Grey Creek Pass

Discussion in 'Canada' started by Hektoglider, Jul 8, 2008.

  1. 250senuf

    250senuf Long timer

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    I've heard a number of stories about tourists in rented motorhomes taking that "shortcut". My buddy was glad to be on a MC as he was able to carry on, the folks in cars/trucks (capable of doing the road) weren't so lucky.
  2. dirtydeeds

    dirtydeeds I'm alive.

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    Cool. Sounds like its open this year then?
    Any update in the next 2 weeks would be great. I may look at that road for the MRT rally. If it looks good for a SM with street tires; let's have a post!
  3. 250senuf

    250senuf Long timer

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    Don't get too excited yet. No idea how many washouts, debris flows etc have occurred.

    An SM with street tires would be interesting at the best of times. It's all gravel, doesn't get any maintenance to speak of and peaks at about 6900'. Kootenay Lake at the west end is about 1750'

    The last few years it's been kept open mostly by citizens who like to use it and have access to equipment to make that happen. As logging roads fall victim to slides they are being left closed until another cutblock needs to be accessed. And other back country roads are being purposely deactivated/recontoured rather than being maintained.
  4. dirtydeeds

    dirtydeeds I'm alive.

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    I've done Grey Creek before. At the time it was possible to take a bike with decent height at a decent speed. Will be interesting to see how it's changed.
  5. Lav1200

    Lav1200 Pig Pen

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  6. 250senuf

    250senuf Long timer

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    Wet snow, hitting, melting at Kootenay Pass 5800' earlier today. :eek1

    GCP 6900'
  7. Jäger_

    Jäger_ Osons

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    I've seen Miata's and similar vehicles going over the crest, east to west. Along with the aformentioned Class whatever motorhomes, trailers, vehicles towing boats, etc.

    This isn't the Redding Creek road of yesteryear... meaning, back in the 70's and early 80's.

    Having said all of that, it depends on the year and maintenance of the road. With the torrential rain of the last few days, it might be pretty groddy this year for anything less than some sort of SUV/truck. We shall see, I guess.

    The Rose Pass is an alder jungle these days, and the crossing if the water is anything above minimal levels provides a good chance to have your bike play submarine. It actually used to be the better route of the two, and we went over it back in the day in a Volkswagen bug without any drama. Things have changed since then...
  8. edwin

    edwin Been here awhile

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    it is interesting....
    some ppl have seen many an inappropriate car/rv/motorbike on the GCP.... crap i'd take someone elses corvette over it....but yes, the underside and even body would get smoked.
    alls i am saying is if you havent been over it before dont believe for a minute you can take something to low or pretty without causing major damage. it is a Rough road on 'goood' years.

    well...i have no plans to head out that way anytime soon...but do pls update us.
    many thanks
  9. Jäger_

    Jäger_ Osons

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    Well, that's the opinion of someone living in Fernie, about 75 miles away. I offered the opinion of someone living in Marysville, with a house about 600 meters from where the road starts. Who also, incidentally, travels that road pretty much on a weekly basis during the summer, even if only to run over to Crawford Bay for breakfast and back before getting on with the rest of the day.

    Cars routinely - and without damage, major or minor - go over that road. Particularly when Julyfest is running in Kimberley, or one of the assorted music festivals is running over in Crawford Bay or nearby. The Forest Service does, after all, do regular grading and repair on the road precisely because it has become such a tourist attraction. Residents living near the route don't want to head all the way over to the Creston-Salmo when the Redding Creek route can have them across in an hour and a half or so. Some days there is so much light vehicle traffic on the road it isn't worth it to ride it... mostly, you suck dust and just deal with one vehicle after another.

    Back to the initial post regarding road conditions, he was asking about a truck. A truck is not going to have a problem as long as the road is actually open i.e. not like last year when the Forest Service decided not to do any of their normal road work on this route due to the slides across the road.

    Given the rain of the last few days that has washed out chunks of the highway, Corbin Creek access to the Flathead and South Country, etc, all bets are off for now on what any roads in the area are going to be like this year. This is pretty reminiscent of the road damage in this region back in the 1995 floods.

