The High Sierra Passes thread. Tales and Photos

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

  1. michaeln

    michaeln What're YOU lookin' at? Supporter

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    ... and you can still get to Ali's for lunch in Markleeville.
  2. skag

    skag No Monkeys

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    D image.jpeg the pics from this year will be epic
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  3. elcabong

    elcabong Been here awhile

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    Just came back from an 1100 mile trip from So. Cal. to South Lake Tahoe. 395 North, side tracked to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest (168) to Bishop (tent camped around South Lake / E. Line St). Next day onto Hwy 6 / Benton continued on SR120 and back onto 395 North. Continued to Hwy 89 to South Lake Tahoe. The Carson River was RAGING from the snow melt. Circumnavigated Lake Tahoe and camped out at Fallen Tree Campground for the evening. Next day, headed south, stopped at Bodie (now open), then continued to Lone Pine for the night. Next day, back to the traffic and reality. The best thing about the entire trip was the weather. Very little wind and very mild nights.
    IMG_3586.JPG IMG_3588.JPG IMG_3594.JPG IMG_3617.JPG
    calfroper, socalnative, nvklr and 3 others like this.
  4. michaeln

    michaeln What're YOU lookin' at? Supporter

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    Thanks for the report and the nice photography!
  5. michaeln

    michaeln What're YOU lookin' at? Supporter

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    This is the latest from the CalTrans District 10 Facebook page:

    [​IMG]

    WICKED WINTER DELAYS OPENING OF EBBETTS & SONORA PASSES

    Stockton – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has announced that Ebbetts Pass/State Route 4 (SR-4) and Sonora Pass/SR-108 will not open for Memorial Day weekend. While Caltrans always strives to have these mountain passes open by the holiday weekend, the impact from one of California’s wildest winters in decades is requiring a massive cleanup.

    Caltrans is anticipating that Ebbetts Pass and Sonora Pass will both be open within three to five weeks. Currently, eastbound travelers on Ebbetts Pass can go to the east end of Lake Alpine, while eastbound travelers on Sonora Pass can go as far as Kennedy Meadows.

    This is the second time in the last decade that Ebbetts Pass will not open by Memorial Day weekend, and the first time in the last decade Sonora Pass will not be open by the weekend.

    For a Caltrans News Dash update, please visit http://bit.ly/2rm5oDC.

    Caltrans opened Monitor Pass/SR-89 on May 8, while Yosemite National Park clears Tioga Pass/SR-120 inside the park. Tioga is still being cleared and the park service does not have an estimate for opening.

    Caltrans’ maintenance crews began clearing the mountain passes in April and are working on a 7-day-a-week schedule. They have encountered snow drifts up to 40 feet high, some the result of winter avalanches that sent hillsides of snow, boulders and trees spilling onto the highways.

    Even during years of light snow, Ebbetts Pass and Sonora Pass are challenging when it comes to clearing, repairing and opening the roads. Ebbetts has grades in excess of 23 percent and Sonora has grades that top 20 percent, far beyond typical highway grades of 6 percent. The steep grades, high elevation and narrow lanes on these highways are unable to accommodate snow removal equipment and vehicular traffic at the same time.

    Opening the passes involves more than merely clearing snow from the highway. Trees, shrubs, rocks and other debris that accumulate over winter are removed, while Caltrans inspects the road and makes repairs before it is deemed safe and opened for travel.


    For the latest in highway information please call our Road Condition Hotline at 1-800-427-ROAD (7623).
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  6. Andrew

    Andrew Optimus Primer Super Moderator Super Supporter

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    I flew over Yosemite today. Tioga pass is clear, but the road is solid snow a few miles west of the pass. Tenaya Lake is utterly snowbound, I couldn't see where the western crew was, but looks like weeks before the east and west crews will meet.
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  7. michaeln

    michaeln What're YOU lookin' at? Supporter

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    We whine because we want to ride, but what an incredible task it would be to clear even one of Ebbetts, Sonora, and Tioga passes.

