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Old 11-02-2014, 11:39 AM   #1
mtbh2o OP
El Dorado Hills, Ca.
 
Joined: May 2005
Oddometer: 51
Saline Valley - Steel Pass

Went for a ride Friday on my DR650 from Big Pine to the Saline Valley Hot Springs and then headed up for Steel Pass and Eureka Dunes. Question, I did this trip a couple of years ago and didn't have too much trouble. This trip, about 15 miles out from the Hot springs I hit deep gravel and powder with lots of rocks to jump over. Rear tire buried. I hit a 6 foot rise about a mile or so from Steel Pass and could not make it up. Spent an hour trying to pile rocks to get some traction etc. all to no avail. It was about 4:30 and I wanted to be back to Big Pine before dark and realized, No Way. So after about an hour I made the decision to turn around go back out and make a run for the truck. Made it back about 6:45 the last 5 or 6 miles in the dark on Saline Valley Road. I would like to know if anyone has gone up Steel Pass sole recently and did they have any luck making it over the pass?

Thanks
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Old 11-02-2014, 09:55 PM   #2
MotoScooter
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Steel Pass

Rode it last year from the dunes to the hot springs. No problem. Buzzed by fighter jets which was pretty cool. Thx for the warning.
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:16 PM   #3
2on2off
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washout on steele pass

The conditions change from year to year especially on the passes in and out of Saline Valley mainly because of summer storms that create washouts when the rain is heaviest.

Larryboy already gave me the "heads up" about the washout on Steele Pass but it appears your are the first rider to attempt it this fall.

If you had a gps with you, it would be helpful to know the gps coordinates of the actual location of the washout.

I don't know what it is going to take to make that washout passable on a bike. Do you think a few guys with shovels could make a path out of it?

It would be great if you could post some pictures of the washout. Which direction were you heading when you came across the washout?

I heard a 4x4 made it through but broke one of his axles in the process.
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Old 11-03-2014, 08:18 AM   #4
mtbh2o OP
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I am quite sure that you could make the ride over Steel Pass if you were going from Eureka Dunes to Saline Valley instead of the reverse. The washout presented a drop of 6 or 7 feet and gravity would have taken me down with no problem. (possibly a little problem) When going up it was a big problem. Not only was the climb quite steep, but you were starting in loose gravel on a 90 degree turn with no possibility of getting any momentum. You were starting from a dead standstill.

It would also be possible to make the climb if you had two riders and one had a rope. I think that if I were not solo and we had a rope, one rider could stand on top of the climb and help.

I also have a BMW 1150 gs and I was very glad I was not on that instead of my DR650. I have taken the 1150 over many of the roads in Death Valley including Lippencot but this would have been a problem for me.

My guess is that this is the location that the 4x4 broke an axle. I have done this trip a couple of times in my short wheel base 4x4 going from Eureka Dunes into the valley and it was never this bad.
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Old 11-04-2014, 08:54 AM   #5
2on2off
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Riding the washout

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtbh2o View Post
I am quite sure that you could make the ride over Steel Pass if you were going from Eureka Dunes to Saline Valley instead of the reverse. The washout presented a drop of 6 or 7 feet and gravity would have taken me down with no problem. (possibly a little problem) When going up it was a big problem. Not only was the climb quite steep, but you were starting in loose gravel on a 90 degree turn with no possibility of getting any momentum. You were starting from a dead standstill.

It would also be possible to make the climb if you had two riders and one had a rope. I think that if I were not solo and we had a rope, one rider could stand on top of the climb and help.

I also have a BMW 1150 gs and I was very glad I was not on that instead of my DR650. I have taken the 1150 over many of the roads in Death Valley including Lippencot but this would have been a problem for me.

My guess is that this is the location that the 4x4 broke an axle. I have done this trip a couple of times in my short wheel base 4x4 going from Eureka Dunes into the valley and it was never this bad.
Thanks for the information. Is there any chance of dropping into the washout and then riding either direction to a place where you could ride out of it with less difficulty?
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Old 11-05-2014, 04:48 PM   #6
mtbh2o OP
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Once you make the drop into the washout there should not be too much problem riding down to the hot springs and then either out over North Pass to Big Pine or the other way out toward Panamint Springs. I did not mark the exact time but I think it took me about 45 minutes of fast hard riding down toward the hot springs. It would have normally taken me longer but darkness was approaching so I was pushing pretty hard.
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Old 11-13-2014, 08:03 PM   #7
rlmankins
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steel pass to the eureka dunes is impassible. After the 6 ft hill, takes 3 people to drag the bikes up it. no fun. when going down the pass to the Eureka Dunes there is a 12 ft deep washout off a rock ledge. absolutely impossible without dynamite and heavy equipment. Not sure if it will ever be passable again. So glad i rode it this spring.
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Old 11-14-2014, 11:22 PM   #8
heavy Cy
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Steel pass wash out

HOLY CATS! I am lucky. Glad I didn't make it there. I was out there (from Chicago!) three weeks ago right now, solo, on a BMW G650 Sertao rented from MotoQuest in Long Beach (had 543mi and new knobbies when I pulled away Friday afternoon). Camped in Lone Pine Fri night. Sat started up Saline Valley Rd with the intention of going up and back down Lippincott and heading up Steele Pass camping at the springs, then on to Eureka Dunes.

After going up Lippincott I could NOT get the ABS turned off and was not about to descend Lippincott with no brakes so I went out Racetrack Rd, Ubehehe Crater (totally dark by then) then south to Panamint Springs that night. Guess I'da been fine retracing my path back out from Steele to SVR but it worked out fine seeing Racetrack etc near sundown. I will say that Racetrack Rd's incessant corrugations (fairly violent to the suspension) were worse than Lipincott's rocks. I was glad to be on a rental bike cause they're capable of some amazing shit your personal bike just can't do. I kept telling myself "I would NOT want to be riding my personal bike on this!"

BTW, Kudo's taking your 1150 up Lippincott.
I was talking to myself climbing up there saying "You'd have to be sick in the head to bring bigger than a 650 up here!" My buddy from SF (w/GS1150) had to bail on this trip. I was actually glad for him we weren't pushing an extra 200 lbs of bike up there.

For a Chicago boy this is a dream area. You are so lucky in CA. Chicaggah's got nuthin to offer motorcyclists 'cept bar hoppin pirates, especially nuthin for an ADV rider.
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heavy Cy screwed with this post 11-25-2014 at 11:30 PM
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