    Do you want an update on when it's open, or whether the road surface is good enough for your average passenger car?
  10. edwin

    edwin Been here awhile

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  11. Jäger_

    Jäger_ Osons

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    No, it's just rude to offer an opinion on something you know little about, and have put even less effort into learning something about. I posted that comment about "all bets are off" regarding those roads AFTER I had first hand information - not just an unsupported opinion. Let me help you with some specifics:

    Corbin Creek road is washed out. As a result of that, Coal Mountain Operations is shut down until approximately this coming Friday. That would include any access into the Flathead/South Country from that point. Would you like a phone number to confirm it for yourself? 250-425-7389. Alternately, phone up the Mainroad yard in Sparwood. Want a number for that too?

    Want to hear about the Hartley? McClatchie? Elko? Caven? We do a lot of work in that area (including the design of your new off leash dog park in Fernie, which I'm working on right now, and travelling back and forth to Fernie as a result), and being a dual sport kind of guy, I travel the backroads routes instead of the slab whenever possible. And as doing resource surveys and GIS mapping is our biz, I spend a lot of time on those roads on any given year. In addition to hunting, fishing, and riding, of course.

    But don't take my word for it - I might not know anything about these FSRs after all. Try MoF in Cranbrook. Here's a partial list of what my buddy in Road/Bridge Works sent me last Friday when I called about some rides I had in mind if the rain ever stopped. This is from four days ago:
    Perry Creek bridge at 2km will be closed from July 2 to July 6 for deck replacement.

    St. Marys West Fork bridge is closed at 10km due to washout at bridge.

    St. Mary's Lake outlet bridge is closed due to high water and instability. The bridge is closed at this time. The bridge will be replaced between July 15 to August 31, 2013.

    Bull River FSR is closed at 32km due to water on road, 52km and 54km half of road gone and not passable, 63km and 68km due to washouts, and at 71km due to land slide.

    McClatchie FSR is closed at the Squaw Creek Bridge due to bridge washout.

    River Road FSR at 3km, near Elko, approach to bridge is damaged. Use caution when crossing.

    Elk River FSR is closed at 2km due to water on road, 104km due to road washout, 138km due to debris slide on road, 145km Weary Creek bridge washed out.

    Wildhorse FSR is closed at 15.5km due to large rocks on road.

    Mause Creek FSR is closed at 4km due to land slide on road.

    Summer Lake FSR is closed at 50km due to washout.

    Mitchell Creek FSR is closed at 32km due to bridge washed out.

    Whiteriver (Whiteswan) FSR is closed at 32.5km due to bridge approach washout, 37km due to washout.

    Kootenay FSR is closed at 5km due to water flowing over road, 32km due to bridge approach to washout.

    Skookumchuk FSR is closed at 35km due to washout.

    Findlay FSR is closed at 20km due to high water. High potential for bridge damage.

    Lavington FSR is closed at 18km due to washout at bridge.

    Albert River is closed at 56Km due to washout.
    So... see any Flathead/South Country closures on that partial list you might recognize? Those are just the most major roads, incidentally - they're a little busy right now to be gathering information on lesser roads like the routes past Inverted Ridge, into Frozen Lake, the Wigwam, Gilnockie, etc.

    And that's a partial list he sent me from BEFORE expected high water mark. I doubt conditions got better instead of worse after that. He also mentioned they're not doing much right now other than sitting in Cranbrook - because so much of the back country has bridge and road washouts right now.

    Relevant to all back country travel this year in the East Kootenay (not just Redding Creek), particularly the east side of the Trench, is that there is extensive and ongoing damage to FSRs due to this rainstorm. As I said before "all bets are off". And my buddy tells me that all they will be concentrating on this year is repairing the most major routes. And they haven't had a decent budget in this area for years, which is why so many roads are being decommissioned instead of repaired (think Ram Creek and Wildhorse River).

    So many of the "minor" routes this year that have road/bridge washouts will remain unrepaired, for at least this year. I wouldn't be surprised if the Province decides to do with many of them what they did with Ram Creek i.e. do nothing. Not enough upset people raising hell about it to put the money into repair.

    Relevant to Redding/Gray Creek, that is considered one of their "major" routes, and they probably will work to open it for the tourists (although they didn't do much of anything last year - money again). Much like the washout damage repair they did on the west side year before last.