    Just think about the road and the distance from Lake Alpine to Markleeville on Highway 4 and imagine ALL of that being covered by 10 to 40 feet of snow, fallen trees, huge boulders... it blows me away those folks can clear it at all.
    High Country Herb and rjnutt like this.
  8. michaeln

    michaeln What're YOU lookin' at? Supporter

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    I also read that the entirety of Highway 4 is being cleared by two 4 man crews. That doesn't even seem possible. We owe those guys a nice dinner!
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  9. bdesj

    bdesj Been here awhile

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    I`ll buy them dinner at Lake Alpine. As soon as they open the road to get over to it!
    Seriously though, that is one hell of a job.
  10. michaeln

    michaeln What're YOU lookin' at? Supporter

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    You can get to Lake Alpine and a little uphill of it now. It was frozen last week though.
  11. bdesj

    bdesj Been here awhile

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    From Reno, that`s the long way around and misses the good part.
  12. slogger

    slogger Been here awhile

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    I noticed a flood advisory in some eastern Sierra areas. Looks like the snow is beginning to melt. Sounds like it's going to get interesting up there.
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  13. michaeln

    michaeln What're YOU lookin' at? Supporter

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    I saw it happening in Yosemite Valley last week. The Merced is out of its banks, there were places where there was a couple of inches of river water running across the road.

    More to come, with this warm weather.
  14. oldxr

    oldxr Long timer

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    Once a year I usually do a dual sport ride into Leavitt Lake on top of Sonora pass for an overnight camping trip.Probably will have to wait till mid September.
  15. browneye

    browneye PIN IT & BANG GEARS

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    This should be a banner year for chasing waterfalls if that's your thing. :clap

    Kings Canyon, circa 2011:

    [​IMG]
  16. michaeln

    michaeln What're YOU lookin' at? Supporter

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    This morning, rode up 26 to West Point, then Winton Road out of West Point.

    [​IMG]

    Now the gate at the fire station is open so you have access to the FS roads. Did't see any snow. Rode up 7N09 for a ways. It is dirt at the fire station and stays dirt for a while, then it becomes paved for a while, and then back to dirt. There were lots of trees down across the road and I actually had to ride over a couple. My new suspension worked great, sucking up the water cuts across the road nicely.

    I turned back shortly after taking this picture. I was alone, the road had sandy sections that the front Shinko 804 really did not like, and I was not looking forward to picking up that pig if I dropped it in the sand.

    [​IMG]

    Luckily when I got home my Goldentyre GT723s were on the porch.
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  17. Need For Speed

    Need For Speed Is that a cop?????

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    Please keep updating the road conditions as you experience or find out about them.

    Due to be up that way in a month or so and hoping to ride Ebbetts...
  18. michaeln

    michaeln What're YOU lookin' at? Supporter

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    Been trying to... ;-)
  19. michaeln

    michaeln What're YOU lookin' at? Supporter

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    Caltrans reports on their District 10 Facebook page that the plowing on Highway 4 has reached Mosquito Lake. The road is still only open to the east end of Lake Alpine from the west side and to Raymond Meadow bridge from the east side. It will be 3-5 more weeks until it is all open.

    Caltrans District 9 Facebook page says in part:

    State Route 108 – Sonora Pass
    Crews continue to remove snow and are approximately 1 mile from the summit on the east side and about 2 miles from the summit on the west side. The snowpack is estimated to be 12 to 15 feet on the highway. There is no estimated date for reopening the highway at this time.

    State Route 120 West – Tioga Pass (from the Junction of US 395 to the Yosemite National Park Gate)
    Crews have removed snow up to ½ mile from the Yosemite National Park east entrance gate. The snowpack is estimated to be 12 to 15 feet at the entrance gate. There is no estimated date for reopening the highway at this time. Yosemite National Park is clearing Tioga Road which is inside the park boundary.
  20. Parx400

    Parx400 Long timer

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    Well I dont think 108 will be open in a week for when I'm coming home. Damn.