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Old 06-22-2009, 02:02 PM   #1
PistonPants OP
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Fathers Day in the Alaska Range

Yesterday I took a ride out into the backcountry on the Kawasaki. I hadn't been into the Schist Creek country in a few years and it was time to go in.

The ride starts out on double track through forest and meadows. Then the climb up 'the price of admission': The long steep hill with lots of roots, rocks, loose soil. Once on top, you're above tree line. Alpine riding, my favorite.


The ATV tracks can be followed for several miles before they become faint and you're on your own to find a route. Ten miles or so in, the routefinding gets more complicated with small streams and thickets of alder.




About 15 miles in, a small tributary stream flows down out of the mountains. It cuts a ravine across this plateau that grows thick with willow. I spent an hour or two searching for a way to potentially cross the stream and continue riding on the high treeless plateau. I tried to go up and over a slope of broken granite:


No go. The search came up fruitless, perhaps another time when not travelling solo. Need to drag Shutter Monkey back there and find the way, clear a little brush. You'll read about it here.

Being thwarted in my efforts to cross the stream, I decide to climb into the mountains. I start gaining elevation heading for a cirque at the headwaters of schist creek. At about the 4000ft level, I take a spill and lawn dart the left handlebar into the earth, cleanly shearing off the clutch lever perch.

After a few choice words, and thinking what an inconvenient place to lose any further use of the clutch, I decide to not be deterred and climb higher. I make it only a little further when the wind begins to shriek, temp drops by 25 degrees and rain and hail starts pelting from the sky. I'm sufficiently deterred now. Don my raingear and goggles, take a quick snack and point it downhill.


The altimeter on the camera says 4200ft. The topo map agrees.


Clutch perch busted off, hail and rain pelting down, freezing wind, this is as far as I dare go.


On the way down I encountered about seven caribou cruising the hills, munching lichens. Lacking a clutch, I opt not to stop for photos. I ride for 14 miles to get back home, clutchless shifting, negotiating some nervewracking obstacles without stopping. Getting stalled out in swampy mud or creeek crossings is just not an option. I dropped final gearing a notch right before this ride, which made this feat possible.

I'll hopefully get to try it again soon with Shutter Monkey aboard the Gas Gas to watch my back and a little more time, perhaps to find our way across the revine and further still into the mountains. Stay Tuned..

Piston
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Old 06-22-2009, 02:23 PM   #2
outpostbabu
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Very cool pics!
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Old 06-22-2009, 02:23 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PistonPants

Being thwarted in my efforts to cross the stream, I decide to climb into the mountains. I start gaining elevation heading for a cirque at the headwaters of schist creek. At about the 4000ft level, I take a spill and lawn dart the left handlebar into the earth, cleanly shearing off the clutch lever perch.

For what it's worth, and you may already know this.

A lot of riders don't tighten the front brake or clutch perch super tight.

They leave them just loose enough so when you go down they will spin on the bars.




Nice riding area too.

Nothing like that where I live.
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Old 06-22-2009, 06:52 PM   #4
alberta bob
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sweet pic's were i am its against da rules to ride in the alpine medows all the roads to get to them are closed off.i am very jelus of your back yard .
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:09 PM   #5
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Hmmm... Lower part of that ride looks like it might be pretty good Grizzly country...
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:13 PM   #6
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I gotta tell yah...


...that made me drool on my shirt!

Can't wait for another episode.
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Old 06-22-2009, 07:45 PM   #7
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Yeah we got grizzlies out there. I got bearanoid a few times walking in the brush.....all alone....no self defense.....Many signs where they are digging for ground squirrels and roots. Next time I'll at least take pepper spray.

I'm just scratching the surface of that country, that same creek has stopped me in winter trying to get through on a snowmachine. I'm a persistent bugger though... there must be a way.

In the mean time the JB Weld is curing on the clutch perch in my lame attempt to fix up something temporary until the new part arrives in my PO box.

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Old 06-22-2009, 07:51 PM   #8
Gaston Gagne
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Dude, that is some far out stuff. That appears to be up da line from where you showed me that day. All the best.
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Old 06-23-2009, 02:35 AM   #9
AKDuc
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Nice photos.

Looks like some pretty cool exploring.

And WAY too cool (as in brrrr cold) temperature!

Man, where'd our warm summer temps go anyway?

Thanks for sharing, Mark H.
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Old 06-23-2009, 03:14 AM   #10
GB
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Gorgeous..... tough luck with the clutch perch.. Barkbusters are a must!
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:07 AM   #11
Rellik
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That's a hell of a hairy ride with no clutch! Great job!
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:15 AM   #12
racer
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Nice report. You should invest in a pair of bark busters before your next ride.
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:50 AM   #13
PistonPants OP
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bark busters

Tonight's fun is to steal the hand guards off of the NX650 and put them on the KDX. I also put zip ties, duct tape, bailing wire and bear spray in the backcountry kit.

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Old 06-23-2009, 08:40 AM   #14
DMM
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+1 on Barkbusters.
I'm not sure that this is even an option on your setup/situation (with too little or nothing left of clutch lever), but I've learned from some friends to carry a lockable pair of pliers with me to use if the levers break. Useful for a variety of other mishaps, too.
Friends of mine also do a little drilling on the levers so that they break at the half-way point. Again, allows for something to grab onto in an emergency.
However, substantial barkbusters (Barkbuster brand or other quality make) will go a long way to protecting the levers and your hands.
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Old 06-23-2009, 07:16 PM   #15
PistonPants OP
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The lever didn't break. Just the clutch perch. Bark busters might've prevented it. Not crashing would've definitely prevented it. I usually do not admit to crashing, but I get extra style points for riding her home clutchless.

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