Saline Preservation Association

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Mr.T

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 #46 
I'm headed in via Dedekera Canyon and Steele Pass in a few days, and planned on exiting via South Pass.  Driving a short Jeep with locking diffs, do you think South Pass is impassable, even with some amature road building?

BTW, Thanks for posting the conditions.
paul belanger

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 #47 
Attempted south pass today, 09/15/12.  No WAY anyone is getting through.  About 1.2 miles past the Hunter cut-off, about 16 miles in, there was a washout no Jeep, No 4x4, nothing could cross.  It is OUT till the graders get there, whenever.  Huge boulders everywhere.

I tried to go around on Hunter mountain, Teakettle , etc, got about 16 miles and came to a ponded out section of the Hidden Valley flatlands that was at least 20 car lengths long.  Didn't want to risk it, turned around.  Lost a tire on my trailer anyway.  We are now holed up in the Comfort Inn in Lone Pine.  The good folks at Miller Towing/Tires told me they have the replacement trailer tire and would come to their shop on Saturday night @ 6:30 to help, for $75 extra.  Nice!

We are going to try the North Pass tomorrow morning.  If we find something uncrossable, we are heading back to LA. 

Today was the first time in 25 years I could not get to Saline at all from the South Pass.  Had some hairy crossings in the past, but always got through.

Anyone with info on North, please respond.
Salt Peter

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 #48 
Great update on S. Pass. Those temps are still too hot for my taste. I am curious about Lippencott as the washout towards the bottom, before the final drop into the valley, was getting worse over the past two years. If the past few storms hit it hard it could become unpassable.
Yonderman
 #49 
Also hope to hear from people who go up to Saline this weekend...
Yonderman
 #50 
Hi Sam - thanks ever so much for these comments. Most useful. I can visualise what you are talking about as Saline is so memorable. I have been down since 1996,with breaks only in 1998 and 1999. Please send pics to nzburningman at yahoo dot com.
I would love to get down there late next week.
Mark
Sam D.

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 #51 
The stream crossings might not be an issue  - on my way back some water evaporated so it was easier. On my way there the water level was 1/2" below my door. Anything deeper than that and I would've had flooding in the cabin. I actually got out and took a measuring tape to make sure it was passable. Still I got stuck and spent 15 min piling rocks. Other ruts were pretty deep. They seemed innocent but when the front tires dropped into the ruts, the mud guards on the bumper and what I believe the muffler touched the ground many times. So, to pass some of the ruts I had to get out and use my shovel to fill the ruts with rocks and dirt to avoid loosing my bumper and my muffler and not to break oil pan and what not.

I also rent, so this time I went to LAX for best selection and prices. I have a membership (free in most cases) in several rental places so I can pick any SUV on the lot in the category I reserved. So I walked around the lot to see if there was any 4x4 available.
The tires on 4x4 rentals are regular single ply tires. That's why I carry a bucket full of plugs and patches and a bunch of fix-a-flats and cigarette lighter based heavy duty tire inflator and an old fashion tube I can inflate inside the punctured tire. Having exited on a doughnut tire and a hose wrapped around my rim before and knowing how difficult it was even when N. Pass was great,  I would not go to Saline without my repair kit and 5 ton heavy duty Come Along. I also carry a full size jack so I do not have to rely on the crappy one provided by the car maker. I also reduce the tire pressure by 2 psi once I leave the pavement. If the rental does not have a full size spare (most do not) then loosing a tire might stop you from being able to drive as the doughnut tire will lower your vehicle enough not to be able to pass those ruts. You might want to think about it.

I took some pictures I can email you if you PM me your email. The problem is that my cell phone camera reduces everything by 4 times. So, when I look at the rut it took me 30 min to fill, on the picture it looks like a bump in the road.
Yonderman
 #52 

Thanks Sam. Yes usually rent. The tyres on those rentals are usually road-trail. What are the worst parts of the sth pass route? You mentioned the stream crossings over the pass, but I assume theres more.

Sam D.

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 #53 
I doubt any work will be done in 1 week. If you rent, try booking a larger suv?
Yonderman
 #54 
It looks like this might be my first year in 10 that I dont get down to the springs during my annual visit from NZ. I usually use the likes of Rav4s, Ford Escapes etc to get down there. How different will things be by this time next week, which was my scheduled time for being there?  Impossible question.
Lysdexic

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 #55 
A couple came over Lippencot in a fairly stock pickup and said it was fine.
Sam D.

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 #56 
If you have off-road tires you can make it in your Explorer. As far as a trailer is concerned - I am not so sure.  There were very few people at the springs during Labor day weekend. A couple in Wrangler with a small trailer camped at the upper springs. I failed to check the clearance of their trailer. The water crossings were awfully deep on Sat but dried up a bit on Tuesday. I got stuck coming in and spent 15 min filling the first crossing with rocks to make it passable. It might rain again before you come in.
A group of Swiss tourists came in 3 custom-lifted Rubicon Jeeps rented in Utah. They developed some sort of a suspension bolt problems but were able to resolve them at the springs. A guy in a modified van spent a day, a couple of folks came in SUV's with off-road tires and left next day. When I left there were only 3 people including the couple at the upper springs.
paul belanger

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 #57 
Sam
Thanks for the recent info.  I have a 2008 Ford Explorer 4x4, it's a slightly better platform for off roading than the 2012 "modified Edge" platform, but your update still makes me a little wary.  It has a nice granny 4x4 low, but not really have a lot of ground clearance.  And I always bring a small trailer.  I was hoping to go the weekend of 09/15.  Food for thought.

So not too many people?  Or just the ones with the right vehicles?

Sam D.

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 #58 
N. Pass is a no go cause it's even worth than S. Pass. A regular who took N. Pass called it a Road from Hell.
Yonderman
 #59 
Wow this is sounding bad...and north pass is totally no go now due to Big Pine Road being closed? I have never not been able to make it to Saline on my annual visit to the area from downunder in the last 10 years. I generally use the "softer" AWD like Rav4s or Ford Escapes. Sounds like this is no go. I was planning to head down to Saline in just over a week. Nothing will have changed by then I assume? I may therefore be making alternative plans for the first time in yonks :-( Any comments appreciated. Thanks. YM
Sam D.

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 #60 
Just came back from the springs. My 2012 Ford Explorer 4WD barely made it. It took me 5 hrs to drive via S. Pass to pavement stopping and piling rocks and filling ruts with dirt. I scraped the bottom few times and had to use 4x4  5-6 times climbing up. I did get stuck in seemingly harmless sand rut on my way in and it took me 30 min of hard shovel work to get myself free. The water crossings were really deep on the way in. I had to put some rocks into the first crossing to make it passable - I got stuck in that crossing. Do not spin your wheels in the 1st crossing - you are going to send rocks into your undercarriage.  On the way back the water levels were OK.  Save yourself some money and trouble.  Miller can charge way more when the roads are this bad.

Last year I took S. Pass out and I ended up loosing both rear shocks on an SUV of the year Chevy Traverse. Last year's S. Pass was a high speed highway in comparison to what I experienced this time.

Custom lift offroaders can make it. So can large 4x4's with off road tires. Everything else - you are taking your chances. I think I would not be able to make it in an AWD Ford Edge. I definitely would not be able to make it in my friend's 4x4 RAV4 - low clearance. And to whoever wanted to take his 33ft bus, please do not - you are going to block the only road for days.
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