imogene pass vs ophir pass

Discussion in 'The Rockies – It's all downhill from here...' started by chriscam2, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. duggram

    duggram Sunrise Bahia de LA Supporter

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    I rode my W450R over imogene a few years ago and it was a blast! Just a great ride with great scenery. Then two years ago we tried to ride it again and it was a mess on the Telluride side with loose large rocks. One of the bikes in our RMAR group was a mid-sized BMW, he just turned around and took the highway back to Silverton. I also remember some others going with him. That left me and Big E on his 690. The ride wasn't what I would call a lot of fun so I asked if we could take Ophir back to Silverton mainly because I'd never been over it. Ophir was definitely easier, but just before the top we came upon a pair of big GS's stopped in what looked like big pot holes created by a 4X4. So yes Ophir is easier but it can present it's own kind of problems.
    #21
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  2. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer

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    I prefer Ophir east to west on the big bikes.
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  3. OrangeYZ

    OrangeYZ Long timer

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    Yeah, within about 1100 feet of it :D

    [​IMG]
    #23
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  4. jwrover

    jwrover Been here awhile Super Supporter

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    So to give you some local perspective...:jjen

    If you are doing COBDR from north to South then You could try and hit both with a little navigation.
    Come out of Silverton Section and go to Ouray, then over Imogene to Telluride, then to Ophir (town) and over Ophir eastbound. This will be the more technical approach to both on a larger bike.

    If going South to North on BDR then I'd maybe look at Ophir eastbound to hwy 550, Black Bear Pass back to Telluride and then Imogene to Ouray. (Then back track up 550 to Corkscrew and back onto the BDR. )

    This would be a long day in and of itself. Black Bear would be the most psychologically challenging (but a downhill ride) and the Ouray side of Imogene the most technical. But you'd be going downhill so might be easier than climbing it.

    All of this truly depends on your skill and comfort on this type of terrain. If you've never been out here before and you have spent less than several years riding dirt on your bike...I'd suggest picking Ophir and being content.
    If you are a grizzled old SOB like some:hide...I'd try and do all three as listed above.

    Now for the perspective...I rode a KTM 990 for 6 years. When I moved here to Ouray 4 years ago I traded it in for a KTM 500 EXC due to the technical nature of the riding around here. It's just more enjoyable day after day.

    Regardless, Stop by for a cocktail in Ouray and you can tell me lies about your decision! :1drink

    John
    #24
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  5. AviatorTroy

    AviatorTroy Long timer

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    Ophir to last dollar rd is a nice scenic and challenging but non stressful loop for a big bike. Imogene is doable but not fun for a large beast.
    #25
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  6. WAGmore01

    WAGmore01 Been here awhile

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    Funny, but many people who have been riding this area over the past 10-15 years will say that these passes continue to get more and more tame each year. The Jeep rental companies like the income so they are pretty serious about keeping them passable. I have been over Imogene twice in the last couple years (and the majority of the other passes in the area including Black Bear) on big bikes and have had no issues with damaging my bikes.

    I know the OP’s bike is set up pretty well to handle this type of riding.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    #26
  7. Plawa

    Plawa ¿ʞO ǝʞᴉq ʎɯ sI

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    If it helps I have videos from both passes on my channel but long story short I think Ophir would be pretty challenging to go up west to east, the west side was pretty loose and rocky. I don't remember Imogene (going into Telluride) being all that bad, there were a couple steep sections but nothing crazy .. it was my first CO trip on a bike bike with bags and I was pretty green back then so I guess an average rider should be able to tackle it.
    #27
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  8. HeadShrinker

    HeadShrinker Long timer Supporter

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    #28
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  9. Roux-80

    Roux-80 Been here awhile Supporter

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    How do you compare Imogene to Corkscrew, Hurricane and California?

