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Owens Valley rideability in March

Old 11-16-16, 07:44 AM
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Owens Valley rideability in March

Hi, I am going to be in Death Valley the second week of March 2017, and was trying to find someone who has experience in what Owens Valley would be like then. I have ridden Owens in the past, just not in early Spring. If Whitney Portal, Onion Valley or Horseshoe Meadows would be rideable I would take a side trip over there.
I use the NWS point forecast feature, and can guess at what it will be like, but personal experience would be great and appreciated. I don't mind riding in the cold, but if the roads are snow covered, that won't work.
Thanks
Mark
[reposted this in Southern California where it belongs, sorry to clutter up the Northern California with this]

Last edited by Mark Manner; 11-16-16 at 08:07 AM.
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Old 11-16-16, 08:24 AM
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I've ridden a lot on the eastern escarpment of the Sierras (usually further north, in Mammoth). A lot of this depends on the weather, of course, which can still be pretty unpredictable in March. I already have my doubts as to what kind of rain/snow season we are going to be having in California, generally. I have a feeling that it is going to be a dry season, unfortunately. So, you might be fine come March. However, this past season we had an enormous amount of snow--especially in northern California--and the passes were socked in well through the Spring. Whitney Portal, in particular, is a road that can be socked in with snow until the end of May; it isn't usually cleared like the roads through the major passes.

BTW--have you ever ridden Whitney Portal before? It's a fantastic climb and you go through some really awesome country (through the Alabama Hills, where a lot of really old Western movies were filmed).

Last edited by Scarbo; 11-16-16 at 08:48 AM.
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Old 11-16-16, 06:15 PM
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As Scarbo said, it will be very dependent on weather. Some years ago I was down there in late May, and Horseshoe Meadows and Whitney Portal were still officially closed. Onion Valley was open. Whitney Portal opened up later in the week, and I jumped the gate on Horseshoe Meadows and got up to about 9000 feet before the snow completely blocked the road. That had been a big snow year, but I think March is pretty iffy unless it is a very dry year.
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Old 11-18-16, 12:14 PM
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Hi, thanks for the information. I have ridden most of the climbs in Owens, including Whitney Portal, but not Horseshoe Meadows. Maybe I will get lucky (and those who need snow and water unlucky) and some of the climbs will be passable. Death Valley is nice even if Owens is not practical.
Best regards,
Mark
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