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  1. #1
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    hard loop in the white clouds: looped castle peak.

    Took a ride to the Big Boulder trailhead, rode up it and down to the boulder chains trail, up it and top it out with hike a bike through, I think???, windy devil pass and down into born lakes (brutal scree down hiking). From born (hike a bike ish) we went to 4th of July to washington lake, then climbed into chamberlin basin descended to the lakes and climbed out to castle divide then descended little boulder creek trail. This was a long ride with a lot of hiking in the first half and a lot of steep climbing in the second half. It is as good as scenery gets for Idaho or anywhere (cant think of any places prettier than Idaho), IMO.
    Anybody else ever do this loop? I wont be signing up again real soon, but with a bit of time to reflect, I could possibly recover from this and do it again in five years. We live in a cool state
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  2. #2
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    Yes a couple of times.

    Quote Originally Posted by butryon View Post
    Took a ride to the Big Boulder trailhead, rode up it and down to the boulder chains trail, up it and top it out with hike a bike through, I think???, windy devil pass and down into born lakes (brutal scree down hiking). From born (hike a bike ish) we went to 4th of July to washington lake, then climbed into chamberlin basin descended to the lakes and climbed out to castle divide then descended little boulder creek trail. This was a long ride with a lot of hiking in the first half and a lot of steep climbing in the second half. It is as good as scenery gets for Idaho or anywhere (cant think of any places prettier than Idaho), IMO.
    Anybody else ever do this loop? I wont be signing up again real soon, but with a bit of time to reflect, I could possibly recover from this and do it again in five years. We live in a cool state
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  3. #3
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    wow, that looks like a great ride! Did you do it all in one day? I'd like to do it as a bike pack over two or three days...but I'm slow.
    I'm looking forward to regretting this.......

  4. #4
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    Daily loop for you huh?
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  5. #5
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    It would be a great bike pack loop with very neat places to camp. We did do it in a day but I think splitting it up would be more enjoyable
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by butryon View Post
    Daily loop for you huh?
    Don't fret the Smiley one's fragile ego. He sometimes thinks the BWCs were a blank patch on the map when he arrived in Idaho from Massachusetts wearing his coon-skin cap, carrying his musket, and riding his Giant VT.


    Good on you for going big, Ryon! There are some sublime spots in those hills.
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  7. #7
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    Yes, one of the top rides I have done. Did it with a group from Boise and had some epic mechanical issues (including mine).

    I agree, though, more like class 2 fun.

    Was it smoky?

  8. #8
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    Funny stuff. I sense that!

    It was a great loop but the hiking was a bit more excessive than most of the hike a biking I do. I would like to come out the back of either Jimmy Smith Lake or Slate creek. I am not sure how doable either of those options are. Also, Do you guys know if anyone has every tied Bowery creek into Sheep creek? I have gone through Bowery creek, East pass, Hunter creek, and out the Big Lost river but never the other way once you get to East Pass. I have seen other trails at the top of Sheep creek but have no idea where they take you. I tried to get up Pine creek but got stumped and missed the turn somewhere??? I was thinking that I could top out and find the Sheep creek trails I saw......didnt happen and ran out of legs!

    It was not too smokey the day we went until the evenings. I went up on a Wednesday and stayed for 5 days. The first two days were blue sky and then it slowly smoked up more each day after. We had some really cool sunsets through the smoke.

    Great area for riding, just no "casual" riding so it sorta keeps the trails nice and primitive. East forks about an hour closer for my drive rather than heading up river to ride and some good hot tubing. My buddy owns a ranch up there so it makes it easier.

    Thanks for any info.
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  9. #9
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    It's been a little while so I might be misremembering, but I think Slate Creek would be a rough ride. But I've only hiked it and not ridden it. On the plus side, the hot springs at the trailhead are sweet. Actually, that's a pretty huge plus.

  10. #10
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    i did this loop about 8ish years ag and ran into a hillbilly horse pack operator guy who had been dynomiting some trails a few years previous to 'deter' MTB'ers from riding on his horse trails. classis ideeho!

    truly epic scenery.

    it has been a while since i have been that spanked

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by BeDrinkable View Post
    It's been a little while so I might be misremembering, but I think Slate Creek would be a rough ride. But I've only hiked it and not ridden it. On the plus side, the hot springs at the trailhead are sweet. Actually, that's a pretty huge plus.
    Having hiked into O'Caulkens lake multiple times via Slate creek I would have to say that would be a pretty terrible ride in some pretty awesome scenery. And I am someone that actually likes epic back country hike a bike type rides. The descent would just not justify the effort though, imho...

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyle509 View Post
    Having hiked into O'Caulkens lake multiple times via Slate creek I would have to say that would be a pretty terrible ride in some pretty awesome scenery. And I am someone that actually likes epic back country hike a bike type rides. The descent would just not justify the effort though, imho...
    I would also agree the Slate Creek would not be fun on a bike, I have hiked it and would not recommend it for bikes.

