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Owens Valley rideability in March

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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.
[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.
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