Fathers Day in the Alaska Range

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by PistonPants, Jun 22, 2009.

  1. PistonPants

    PistonPants Crankcase Scavenger

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    731
    Location:
    Cantwell, AK
    Yesterday I took a ride out into the backcountry on the Kawasaki. I hadn't been into the Schist Creek country in a few years and it was time to go in.

    The ride starts out on double track through forest and meadows. Then the climb up 'the price of admission': The long steep hill with lots of roots, rocks, loose soil. Once on top, you're above tree line. Alpine riding, my favorite.
    [​IMG]

    The ATV tracks can be followed for several miles before they become faint and you're on your own to find a route. Ten miles or so in, the routefinding gets more complicated with small streams and thickets of alder.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    About 15 miles in, a small tributary stream flows down out of the mountains. It cuts a ravine across this plateau that grows thick with willow. I spent an hour or two searching for a way to potentially cross the stream and continue riding on the high treeless plateau. I tried to go up and over a slope of broken granite:
    [​IMG]

    No go. The search came up fruitless, perhaps another time when not travelling solo. Need to drag Shutter Monkey back there and find the way, clear a little brush. You'll read about it here.

    Being thwarted in my efforts to cross the stream, I decide to climb into the mountains. I start gaining elevation heading for a cirque at the headwaters of schist creek. At about the 4000ft level, I take a spill and lawn dart the left handlebar into the earth, cleanly shearing off the clutch lever perch.[​IMG]

    After a few choice words, and thinking what an inconvenient place to lose any further use of the clutch, I decide to not be deterred and climb higher. I make it only a little further when the wind begins to shriek, temp drops by 25 degrees and rain and hail starts pelting from the sky. I'm sufficiently deterred now. Don my raingear and goggles, take a quick snack and point it downhill.
    [​IMG]

    The altimeter on the camera says 4200ft. The topo map agrees.
    [​IMG]

    Clutch perch busted off, hail and rain pelting down, freezing wind, this is as far as I dare go.
    [​IMG]

    On the way down I encountered about seven caribou cruising the hills, munching lichens. Lacking a clutch, I opt not to stop for photos. I ride for 14 miles to get back home, clutchless shifting, negotiating some nervewracking obstacles without stopping. Getting stalled out in swampy mud or creeek crossings is just not an option. I dropped final gearing a notch right before this ride, which made this feat possible.

    I'll hopefully get to try it again soon with Shutter Monkey aboard the Gas Gas to watch my back and a little more time, perhaps to find our way across the revine and further still into the mountains. Stay Tuned..

    Piston
    #1
  2. outpostbabu

    outpostbabu Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2008
    Oddometer:
    202
    Location:
    Atlanta
    Very cool pics!
    #2
  3. 4th Axis

    4th Axis Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Oddometer:
    186
    Location:
    The Canadian Steppe
    For what it's worth, and you may already know this.:scratch

    A lot of riders don't tighten the front brake or clutch perch super tight.

    They leave them just loose enough so when you go down they will spin on the bars.




    Nice riding area too.:thumb

    Nothing like that where I live.:(:
    #3
  4. alberta bob

    alberta bob Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    251
    sweet pic's were i am its against da rules to ride in the alpine medows all the roads to get to them are closed off.i am very jelus of your back yard .
    #4
  5. TwilightZone

    TwilightZone Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2008
    Oddometer:
    7,164
    Location:
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    Hmmm... Lower part of that ride looks like it might be pretty good Grizzly country... :gerg
    #5
  6. Camas

    Camas Rooster Bastid

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2005
    Oddometer:
    470
    Location:
    Lil Warshougal
    I gotta tell yah...


    ...that made me drool on my shirt!

    Can't wait for another episode. :deal
    #6
  7. PistonPants

    PistonPants Crankcase Scavenger

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    731
    Location:
    Cantwell, AK
    Yeah we got grizzlies out there. I got bearanoid a few times walking in the brush.....all alone....no self defense.....Many signs where they are digging for ground squirrels and roots. Next time I'll at least take pepper spray.

    I'm just scratching the surface of that country, that same creek has stopped me in winter trying to get through on a snowmachine. I'm a persistent bugger though... there must be a way.

    In the mean time the JB Weld is curing on the clutch perch in my lame attempt to fix up something temporary until the new part arrives in my PO box.

    Piston
    #7
  8. Gaston Gagne

    Gaston Gagne Past Easy

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,524
    Location:
    Western Piedmont, NC
    Dude, that is some far out stuff. That appears to be up da line from where you showed me that day. :freaky All the best.
    #8
  9. AKDuc

    AKDuc Alaska Born Ducatisti

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    6,873
    Location:
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Nice photos.

    Looks like some pretty cool exploring.

    And WAY too cool (as in brrrr cold) temperature!

    Man, where'd our warm summer temps go anyway?

    Thanks for sharing, Mark H.
    #9
  10. GB

    GB . Administrator Super Moderator Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    67,784
    Gorgeous..... tough luck with the clutch perch.. Barkbusters are a must! :thumb
    #10
  11. Rellik

    Rellik o-KAY!

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2007
    Oddometer:
    590
    Location:
    Calgary
    That's a hell of a hairy ride with no clutch! Great job!
    #11
  12. racer

    racer Long timer

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    May 5, 2004
    Oddometer:
    2,440
    Location:
    Indiana
    Nice report. You should invest in a pair of bark busters before your next ride.
    #12
  13. PistonPants

    PistonPants Crankcase Scavenger

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    731
    Location:
    Cantwell, AK
    Tonight's fun is to steal the hand guards off of the NX650 and put them on the KDX. I also put zip ties, duct tape, bailing wire and bear spray in the backcountry kit.

    Piston
    #13
  14. DMM

    DMM Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    272
    Location:
    Roaming B612
    +1 on Barkbusters.
    I'm not sure that this is even an option on your setup/situation (with too little or nothing left of clutch lever), but I've learned from some friends to carry a lockable pair of pliers with me to use if the levers break. Useful for a variety of other mishaps, too.
    Friends of mine also do a little drilling on the levers so that they break at the half-way point. Again, allows for something to grab onto in an emergency.
    However, substantial barkbusters (Barkbuster brand or other quality make) will go a long way to protecting the levers and your hands.
    #14
  15. PistonPants

    PistonPants Crankcase Scavenger

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    731
    Location:
    Cantwell, AK
    The lever didn't break. Just the clutch perch. Bark busters might've prevented it. Not crashing would've definitely prevented it.:lol3 I usually do not admit to crashing, but I get extra style points for riding her home clutchless.:norton

    Piston
    #15
  16. BDKW1

    BDKW1 KL"X" not "R"

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    915
    Location:
    Easton, KS
    Good solid aluminum ones would have saved it no problem. I just replace My clutch lever after 8 years because it wore out. Judging from the condition of My bark busters, they are the sole reason for it's survival this long.
    #16
  17. knybanjo

    knybanjo kinda slow

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    35,011
    Location:
    out in the clover patch
    So....

    Which line did you take? :ear
    #17
  18. PistonPants

    PistonPants Crankcase Scavenger

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2008
    Oddometer:
    731
    Location:
    Cantwell, AK
    the total opposite of singletrack is what i like to call...OMNITRACK

    Piston
    #18