    For FSR information on road/bridge conditions anywhere in the Rocky Mountain Forest District, here's two more numbers for you or anyone else planning a trip in this area: (250) 919-5523 and (250) 426-1766.

    ...sigh... anybody want to lend me one of those Hero cams so I can post up a video of this apparently Dakar-type road?

    1. All the rough stuff on Redding/Grey Creek is on the east side; most who have actually traveled this road once or twice know this. Assuming you did manage to smash in your oil pan, what kind of person would continue driving UP hill, to get over the pass, instead of turning around and coasting back towards Marysville?
    2. Assuming you did decide to keep on driving uphill with a smashed in oil pan so you could get over the summit, why would you look for a mechanic at the Gray Creek Store, when Crawford Bay is only two or three miles away? You know - an actual village with garages, stores, hotels to stay in, campgrounds, etc?
    As somebody who has went over that road many times over many years with the wife and dogs in the old, low clearance Subaru GL, apparently at risk of smashing in the oil pan, just askin' what we should have done if our incredible streak of good luck over all those years ever ran out...

    I'll tell you what. If anyone other than you is truly worried they might smash in their oil pan on this road, when it does open and I take my first trip over for breakfast this year, I'll take pictures of the worst road conditions I can find. I'll post them up here, along with the UTM coordinates, and you can decide for yourself just how "brutal" this road is.
    Jeathrow Bowdean likes this.
  12. edwin

    edwin Been here awhile

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    so i missed it...
    is GDP open or not? condition....?
    you seem to know the location of every rock and pebble on other roads...seems.
    where can i send the super hero tights and briefs?

    ps: if you are 'working' now how do you have time to type so much in the middle of the day on this forum? maybe the city of fernie (or whoever hired you to pick dog poop in the park) is not getting good value for your 'labour'

    pps: pls stand by ppl...we are trying to get back on topic...pls do not adjust your sets
  13. GreatWhiteNorth

    GreatWhiteNorth Long timer

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    Appreciate the recent posts updating the situ, but I sure hate to see this degenerate into another pissing contest... I think when that happens, although some may find it entertaining, it's just not good for most.

    Re the road conditions and general situation, this has me reconsidering my travel plans for this summer - must be one heck of a lot of campgrounds adjacent to streams that'll be closed as a result... am seeing that already in the AB foothills (posted in the AB Prov Park website).
  14. Jäger_

    Jäger_ Osons

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    What? The TWO phone numbers I provided to you for checking on FSR roads don't work for you? Or do they not pick up when your number shows on their call display? Those numbers work fine for everyone else.

    As for the rest of your post, I'm not sure whether you're one of Jerry's Kids, or the result of a lifetime of drug use and pharmacology experiments. Whatever the cause, not much point in carrying on with you any further.
  15. Jäger_

    Jäger_ Osons

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    The phone numbers posted ((250) 919-5523 and (250) 426-1766) will put you in touch with people with real-time information on the current state of Forestry roads in the Rocky Mountain Forest District. Now, or whenever later in the year you're thinking of riding. And they can give you information on camp grounds, although most in this area affected by the weather are primitive, rather than developed, camp grounds.

    I just phoned again to make sure the numbers are indeed working. They are, and I was advised that right now, they have one guy in the air flying the roads to inspect roads and bridges, and another guy out doing wheeled recce. So I would expect a more thorough report on damage to FSRs will be available in a day or so. Possibly including what roads/bridges they will repair, and which ones won't get any work this year.

    To repeat what I said earlier, the bad news from my buddy is that operations is going to be concentrating their resources this summer on repairing damaged major routes. Relevant to this topic, Redding/Grey Creek as a major route has a good chance of repair and grading, especially as minimal work was done on it last year. Ditto the Bull and Elk River Roads. But lesser through routes, like the Gilnockie to Yahk, or Martin/Wheeler through Coal Creek, or the Quinn Creek route, probably won't get any work done on them this year.

    Most of the damage to backcountry roads and bridges is on the east side of the trench, so the further west you go, the damage reports are not as great.

