No pictures but I just got word about the Tahoe end of the trail. That word is ICE.
The paved road to the staging area is not too steep but in the few places where it has slope, it’s icy. If you make it to the staging area, considerate it an accomplishment.
Just past the staging area is the first good slope of the trail. The report is it’s all ice. You might start the climb but before you reach the top, you will lose traction and then experience an “Oh Shit” moment as you slide backwards, out of control.
John Briggs of FOTR was there the other day and witnessed a few people try and fail on the climb. Luckily, the sliding rigs came to a safe stop without injury or damage.
Those dedicated to getting up it will surely make it, with a few winch evolutions.
Weather is predicted for the coming weekend. It might add the snow needed for traction or it might just hide the ice underneath. Be cautious.
It has been a slow start to our winter. Only 30% so far. This might make the Rubicon accessible to more people, except for the ice. But please remember the side roads are now all closed for the season. The ENF was last with a Jan 1st closure date.
Please go prepared, with others, a ham radio and drive safe. Let someone know where you are gong and when you plan on returning.
It’s been a long winter. We all want to get out on our trails. Feel free to do so but travel with caution. Although the trail below looks inviting, look closer at the tree across the trail 100 yards out.
The picture below is why I really stopped here. This is the Middle Fork Trail up Blackwood Canyon. It parallels the paved Forest road 03 to Barker Pass. I’ve actually asked the FS to close the trail until repairs can be done.
My fear is someone not paying attention, more likely at night, might drive off the road,
Back to the pictured tree across the trail. There is evidence that people are going off trail to get around the tree. My motto: “Turn Around, Don’t Go Around”. If you come across such an obstacle, use your winch or a strap to clear the problem. If you can’t stay on the trail and clear the obstacle, turn around.
On upper Barker Pass Road, there is still a little snow wheeling to be done.
I didn’t take picture of all the downed trees I came across. Most were smaller or not blocking the entire trail. On a motorcycle, it’s much easier to get around a tree in the trail without doing resource damage.
There are plans in the works to get out to all the side trails off the Rubicon to clear the obstacles. We’ll leave the snow for you though.
Basically, winter seems to be hanging around.
There is still a ton of water on and around the trails. Snow drifts will be found in the shade. Mud in other places. Please Tread Lightly!
Here is the pond at the Ellis Peak Trail intersection. This was taken on June 19th, so most of this is probably gone, but it’s a heck of a lot of snow for June!
The Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit has a list of closed trails on their website. Those trails include, but are not limited to Noonchester, Buck Lake, Middle Fork, Forest Road 03, Twin Peaks, 16E16, etc. It is the users responsibility to know what trails are open or closed regardless of trail and gate conditions.
Although the Tahoe National Forest has not published a list of closed roads, be aware that most of the TNF trails in the Rubicon area will have deep snow drifts for some time.
There are a lot of snags in the forest right now. John Briggs and I spent five hours on June 19th cutting back downed trees along the Rubicon. And that was only between the staging area and the turn for the Ellis Peak Trail at the pond. Be prepared to remove trees from the trail both on the way in and on the way out. Trees could fall after you’ve past and you’ll need a way to get out.
We were able to pull down this snag by hand and cut it up and throw it off the trail. There is plenty of firewood to be had. Go to the Tahoe National Forest office in Truckee for the permit.
Do not drive around downed trees. The motto of this website is: “Turn Around, Don’t Go Around”. That means don’t drive off trail to get around an obstacle be it snow, a tree or just a tough section of trail. The anti-OHV people will use such incidents against us to get our trails closed.
There is a report of a HUGE boulder on the trail below Morris Rock. It would be great to split it up and harden the trail with a few smaller obstacles. Until that boulder is moved or reduced in size, Cadillac Hill will be very tough to get up.
Another report had Miller Creek flowing at 48″ deep. I find this hard to believe but if it’s anywhere near true, it will be tough to cross. The section west of there will be VERY wet and very deep in places. Check the depth before you charge in to any water holes.
There was a report of four rigs stuck on the trail, two with blown motors. One of those was in that wet section described above. I’m hoping work has been done to start the removal of those rigs. The two snow bound rigs were removed earlier and both driven out under their own power.
I believe that this one had a blown motor. If you look closely, the trail is up on the snow bank. But the snow bank is a little off camber and thus the heightened pucker factor. The rig it technically off trail. Remember, “Turn Around, Don’t Go Around”.
Just received from Vickie Sander of El Dorado County:
Sun, May 21 2017 2:35 PM
Condition exist on the Rubicon Trail that warrant closure. The monitoring protocols have been met. I am sending this to the ROC email list to get the information out as soon as possible and will post to the County website tomorrow. Loon Lake to the Intertie is not effected by this closure. With the upcoming holiday it is important that we get this information out.
My understanding is that this is a water running on the trail issue. With the warm temperatures, the excessive snow melt over runs the rolling dips and water bars. There are certain spots that get measured on a regular basis during the melt and it the water is deeper than allowed, motor vehicle traffic is temporarily suspended.
Hopefully these ‘trouble’ spots are documented and better features are placed on the trail to prevent future closures.
This only effects the Wentworth Springs section of the trail. I assume Airport Flat to the Ellis Creek (Loon Lake) intertie.
Vickie will email users when the conditions change and the trail is reopened.
I ventured out to the Rubicon today (3/2/2017) and found the largest wall I’ve ever seen at the entrance to the Rubicon.
The directional sign we put in last year seems to be tall enough, so far.
Looking down the last street toward the entrance to the Rubicon Trail. Notice the height of the snow on either side of the road.
But when you get to the Rubicon, the snow is now 14′ tall!
My truck is about 6′ tall. At least the Rubicon Trail sign is visible.
What concerns me are the HUGE rotary blade marks in the wall. Private snow removal guys don’t have machines that big. Only the County has those.
I’ve already fired off a letter to Placer County Supervisor Montgomery to get the County to come out with a front loader to remove snow to the point that it matches the snow loads in the rest of the neighborhood.
We’ll have to wait and see what happens.
But for now we get to wait for the storm that is going to hit Saturday night.
Spring begins March 20th!