Both bikes that ended up with bent rims (SV650 and R1200GS) had cast wheels. Apparently they are significantly weaker than spoked wheels.
I ran into all kinds of stuff, and the stock spoked wheels on my 1150 GSA were fine.
As long as you have spoked wheels, I think you should be good. Just bring a few extra tubes and the gear to switch them out. I am a definite noob in the dirt, but I think steel pass on a lighter bike would be a good ride. I may do it again, but from the North this time. The ride from the Springs heading North is all up hill until you start coming down into Eureka Valley. Traction going downhill wouldn't be too much of a factor.
Following pictures... Fun with bent rims in the middle of nowhere.