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Old 07-09-2014, 03:19 PM   #29
kramsetac OP
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Joined: Mar 2006
Location: Seattle
Oddometer: 143
Ophir Pass

A couple of comments on Ophir Pass.

Last year we went through Ophir from east to west. The east approach is very different from the west. While the west is a casual climb to the top, the east approach starts at 5000' (valley floor) and climbs relentlessly up a loose gravel and baby head rock strewn road all the way to the peak at 10,000'. So…that is a non-stop 5,000' climb with full camping gear and full gas. And, for those of us who normally live at sea level, the air at 10,000' feet is thin -- meaning that you are very tired AND out of breath at the top of the eastern climb. And if you fall on the way up…you have the opportunity to pick up your heavily laden bike and then get restarted on a steep loose hill. Sounds great, eh? Remember the NFS non-recommendation?

Honestly, when compared to Jefferson pass, it really isn't that hard. Its just that it is soooo damn long and unrelenting.

Timing. Last year, we came through two weeks later than this year and missed any blocking snow drifts (apparently by a couple of days). Given that the snow pack in Northern Nevada was low this year AND my assurances from the locals, we figured we would be able to blow through this year. Sigh.

Realistically, I think Ophir is best done in late June at the earliest and…if possible west to east. Its really not that hard a hill except for the length, so coming down isn't really much of a challenge (of course, I thought Jefferson was easy to come down, so consider the source!)

Bikes. You could probably take a street bike to the top of Ophir from the west (and then turn around and go back down). From the east, I would hesitate to take anything bigger than a KLR. Last year, we had one rider on a KLR who motored up, but he was a really experienced rider. Certainly, a bike bigger than a single would be a bad idea -- going up or down.

Some pictures from last year's east side climb (go here for the ride report):

The paved turn off coming north from Carvers


The nice cruise for about the first 1/4 mile of the east side:


Going up


My only picture of the actual climb. I stopped and leaned my bike against the rock wall to go down and help one of our guys pick up his bike after a fall. The picture doesn’t do the incline justice, but you get a sense of the rocks and length of the climb.


This is where the snow drift was this year:


And the top last year:
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