December 21, 2007 road conditions

Message posted by JB737 on December 27, 2007 at 20:57:26 PST:

I'm just recapping part of my recent post, into this old "Badger Spring snow blockage date" thread, for reference by anyone finding the thread in a future search.

Driving a compact, front wheel drive rental car on December 21, I made it to elevation 6258 on the road. I barely had room to turn around and park nearby at at N37 19.878 W115 19.135

That was 2.0 air miles and 700 vertical feet below where I would normally park to begin a Tikaboo attempt.

I had inflated the tires to 42psi (max allowable was 44psi marked on sidewall) to give myself as much ground clearance as possible, which in my opinion outweighed any soft-surface-traction benefits or puncture resistance of lower tire pressure. I brought an air pump in case I had to vary the tire pressure back and forth.

There was little or no snow on the road for the first 10 miles or so. After the seismic station, there was some snow, then more and more, increasing up to about 4-5 inches deep where I stopped. There were 3 or 4 somewhat dangerous sections (in terms of risk of getting stuck in a rut/wash/gully or not being able to keep the car on/aligned with the road) to get through, which would have been easy in any serious 4WD. There were many more sections where the going was just slow rather than dangerous, with repeated backing up and taking multiple runs to blaze a path uphill near the limits of FWD traction.

A serious 4WD truck passed me above where I parked my car as I descended on foot, and presumably made it to the Spring with ease.

Hiking uphill in 4 inches of crunchy snow, even on a dirt road, is more work than it sounds like. 100 feet of vertical progress felt like 250 or 300 vertical feet of effort. Multiply that by 7, and you are at Badger Spring ready to begin a winter attempt on Tikaboo from where you normally would have been getting out of your car in summer conditions well fed and well rested. Yet in snow you would probably be ready to pull out your backpacking stove and trying to light it, get something cooking, etc.

In my case, a perfectly clear sky turned to thin overcast in a matter of 15 minutes, with forecasts of possible snow showers, so I turned around. You must be very careful not to get trapped at a point where more snow would endanger your vehicle's ability to get out, as some of the difficult sections are essentially dry river crossings with uphill banks in both directions.


In Reply to: Typical Badger Spring snow-blockage dates? posted by JB737 on September 10, 2007 at 12:50:21 PST:


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