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View Full Version : Black Bear Pass - is Solo Safe?


psfpilot
07-13-2008, 01:33 PM
We're thinking about heading over to the Ouray area on Sunday after the Ghost Town Run. I'd like to make a loop from Ouray to Telluride via Black Bear, then back to Ouray on Imogene.

Is Black Bear dangerous for a solo driver who's never driven it before? Precisely what, if anything, is dangerous about it? Is it loose scree on an off-camber shelf that will actively try to dump me off the face to my demise, is it just intimidating due to a narrow road's proximity to a deadly drop-off but not actually dangerous unless I'm inattentive, or something else? Do I need an experienced spotter?

Also, we will be driving a stock, locked 80 on street tires. Will we be likely to damage it on this trail?

http://ouraycolorado.com/Jeeping:

"This is not for the inexperienced... Narrow, short wheel base vehicles are the preferred choice. Full-size vehicles...make the trip more challenging, with broken plastic and bent sheet metal always a possibility.

I had heard so much how Black Bear had such a high pucker factor and was very techinical. Once we were there, it turned into "is that all?" wasn't anywhere near as bad as the hype. Traveling with an experienced group makes it easy and much safer. Having a spotter makes all the difference. This is one of the most beautiful trips I've done. I'd encourage everyone to make this one. Just ask my kids.
http://www.risingsun4x4club.org/forum2/showpost.php?p=30267&postcount=14

Trapper50cal
07-13-2008, 03:46 PM
I haven't done it either but I think the pucker refers to the switchbacks leading down into t-ride. not technical just caution inspiring.

waggoner5
07-13-2008, 05:36 PM
Done it many times, even in a stock Durango. No issue except a little clearance on the first ledge which was 13" and I had 12. The off camber spot is only about 20 feet long and is not bad at all. The switchbacks are worse in my opinion.

Uncle Ben
07-13-2008, 05:49 PM
I have seen stock Suburbans loaded with happy Texans herding the land yachts down it several times. Not very difficult at all just not a place to question your brakes or have to remember which peddle stops or goes! :rolleyes:

wesintl
07-13-2008, 06:14 PM
It wask friggin nuts when I did it in '75 in my jeep wagoneer. not so much now...

psfpilot
07-13-2008, 10:00 PM
Well then, I guess we'll give it a shot. Thank you for the advice.

powderpig
07-13-2008, 10:00 PM
May want to check and see if it is open. I know it was not plan on being open in the next couple of weeks. too much snow


HOLY SH*T, that is one tight trail way back then!!!!!!

Hulk
07-13-2008, 10:08 PM
I found the switchbacks to be the worst part as well.

Uncle Ben
07-13-2008, 10:18 PM
HOLY SH*T, that is one tight trail way back then!!!!!!

:lmao::lmao::lmao::rolleyes: :hill:

corsair23
07-14-2008, 01:01 AM
Latest I have seen state that Black Bear is still closed as are others in the area...Some of the trails are open but caution is listed....

http://ouraycolorado.com/Jeep+Road+Conditions

subzali
07-14-2008, 08:05 AM
I got a first hand report that last week (after the 4th) it's still closed from snow. If it's clear and you're a careful driver then you should be fine. The "off-camber" section near the upper waterfall (where the overlook to Telluride is) is probably the worst part, unless really tight switchbacks make you nervous...

Caribou Sandstorm
07-14-2008, 06:09 PM
It is still closed but might open by Saturday for the FJC Summit going on this weekend in Ouray.

However you might want to avoid that whole area. It will be 300 FJc and probably very crowded trails.

I am heading out the door after I post this.

psfpilot
07-16-2008, 07:40 AM
Ouray has now updated their trail condition page to show that Black Bear Pass is expected to be open on 18 July. Hopefully most of the horde of FJCs will be headed home by the time we get there on Sunday afternoon.

Does anyone have a good campsite recommendation (dispersed, established, or otherwise) within a few miles of Ouray?

corsair23
07-17-2008, 01:17 AM
Does anyone have a good campsite recommendation (dispersed, established, or otherwise) within a few miles of Ouray?

There is camping in Ouray (see the thread on the Ouray trip). There is also a state park just North of Ridgeway. A little farther than a few miles but it is nice. We stay at the "Dutch Charlie" campground up on top, overlooking the reservoir. Nice campsites with trees and even showers etc..

subzali
07-17-2008, 07:56 AM
If you go up the switchbacked Hwy 550 to the south after you pass the turnoff to Imogene Pass/Ouray Ice Park there will be a pulloff at the end of a switchback that will take you to the Ampitheater Campground. Very nice. I bet there is dispersed camping up Imogene Pass somewhere, and if you travel further south on 550 there will be a place on the left (Corkscrew Gulch) that has dispersed camping.

psfpilot
07-24-2008, 03:30 PM
...The "off-camber" section near the upper waterfall (where the overlook to Telluride is) is probably the worst part, unless really tight switchbacks make you nervous...

You were correct about that- as I was driving through the stream, the rear tires slipped and dropped down hard enough to crack the rear differential lock actuator's mounting flange. Other than that, we decided that it wasn't terribly scary or challenging for a moderately experienced driver.

Thanks to everyone for the advice- we had a great time down in Ouray.

farnhamstj
07-26-2008, 11:43 AM
It wask friggin nuts when I did it in '75 in my jeep wagoneer. not so much now...

I could barly walk in '75. That pic is crazy. Are you that much older than me?

wesintl
07-26-2008, 11:51 AM
I could barly walk in '75. That pic is crazy. Are you that much older than me?

I was 4 but I remember it well :hill:












sometimes only I get my sarcasm and make myself laugh. That is supposedly a warn ad from '75 of black bear. It's on the net, I still question if it's blackbear and so do others. I can't think of where on that trail it would be. esp with the pines in the background. Maybe it's on imogene where the tunnel is. Otherwise I really question the photo.:cheers::lmao:

Corbet
07-26-2008, 12:33 PM
sometimes only I get my sarcasm and make myself laugh.

I got a good laugh out of it, but I've also seen that picture before knowing it was not really you ;)

corsair23
07-27-2008, 02:21 AM
I got a good laugh out of it, but I've also seen that picture before knowing it was not really you ;)


x2 :thumb: - I have however always wondered where that pic really was taken. Honestly, I'm not sure I'd even ride an ATV on that let alone try to drive on that. IIRC they helicoptered the vehicle in and out but still...Has anyone actually ever driven on that, and lived :eek:

subzali
07-27-2008, 08:20 AM
I laughed Wes. Twice.

:D