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Calaveras Dome Beta


Original Post
Mr. Stevens · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 975

Can anyone comment on what the access might be like for late May/early June given the snow?

The MP page for Calaveras Dome is pretty thin regarding how to get there, but I've got some good info from an old Rock & Ice mini guide.  Any additional info on how to get there (particularly from the east) would be helpful.  Thanks!

Also, any info on the sun/shade aspect for Silk Road would be much appreciated.  Looks like it's on the east face, but is there a southern/northern aspect as well?

longlep · · Reno, NV · Joined May 2014 · Points: 20

I did Silk Road  last June and was in the sun almost all day and was very hot.  That climb doesn't get shade until late afternoon.  It also seeps a lot, so you might be able to be both hot and wet if you time it right.  I haven't been out there recently so I am not sure what the access is like this year.


Mr. Stevens · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 975

Oooh, hot and wet at the same time....sounds titillating.

J. Albers · · Colorado · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 1,793

Given the snow year, there is very little chance that Ellis road will be open, which means you will have to do the longer tiger creek road. This is no problem, just longer and rougher. Get a gazetteer and getting there should be no problem (I did it before MP and it was no prob). Coming from the east or west is not too relevant because either way Ellis is faster, but snow is what dictates your choice.

Cal dome proper can get hot in June for sure. It's not really east or west facing as you are thinking. It faces north for the most part but its dome structure bulges out so that you are getting some east or west sun. Things like wall of the worlds will be very hot and won't get shade because of its right (west) facing corners and open slab. At least Silk Road has left (east) facing corners so it will be in the shade sooner. Perhaps still hotish (depending on the day) but much more doable. 

WoWs can seep a bit, but I have done it in spring and it was fine. Only done silk in the fall, so can't comment on seep for that in spring. Maybe salaminzer is lurking MP and can post up because I know he has climbed there a lot too

Nate Doyle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 10

Hopefully, the beta includes getting you past the closed roads   

(source)

Eldorado FS says Ellis, Panther Creek, and Salt Springs Rd are all closed. I'm not sure how far in you can get on any of these roads right now. Ellis was full of snow from what I could tell a week ago (saw it from the highway) and Panther had signage up right at its entrance. And I can't say if you can get close enough for a hike in or not using Salt Springs via Tiger Creek Rd, to be honest; it might be closed right at Tiger Creek Reservoir for all I know.

There may be another way in but, that would take you some extra hours worth of driving if you're coming in from the East. Plus a burly 4x4 or something. I can't say how to go about doing it either way or any other way; if they exist that is.

As far as beta goes:

There is the stuff in the route guide here on MP,  which I assume you've already looked at and this:

http://web.stanford.edu/~clint/caldomes/

https://www.thecrag.com/climbing/united-states/calaveras-dome

http://www.supertopo.com/rock-climbing/Calaveras-Dome-Calaveras-Dome-Wall-of-The-Worlds (the main page ends up at Tahoe for some reason. Not sure there is more.)

J. Albers · · Colorado · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 1,793

The pic above of Panther Creek road is nuts! Crazy winter in the Sierra I guess. All is not lost though just because the FS states that a bunch of those roads are closed. Just to try and clear up some confusion, you always need to use Salt Springs Road to get to Cal Dome because its the final section of road. To get to SS Road, you have essentially three options: Ellis (highest road, i.e. further east up the Hwy 88 pass), Panther Creek (a bit further down the pass), and Tiger Creek (all the way down the pass in the little town of Pioneer). 

First off, Ellis is always closed this time of year because of snow (and it stays that way until mid-summer because there is always a drift across the road not far from the Hwy. 88 junction), so just because the FS says its closed is no big deal. Tiger Creek Road started being seasonally closed about 5 years back for "resource protection" reasons (it used to be open to the public all year, but it was getting beat up, so they closed it in the winter and spring). Thus if the FS says that Salt Springs is closed, it could just mean that they still have a seasonal closure in effect. And if Salt Springs is jacked up, they will definitely be fixing it ASAP because PG&E uses that road regularly to service and operate the dam and reservoir facilities. I guess what I am saying is that just because Panther Creek Road is jacked and Ellis is closed, does not mean that you won't be able to get to Cal Dome in June. Just call the FS and find out what the deal is. 

Berweger · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2012 · Points: 0

While I have no idea how the road survived the winter, it is possible to get into SS taking winton rd east out of the bustling metropolis of West Point, and then following spur 4 -> forest route 7N08 (as labeled on google maps - it's all easy navigating). I would recommend doing it with more clearance than a sedan (I recall seeing a mustang stuck up there last summer), though something along the lines of a rav 4 would have worked then. The whole network of logging roads is pretty extensive out there, and it is also not too difficult to get to the top of the dome either. Coming from the east this is of course really far - there may also be options coming in through bear creek reservoir that will be melted out in a month.

