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I know that one ranger has been in Steele Pass and out South Pass recently (within the last two weeks).  There were probably others.  Lee has used both North and South Passes over the last few months.  The drags have been used several times over the Bat Rock Road.  The road surface isn't the problem.  The drags will not fill in the deep narrow dips that can hang-up a vehicle with long overhang or low clearance.  That will require a grader or a whole bunch of shovel work.
Major Tom

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Posts: 353
Fun Fun Debby said there is a foot and a half of snow on the south pass. I am awaiting a call from Jeff myself. I will pass along information as I am able to get it. 

Major Tom

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Message from Bonneau:

I called Twyla (phonetic) (760 868 0366, 6, 4) at the Inyo County Road Department around 3:30 today, 11/22/13, Friday and inquired about the road through the North Pass.

She said that it is her understanding that there is still a 40-foot washout near the Willow Creek Ranch.  I have the impression that there is a way around this.

Twyla did not know if the D7 bulldozer had in fact been delivered on 11/19/13, as scheduled.

She said that Jeff Anderson, the superintendent for District 2, had just returned from the North Pass and told her that there is a foot and a half of snow in it and that the County crew only barely got out.

Twyla said that she could not see the Inyo Mountains from her office in Independence along Highway 395, that it is snowing heavily, and that Panamint Springs and Death Valley are reporting rain.  This almost certainly means that the South Pass too has snow.  

I am still hoping to make it for Thanksgiving but this is grim.  I do not want to die trying.

Can anyone who has gone in or come out provide up to date road information?


Bonneau Dickson
The wine guy.

Posts: 4
does anyone know what route the ranger and the camphost are getting in and out by?  north, south, steele, hunter????  and is anybody dragging the bat road with those drags that are always sitting there, to make that section of road more passable?

Posts: 294
Just don't get stuck halfway in/out.

Posts: 38
SNOW!!  Down to 5000 ft. Thurs, supposed to get down to 4000 ft. Friday 11/22.  Chains are required on 168, and North Pass is higher than Westgard, so expect snow there.
Chains required on Townes Pass this morning, and snow again tonight 11/22!!  
This should be gone by Sunday, but they're talking more of this happening on Thanksgiving, so watch the weather reports and come prepared to get stuck in Saline IF you can even get in.   What a wonderful thought!  :-)


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Thanks for the report.

Posts: 38
My group went out through the wash and over steel pass from the springs last Sunday. Among the rigs we had a 3rd gen 4runner, 4 door Tacoma, newer landrover , and a 2nd gen 4door Montero. No problems getting any of the rigs through, in fact during lunch we saw a Chevy avalanche come down the steps in Dekeedra(sp) Canyon.

Posts: 32


I called Jeff (760 938 2307) of the Inyo County Road Department today, November 13, 2013, to inquire about the condition of the road through the north pass.  He is in charge of road maintenance in this part of the County. 


Jeff said that graders are working the road through the North Pass and that the first 20 miles are "perfect".  That should get you beyond Whipoorwill Canyon. 


I got the impression that there is more than one grader but I did not get the exact number.  That leaves 15 miles to get to the turn off on Bat Rock Road, according to my odometer.  (From the paved Death Valley Road, 35 miles to the Bat Rock Road turnoff.)


Jeff said that the graders can cover about one to two miles per day.  Assuming 1.5 miles per day, it will take them 10 days to get to the Bat Rock Road turnoff.  That would have them finishing the road on 11/27/13, the day before Thanksgiving. 


Jeff noted that the graders cannot deal with major  washouts.  The County has approved the rental of a D7 bulldozer, which is supposed to arrive on 11/19.  The strategy will be to deploy the bulldozer to pioneer a road through the major washouts and reinstall the washed out culvert at Willow Creek (see below), while the graders continue to work the road. 


Jeff says there is a major washout just before David Rogers'  Willow Creek Ranch.  It took out a culvert.  Some people are swinging off to the right (west), following an old bulldozer ramp, skirting past the fence of the Willow Creek Ranch and getting back to the road. 


There is another major washout just beyond the Willow Creek Ranch.


Jeff said that the field crews have reported that people are getting through the North Pass Road but I did not get any information on what type of vehicle was necessary to get through.  (I have a Subaru wagon).


Jeff said that the road through the South Pass is officially closed but that even though it is extremely rough, people are getting through. 


Jeff thinks that a lot of the debris that was washed out, along with the road, was deposited on the Bat Rock Road.  I think several people have reported that the Bat Rock Road is in bad condition, but I have not seen anyone say that it is impassable. 


Jeff said that Steele Pass is passable for small (Jeep?) vehicles.


Jeff emphasized that he and Inyo County cannot guarantee that the road will be open by Thanksgiving.  Use the information above at your own risk.  (And shoot any attorney who offers to help you file a law suit against the County.)


Anyway, things are looking up.  I hope to be there Saturday evening, 11/23/13.


Come around for a glass of wine and/or to sing/play a broken hearted and blood curdling bluegrass song with me. 


Happy Thanksgiving to all, heartfelt appreciation to the Inyo County Road Department,  and warmest regards to all who visit Saline Valley, the nation's best national park.



Bonneau Dickson.

The Wine Guy.




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