I was running 24/26 and don't seem to have bent my wheels any...

    But really, traction wasn't the problem - it's that foot-high ledge at the top. The only way I know to get a VStrom over that is to go around - there may be a line to the far left.

    I was thinking what I'd do if I *really* wanted to get up that:
    1) Remove the luggage and carry it up
    2) Remove all those 4 or 5 inch rocks filling the rut up the middle
    3) Maybe try to build some sort of ramp up the ledge at the top
    #10
  11. Dread Pendragon

    Dread Pendragon Don't look back

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    The thing about the WRT and other Moab rides is that even though many sections aren't terrible, they are relentlessly demanding. Especially if you are on a bigger bike or don't have great tires, the rocks require constant effort and focus. That's what makes it fun, but it is attention- and energy-depleting.

    I did the WRT the first time on my KLR with MEFO Sport Explorer tires. I love those tires, but not for more challenging off-road stuff. I don't know if I even let any air out of the tires. I went back the next year. I was a better rider by then, but I also had aired-down Dunlop D606s on and I was surprised how much easier the ride was.

    Murphy's hogback can definitely be stressful on a bigger bike. For me the worst is dragging my big, fat KLR down the down slope (going clockwise). The worst is that big drop from some rocks right near the top. I guess its really not that big of a deal now that I've done it a couple of times, but it was difficult enough to be one of the most memorable moments.

    I'm going to Moab this weekend, but haven't decided yet where we'll ride.
    #11
  12. WilderRider

    WilderRider Long timer

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    Nice ride.

    My first trip around the WRT in 2008 was title the "White Rim Fail." As mentioned, the trail conditions can change and the deep sand was hell on my 1100GS. Of course, I went back last year and got around on the DR650. Still plenty fun, but I the sand was not nearly as deep as it had been the year before. I remember thinking I could have done those on the GS in that condition. Much more fun on the DR650, though. Sounds like the conditions might really suck again.
    #12
  13. timeOday

    timeOday Been here awhile

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    Yeah, as of last saturday, the sand was tacky from the rain, and therefore not terrible.

    But as another guy said, the trail is consistently rocky/bumpy, and that is quite tiring to ride on a bike with street suspension such as the DL650. In fact, the two large bolts that hold the entire front fairing vibrated loose, so the windshield, instrument panel, etc. were flopping around disconcertingly. Luckily she got home OK and is now back in one piece - now with loctite. Boy do I love loctite.
    #13
  14. Staxrider

    Staxrider dirt dauber

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    I picked the line a little to the left. What was unerving for me was on the other side. Deep powder that hides the rocks underneath. Murphy's hogback is more a mental thing than any real physical obstacle. I'm a flatlander so that ridge grew more in my imagination until I cleared it. Of course with the closure at Potato bottom you get to do it twice!

    [​IMG]
    #14
  15. Ditch

    Ditch Long timer

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    Nothing wrong with backing down from an obstacle you don't feel comfortable with. It's no fun damaging your self or your bike, especially when you are far from help and home.
    Wendell
    #15
  16. sam1905

    sam1905 Been here awhile

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    I road the WRT in June on a KTM640e. i did make it all the way but did also spend about 20 minutes at Murphies figuring how to get the bike back on its wheels frrom lying downhill....

    The pics you sent most definately looks much worse than it did then....
    #16
  17. AZ TOM

    AZ TOM Long timer

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    Common sense, what a refreshing concept!
    #17
  18. jbeem

    jbeem Been here awhile

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    I'll agree that the trails around Moab are gradually getting worse. I had the GS out there about 8 years ago and the KLX out there 3 years ago. I had trouble on the KLX where I had taken the GS a few years prior.

    In the mid nineties, I was able to do the Lockhart Basin Trail from Needles to Hurrah Pass (in a rented Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer Edition) in a little over 6 hours. From what I've heard, the Lockhart is pretty tough nowadays, even on a bike.

    It's still the best place in the U.S. to ride.
    #18
  19. thump!

    thump! Adventurer

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    It was before the closure and the surface was a bit firmer then but I met a couple 2-up on a 950 Adventure exactly where this picture was taken. I was going down. They were coming up. I thought at the time I just wouldn't want to do this 2-up but they were trucking along pretty well. FWIW I was on a KLR with trials tires -> no problem here but the sand washes in creek beds later on were challenging for me.
    #19
  20. tompee

    tompee Adventurer

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    I like the pics, the one quoted by thump, descending along the side of that ridge looks really cool
    #20