    For now, I am riding down in Montana around Hungry Horse and the North Fork (last two day's rides just posted on DualSportMaps.com). Road and bridge conditions are excellent so it didn't seem to get hit as hard to the south. Of course, Montana also spends more money on maintaining their forestry roads, incuding preparing them for weather events like these. BC could take a lesson from them (including the economic benefits of doing this).
    Jeathrow Bowdean likes this.
  16. GreatWhiteNorth

    GreatWhiteNorth Long timer

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    Jager, great info. A couple of friends of mine are heading into that area (Montana, maybe Idaho and back thru the Kootenays) leaving in a few days!
  17. Jäger_

    Jäger_ Osons

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    From what I've seen around here around the North Fork, the Swan, out to the Bitterroot, Libby, etc, riding conditions here are average or better for this time of year. Elsewhere here in Montana or over in Idaho, I have no idea.

    The East Kootenays... well, see the posts above.The closures on those main FSRs as listed in a previous post has pretty much closed the majority of the better dual sport riding around here. And it's still raining, not as hard, but it certainly isn't drying anything out.... You'll find most of the major dual sport rides in the SE Kootenays over on DualSportMaps.com. Just do an area search or find the rides listed under my name. Take a look at those rides and then compare the roads on those rides to that partial list of closures I posted... Don't leave much except short lowland rides.

    The West Kootenays might be an option, but I do very little riding around there, so somebody else could help your friends there. You're in a different Forest Service district over there - the phone numbers above won't work for that, but they could probably give you the numbers over there where you would get the same information. Ken Haynes is usually the guy I talk to over there when I need info about forest service roads. Don't have his phone number at my fingertips, but the earlier numbers can give you that info.

    If they have any specific questions, they're welcome to PM or email me. Kind of drew the black marble for the timing on their trip... Also welcome to stop over in Whitefish if they need a shower or the use of a garage/tools, but we have guests arriving Friday, so the spare accommodation is already booked. Lots of lawn to camp on, however.
  18. Jäger_

    Jäger_ Osons

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    News from my Forestry guy after they flew the area yesterday is Redding/Gray Creek is closed at 3km due to washout. And at that particular point, if it is washed out, it might be REALLY washed out.

    Nothing beyond that on how pressing the District feels fixing the washout is i.e. will they put that at the top of the priority list and fix it immediately, or is it somewhere down near the bottom or ignored again like last year.
  19. 250senuf

    250senuf Long timer

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    Jäger, am I correct in assuming that is from the east side?
    The weather forecast is starting to look better starting this weekend so I was figuring on scouting the west side next week, July 3 or 4.
    And when it's possible to get through, where is closest place worth stopping for second breakfast / elevenses when coming from the west? (My version of you going to Crawford Bay for breakfast)
  20. Jäger_

    Jäger_ Osons

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    Ummmm... I never bothered to ask, but I assumed so. Now that I think about it, that swampy area at the east end I thought he was referring to is nowhere near being 3 kms from the turn off. You're starting up the mountainside by 3 kms, and I don't recall even any intermittent streams along there. Of course, lots of water just pouring off mountainsides right now, so that doesn't necessarily mean anything. However, there lots of little creeks around the 3km distance on the west end, right?

    Best guess is to call one of those phone numbers a day or two before you go to have the latest goods. I don't think the water has started to recede yet, so I don't think the damage is finished being done yet either.

    Well, you could stop at my place for some sort of burrito and a wobbly pop. Except we're hosting some family Calgary refugees down in Montana who are fleeing the flooding and the Stampede.

    As it happens, there's a very Crawford Bay-ish place in Marysville, just after you go over the bridge, on your left hand side. About a hundred meters, I guess. Called the Barking Gecko or something like that - see what I mean?

    We've never eaten there - my wife is a celiac. Actually, check that: she just told me she thinks it is closed right now. Anyways, she says that across the street is another newer place called the Buddha Belly or something like that. I only live there, how am I supposed to notice stuff like that?

    If nothing there catches your fancy, there's always the Platzl stroll in Kimberley... it's less than 10 minutes away and will be in full tourist catering mode just like Crawford Bay with Julyfest just a week or two away.

    Almost make you feel like you never left the Bay...