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 #16 
Idaho Jim,
Is your truck a long bed? I haven't been through Steele Pass with my new pickup, an F250 crewcab longbed.  It is lifted with 35's.  I just haven't wanted to try it, not fit, and then have to drive all the way around.  Thanks.
Allen
Idaho Jim

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 #17 

I heard the Major didn't make it up South Pass, I left the springs on Friday morning with my F350 4 door one ton. For all you guys who say a big truck can't make it out Steel, I beg to differ. I did it in 2 and a half hours. It's nice to know there is another way out when the passes are snowed  in.

SilverBob

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 #18 
I got a phone call from the springs this morning!  It was Garbage Mike who has somehow made his cell phone work in camp!  He reported that he went through Steel pass along with Terry Wright and Chateau Johnnie.  They made it, but it took Mike 7 hours to cover the 30 or so miles between Eureka Dunes and Upper Spring.  He had a hard time getting his 4x4 Chevy truck up the first steps in DeDeckera Canyon, and said that recent water flow has exposed all the sharp rocks that had been covered with sand in the past.  That said, he did make it in with no apparent damage to his truck. 

There you have it; if you're willing to drive 4-5 mph. for 7 hours, you too could be at the springs for the Presidents' Day festivities.  Oh yeah, you'll have to do the same thing to get home again! 

The good part is that there were only 5 people in camp when he called, and 3 of them were them!

SilverBob 
Stuck Chuck

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 #19 
azl, I just check your PDF on Steel Pass out of Olancha, it's a lot more than just four hours.

If you're going to camp out in Mojove, which about 6 hours out of San Jose, you can make Mammoth about the same amount of time going over 88 or 50.

Bishop is another 45 minutes from Mammoth. Then the drive via Steel will be quicker and shorter.
Stuck Chuck

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 #20 
Another suggestion, if you're going to take 88, 50 or 80 and 395 go to http://www.safetravelusa.com/nv/

A map comes up that shows current chain controls across the mountains and 395.

Another usefull site: http://www.dot.ca.gov/cgi-bin/roads.cgi
Enter the highway number and it will give you current status.
Stuck Chuck

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 #21 
It's a lot more than 70 extra miles going through Steel bypassing the south pass.
 
If you're coming out of San Jose, you would be better off taking the scenic route over 88 or 50 and down 395 to Big Pine. From there take North Death Valley Road through Eureka Valley and head for the dunes. Follow the road around the dunes, and soon you'll hit the staircase which is only about 50 or 75 yards of rocky rough road and you're home free after that.
 
The springs are about 85 miles from Big Pine via Steel Pass.
 
Getting out or back in one day can be done, figure a 12+ hour drive with the suggested route.
azl

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 #22 
Thanks, guys. I'm coming from the south. Actually the Bay Area but since there's mountains in the way it's south for me.

It looks like Steel is about 70 miles longer per my maps:

South Pass

Steel Pass


I'm thinking it's too long to get out and back to San Jose in a day.
Stuck Chuck

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 #23 

It takes me about three to four hours from the dunes to the springs over Steel Pass and vice versa. I take my time, stop and enjoy the sites a bit on the way in and out. It's slow going 10-15 mph all the way. If there's snow, it may take a bit longer. I plan to take a lot of pictures this week, should be very pretty and it's always an enjoyable ride.

Attached Images
jpeg Dogs,_Saline_November_2004_052.jpg (477.89 KB, 27 views)

SilverBob

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 #24 
I never actually checked the mileage, but it takes me the same amount of time to drive through Steel Pass and get to Big Pine as it does to go all the way out the South Pass and up 395.  I know the mileage is less, so I figure that's a win.

SilverBob
azl

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 #25 
How long does it take you guys to drive Steel Pass? It looks like about 150 miles from Olancha to the springs via that route.
terryw100@gmail.com

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 #26 
all wise advice, the newer wider tacomas are having rock scraping probs in dedecker canyon stair steps, just go slow and be careful, and dont screw up too badly so the rest of us cant get in.  teedub

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terrywrightgeology.com
links to blog and picasasite
timboeing

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 #27 
Well said Bob!
It looks as though it may be quite the adventure for many a Springer. As most of us know, bringing the kitchen sink, has always been the standard when it comes to being prepared. Tools, jacks, a good spare tire and extra food just in case. I know from an extended stay (not by my choice) how frustrating being stuck can be. Good luck to you all...!!!
Timbo
SilverBob

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 #28 
Years ago, I sat in the Sunrise Pool one Spring morning with several other folks, including my good friend, the late "Turtle Jim".  The North Pass had been snowed in for weeks, so I mentioned that I had driven in the night before through Steel Pass.  Another fellow started peppering me with questions about the drive; How long?  How far? How rough?  (just like the questions I've been getting by e-mail this week).  After I'd described the road as well as I could, the man asked "Well, do you think I could make it through in that?" pointing to a nicely equipped Toyota truck (lifted, big AT tires, etc.).  Turtle Jim's reply came immediately.  "I don't know; I've never seen you drive!"   

Armed with that wisdom of the ages, I no longer recommend Steel Pass to anyone I don't know.  I don't want to feel any responsibility for sending someone to the most remote part of Death Valley National Park on one of the longest rough dirt roads in the state.  Do what you want to do, Just don't say I told you to!

I've driven in and out Steel Pass dozens of times over the last 20 or so years.  I've done it in my stock '71 Bronco, and now in my '97 Jeep TJ with stock size 30" AT tires.  I've never had any problems whatsoever.  I've caravanned with friends in short bed 4x4 pickups who made it both directions with little difficulty.  The only folks I've seen have problems are those with long wheelbase pickups.  Unless you have a longbed truck with a hinge in the middle, or a real tall lift (think 38" tires or more) the possibility of sheet metal damage is very real. 

Just be responsible, take your time, be prepared to spend extra nights camped out if anything goes wrong, travel with a group, wear clean underwear, and don't ever tell anyone that I told you to do it!

SilverBob
Albin

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 #29 
Keep in mind with all the rain, the trail from Upper Hot Springs to just below Steel Pass may be - gone! 

When my son and I were there Summer 2008, the summer rains had wiped out this part of the trail.  I was only able to pick my way NE to Steel Pass due to my Garmin 260W GPS unit.  Just below Steel Pass, we picked up the undamaged trail again.

Otherwise, Upper Hot Springs to Steel Pass isn't hard.  There are some stair steps north of Steel Pass (something canyon - don't recall), but it isn't too hard, just take it easy and you should be fine in your Jeep.

One pic of the stair steps:



More pics of Saline Valley and the stair steps here:  http://www.rocketcityrockcrawlers.com/pubpics/2008_Summer_Desert_Trip/Al_08_05/index.htm

Good luck and have a great trip!

Al


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 #30 

It looks bad, but I have a Jeep Cherokee XJ with 1.5 lift in rear, stock front and 31 inch tires and it goes right on thru.  Just go slow and pick a good line.

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