    I have not heard of anyone doing the bowery to sheep loop. Looks epic though if you do it report back your findings.
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  13. #13
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    I rode the Castle Peak loop solo back in July from Fourth of July TH going counter-clockwise. The descent down Devil's Staircase into Born Lakes was certainly interesting with a bike. The climb up to Windy Pass still had a big snowfield that I kicked steps straight up from Scoop Lake using my bike sort of as an ice ax. Long day, but good times. I think I'll be ready to do it again in about 5 years as well.

  14. #14
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    I have had this ride on my list for a few years. Maybe next year. Though Warren Miller would point out that makes me one year older....

    Have also considered making a bigger loop and light packing it as overnight.
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  15. #15
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    Routing help

    Awesome beta in this thread

    I'm setting up to run a 4 day trip between Ketchum and Stanley in late Oct. Mainly through the White Clouds. This thread has been great with info on the scramble down to Born Lakes, (there are also some pictures in this one: Bowery creek to the north fork of the big lost?? help).

    Also picked up that Slate Creek is no good to ride down to the hot springs, which was the original plan.

    I guess where I'm getting hung up is our 1st day ride from Ketchum to Bowery. Any opinion on which route would be the best riding? The 3 I'm looking at are: N Fk Wood to West Pass Creek, Gladiator Creek out of Galena Lodge, or Boulder Creek to S Fk E Fk Salmon.
    Last edited by flumphboy; 10-01-2012 at 12:14 PM.
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  16. #16
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    All of those options look good on paper I just wonder about on the ground conditions.

    I think Gladiator is your best option since it is the least amount of hike a bike if the trail disappears. Last time I was up on gladiator pass I did not see a trail coming in from Galena, but the south fork of the Salmon is defiantly your most well used trail down into Bowery.

    I also could not find S Fk E Fk Salmon.

    I have not been all the way up West Pass Creek, but it was primitive in the lower half.

    My advice is to call Ed Cannady at Stanley Ranger Station he will know the latest.

    And report back sounds like a fun trip!
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilycook View Post
    All of those options look good on paper I just wonder about on the ground conditions.
    Man, do I hear that. I ran into a lot of stuff out of McCall a few weeks ago that looked good on the map, but was brutal in the field.

    Thank you so much for the info. If I don't hear that anything else goes, I'll just do Gladiator.
    Last edited by flumphboy; 10-01-2012 at 03:00 PM.
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  18. #18
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    West Pass is a piece of work!!! Not sure where I lose it at but I have yet to get up it and end up at a mine. it may be a beetter one to descend.
    If you are talking about the North Fork of the Big Lost you will climb from it through to Hunter Creek and descend into East Pass Creek and climb out of it into the Bowery Creek drainage into East Fork of the Salmon.
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  19. #19
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    Thanks for the info butryon. Guess West Pass is out.

    Sorry, in the above post I said "I'll just do Bowery". Ment to say "I'll just do Gladiator". (I fixed this).

    I guess I'm open to all options, but am looking for the nicest, but most direct route from Ketchum to Bowery Guard Station.

    I have the Stanley White Clouds and Sun Valley trail maps from Adventure Maps sitting in front of me.

    Since West Pass is out, and to be more clear, here's the other 2 options:
    1) Head up Boulder Creek via road and trail #158 to north of Boulder Peak. At this point the map says the trail kinda goes in-and-out of existence. I wouldn't mind hiking it the last 1000' or so. At the pass the map says there is a trail along what it is calling the "South Fork Salmon River"(What I think is the South Fork of the East Fork Salmon River"). SC, is the South Fork good riding? Boulder Creek trail?

    2) From Galena Lodge, head up Gladiator Creek and over the pass. Descend till junction with trail #112. Take a right, and head down the East Fork Salmon River to Bowery Guard Station.
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  20. #20
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    I know where the trail comes in from Gladiator to the South Fork of the East Fork but I have never came that way into it from Galena.
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by flumphboy View Post
    Thanks for the info butryon. Guess West Pass is out.

    Sorry, in the above post I said "I'll just do Bowery". Ment to say "I'll just do Gladiator". (I fixed this).

    I guess I'm open to all options, but am looking for the nicest, but most direct route from Ketchum to Bowery Guard Station.

    I have the Stanley White Clouds and Sun Valley trail maps from Adventure Maps sitting in front of me.

    Since West Pass is out, and to be more clear, here's the other 2 options:
    1) Head up Boulder Creek via road and trail #158 to north of Boulder Peak. At this point the map says the trail kinda goes in-and-out of existence. I wouldn't mind hiking it the last 1000' or so. At the pass the map says there is a trail along what it is calling the "South Fork Salmon River"(What I think is the South Fork of the East Fork Salmon River"). SC, is the South Fork good riding? Boulder Creek trail?

    2) From Galena Lodge, head up Gladiator Creek and over the pass. Descend till junction with trail #112. Take a right, and head down the East Fork Salmon River to Bowery Guard Station.
    So when are you going to attempt this route?
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  22. #22
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    Gonna try for Oct 20ish. But, we'll see how the snow is sitting. I'd really like to go down that couloir, but hiking on scree with a few inches of snow is the worst. This might be a better route for spring corn conditions, with something like the technique i used in this trip: <a href="http://greenecasey.blogspot.com/2012/05/bass-pass.html">Bass Pass</a>

    If there is a solid snow line below 9000', we'll probably hold off on this route and head somewhere else. Maybe Atlanta to Stanley.