    I rode the bdr in 2015 with my super tenere fully loaded with camping gear, around 720 pound I guess, from Ouray to Lake city via those pass, that was difficult, but I never drop the bike, never have to turn around. That was my first experience with that kind on riding and I really enjoyed it. I plan of doing it again next year, but this time, leave all my gear at a campground around Ouray, so the bike will be at lest 70 lb lighter :jack and a knobby tire in the back, instead of a mitas e07

    I don't know if I should give Imogene a try.
    #29
  10. enduro-ince

    enduro-ince dirtslave

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    Harder for sure. Do Last Dollar, Bolam, US Basin, Stony, Engineer, Cinnamon, and Ophir first. Ophir is a mess this year but still probably easier than Imogene overall.
    #30
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  11. Lucky Explorer

    Lucky Explorer Traveled the world

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    So subjective. My wife and I have done Imogene twice on a 650 Elefant and on a Dakar Marathon Elefant(42" seat). But once I fell over on Cinnamon and broke all metatarsals in my right foot...great ortho surgeon btw out of C Butte! So what I am saying is if you are good dirt rider and ride 2-up most of the time, probably will succeed. Have fun.
    PS I dont care for Poughkeepsie Gultch or Schofield pass two up!
    Allen
    #31
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  12. MountainsandRivers

    MountainsandRivers loves dirty things!

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    Dr Gloria Beim? She put may ankle back together the last time I decided to add a few more lines to the pictures of my ankle...
    #32
  13. Lucky Explorer

    Lucky Explorer Traveled the world

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    Absolutely, we see her once in awhile. She was a HD Sportster rider. After my foot, she sold it. I recovered well in about 6 mos. Back in late '90s. Great lady.
    Allen
    #33
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  14. UtahGuido

    UtahGuido Long timer Supporter

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    Just got back from Westfest (a good time) where we did Black Bear and Imogene on Day 1, and the Corkscrew, Hurricane, California, and Engineer on Day 2. Day 2 was easier. Maybe being fresh noobs to Colorado mountain riding had something to do with it and we were getting acclimated on Imogene but I think it is the general consensus that Imogene is the hardest. For me the uphill on the Telluride side wasn't as bad as the relentless downhill down into Ouray. Lots of focus on the front tire on that one.

    We had a mishap going up Imogene though. On one of those steep straight sections I was a little liberal with the gas and lost traction and spun into the bank. There were 4 bikes behind me, two made it by but the other two got stuck too. So now we had a cluster with none of us able to get enough traction to get going again. About this time a tour truck rounded the bend and came up to where we were flailing. The driver commented that he had seen this before and suggested that best thing to do is coast back down and give it another try (and get out of the way). Duh. I hadn't thought of that. So we did and our second attempt, with steady throttle and momentum, was successful. And the tour guy delivered his clients got to the top of the pass.
    #34
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  15. Merfman

    Merfman Cape truster... Supporter

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    One other thing to note: The condition/difficulty of the passes can change drastically with weather. Many trails I've ridden that had "moderate" climbs in them now have "boulder hops" due to erosion... don't assume that just because Ophir was easy in 2017 that it'll be easy in 2018....
    #35
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  16. sceep

    sceep Long timer

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    ^^Thats impressive right there.:eekers:eekers
    #36
  17. Gargantuan

    Gargantuan Been here awhile

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    Very true. I've also noticed that the passes can be much more difficult right after they've been 'worked on.'
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  18. Roux-80

    Roux-80 Been here awhile Supporter

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    Thanks for those advices. I will see next year, If its too hard I will always have the option to rent a jeep.
    #38
  19. tomdubz

    tomdubz getting there Supporter

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    'Cuzzats what I bought it fer.
    IMG_20180917_075809.jpg

    Did Ophir and Imogene last weekend at Westfest. From Ouray, took Ophir to Telluride and then Imogene back. Loved every second of it.

    Is there another bike that I could've enjoyed the 300 mile ride to and from and still enjoyed the passes as much? Maybe. Then again, it's my only vehicle so it's my only option.
    #39
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  20. timeOday

    timeOday Long timer

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    I did Imogene from the Telluride side on my VStrom 650 several years ago, doable but not too easy for me especially back then. (Also Black Bear, which was outright scary).

    I had tried Imogene on a 1st-gen VStrom 1000 a couple years before that (with 60 lb of luggage in 3 hard cases) and did not make it, in fact I did the rest of that 2 week trip with a broken footpeg. (That was 10 years ago, I bet I couldn't even pick up that bike without unloading it anymore :cry).

    One thing to really consider is the weather. Rain makes it a lot more slippery, especially if you are on street tires. A knobby will help.

    It is a lot easier on a 650 or smaller thumper, with some ground clearance. But you can take a lot of bikes a lot of places if you just go slooowww (but never stop on an uphill)...


    [​IMG]

    Hmm, I see that was before I even had riding boots. What a doofus.

    [​IMG]
    #40