Nate Doyle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 10

J. Albers, you're right but, that's a normal year. This was no normal year.

I talked to my friend from PG&E and he said sh*t really hit the fan up there. They were stuck with all kinds of landslides everywhere and almost had to be helicoptered out at one point. They closed down the powerplants and everything. I guess they finally found some crazy tractor or something and made it out. Anyway, I'll see him tomorrow and get some updates. It's been awhile since I talked with him so things may have changed.

All 3 roads that provide access to the Mokelumne River Canyon are closed indefinitely due to storm damage

That picture was in fact of Panther (and they have the road closed signs off the highway 88) but, the article makes it sound like all the roads are messed up pretty bad and will be closed indefinitely and not the normal closures like every year. I called the Ranger Station and they didn't have any more information to provide. I know it depends on who you catch on the phone when you call, I spoke to a gal who knew nothing and YMMV of course.

Berweger, my brother lives in the Point. I'll see if he can ask around a bit to see if the forest road is accessible or not (I should make him drive me down there. He owes me one.)

I'm not trying to discourage anyone but, I'd hate for someone to come all the way from CO for no reason. I'll try to get more updates ASAP. Stay tuned.

J. Albers · · Colorado · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 1,793

Wow, that's pretty crazy Nate, thanks for sharing. I guess its not so surprising because a lot of those roads up there (including the main SS Road) are traversing steep hill sides just like the Panther Creek photo. If the rest of the roads look like that photo, whew, could be a long time. Bummer. Do keep us posted if you here anything, I'm interested just for curiosity sake if nothing else!!

Nate Doyle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 10

Yup. Those roads are all on the Amador County side.

On a side note:

Over off of Highway 4 in Calaveras, it's the same kind of thing. The picture isn't as dramatic but, sounds like the roads are pretty bad there as well. Some of the roads are still there but, nothing underneath etc.

http://www.calaverasenterprise.com/news/article_744e27a0-2ba2-11e7-b45c-1337ff2a7b72.html

The climbing over on hwy 4 doesn't attract all that many people (I'm guessing; even I venture further south to Sonora Pass 108 since there is a ton of stuff there) but, there's allot of people who'll be missing those areas for other activities, I'm sure.

http://www.supertopo.com/climbers-forum/2163911/Bear-Valley

You can see Spicer Rd (the one mentioned in the article) in this PDF map along with the other areas (these will probably be accessible once snow melts)

http://mtadventure.com/pdf/bv-climbing-guide.pdf

Mr. Stevens · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 975

Wow, thanks for all of the information - very helpful.  Although it sounds like I may not be getting into Cal Dome this year...?

J. Albers · · Colorado · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 1,793

Climbing on Sonora Pass?!?! Nah. Nope. No climbing there. Keep moving along. Besides, even if there was climbing there (and there isn't), the whole area is patrolled by El Chupacabra, which makes it a dangerous (borderline suicidal) place to try and camp. Yup, best just to keep going south to the Valley or Bishop. Better climbing and safer too.

Nate Doyle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 10

El Chupacabra

I don't even know what to say.

Mr. Stevens · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 975

If anyone else is interested, I called the forest service for the Cal Dome area and talked to a very *grumpy* woman who told me there was no predicted opening for any of the roads, and that it is currently impossible to get back to that area.  Please post up any additional info you may have gathered.  Thanks!

Muscrat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 3,610

Funny that this should pop up this morning, as we were heading down in a couple of days. Guess not. 

For those who wish us to avoid the chupacabra @ Sonora, (and we have them here, too) what is the snow like on the dome? I'm thinking maybe a hike in might be in the works, looks like it is only a couple of miles. 

Thoughts?

Nate Doyle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 10
Mr. Stevens wrote:

If anyone else is interested, I called the forest service for the Cal Dome area and talked to a very *grumpy* woman who told me there was no predicted opening for any of the roads, and that it is currently impossible to get back to that area.  Please post up any additional info you may have gathered.  Thanks!

I'm pretty sure that's the same woman I spoke with who knew nothing.

mpech · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2013 · Points: 6

On the plus side for calaveras dome climbers-- PG&E must be working on repairing at least one access road to the dam/hydroelectric plant?? How are they getting back there right now-- helicopter?

Tony Lobay · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 436

Just called USFS Amador. They said road closed (missing in places).

Nate Doyle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 10

Muscrat · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2011 · Points: 3,610

Nate, you tease. Verbal info would be just fine, too. Weather, access, ANYTHING!

:-0

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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