    So, I guess that begs the question: will there be snow for sure? I've checked the historic data on the <a href="http://www.wcc.nrcs.usda.gov/nwcc/site?sitenum=490&state=id">Galena Summit Snotel</a>, and everything looks good, but it sits at 8700' not 10,000'.
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  23. #23
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    In 2001 we were on a multi day. On the leg from Bowery to Smiley Creek we stopped at the Gladiator trail. We could go up a bit maybe 3/4 of a mile before it was just better to stash the bikes and hike. We got to the saddle and could see a very defined trail down to Galena. Nice Mt goat at the top.

    You may be able to get from Galena Lodge over Gladiator with little problems.

    From Bowery - why not go up Little Boulder to Castle Peak then back over to Chamberlain Lakes to Washington Lake and out Fourth of July?

    All trail, no hike a bike ;-)

    This guy writes a ride report of some of this:Castle Peak Stanley,ID

  24. #24
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    That does look like some sweet riding. And, Castle Peak looks amazing. I hope that goat is still up there. Although, he'll probably just laugh at us.

    The reason we aren't looking at that route is that even though we do want to ride, our goals are not so much about "mountain biking" as they are about just being up in that high country then dropping down to hot springs at night. So, I'm trying to piece together the hot springs out there, with a decent route that features as little hike-a-bike as possible.

    But, I'm sure I'll get to that Castle Peak loop in the future. Thanks for the beta and the link.
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  25. #25
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    flumphboy-where are you guys based out of? The Atlanta to Stanley ride would be a blast if snow hinders your other ride.

  26. #26
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    We're based out of Missoula. So, we've got no worries about catching flights or anything like that.

    Do you have a suggested Atlanta to Stanley route? The only thing I worry about with this area is the after effects of the Trinity Ridge fire to the west/northwest. We wouldn't want to ride east out of Atlanta because there are no hot springs en-route to Stanley that way.

    The other "plan B" that is catching my eye is Crouch to Stanley, via Deadwood Res and Bear Valley hot springs.
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    flumphboy- did you do your trip? If so, post up your trip report for us.

    I climbed Ryan Peak on Sunday from the NF Big Wood TH. As you've already been told, that trail up to West Pass wouldn't be very rideable but it sure looked like a fun descent down from the other side from the pass.

  28. #28
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    Damn, I wish i could post up something. But, in the end we got snowed out. We started riding just as the storm blew in last Monday. The pass we got to already had 5in on it with a forecast of 6-8 more. Kinda sucks because we could've at least made an overnight of it. But instead, we bailed. Kinda a bummer looking back that decision.

    After getting shut down by smoke and snow this year. I'm going to try to schedule it for an ideal time next summer. Like early-mid July.
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  29. #29
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    Was thinking to do some of this ride this summer. Start at 4th of July TH, to Washington lake, around to Chamberlain, up to Frog lake, and end at Big Boulder TH. Anyone done this as a shuttle? Can mere humans like me do this in a day ride? Mapped it on Basecamp and it looks good, but the truth is in the trail, alas! Thanks for any advice!

  30. #30
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    Never done this as a shuttle, but have heard about people doing it as a shuttle. The shuttle would probably take at least 3 hours to get all setup. You might want to try harlows in Stanley. They have done shuttles for us in the past if you have enough people.

    This is a big ride and certainly doable in one day. You should only have to hike-a-bike going over the pass near castle. The rest is rideable. What other big rides have you done?
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  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilycook View Post
    Never done this as a shuttle, but have heard about people doing it as a shuttle. The shuttle would probably take at least 3 hours to get all setup. You might want to try harlows in Stanley. They have done shuttles for us in the past if you have enough people.

    This is a big ride and certainly doable in one day. You should only have to hike-a-bike going over the pass near castle. The rest is rideable. What other big rides have you done?
    Thanks a bunch on the advice. I haven't ridden much in the Stanley area, just Fisher Creek and some others. In Boise, we do Hard Guy, and other 3-5K climb rides, but mostly with non-technical uphills. That tends to make all the difference. Some hike a bike is all good. I heard that exiting on Little Boulder Creek might be better. I think that cuts the climbing too.

  32. #32
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    Little Boulder will certainly save you some time and an uphill.

    This is a very technical ride that does not leave a lot of room for error. A bad crash in the Whiteclouds is a very bad thing. I would say you need to be riding up Dry Creek and Mahalo to Bogus and then turn around and return on the same route and feel very comfortable with all the descents and climbs. Plus be very comfortable with tight rocky switchbacks.

    What other long trails have you ridden?
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  33. #33
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    You could also leave your shuttle vehicle at the jct. up to big boulder trail head to give you the option of coming out little boulder or big boulder. This would add a few miles of road descending but it gives you less climbing if you decided to roll out to the East Fork instead of climbing from frog lake back to Big Boulder.

    Most of the trail is good trail and fun...nothing to crazy, but it is a big day looping it or shuttling!
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  34. #34
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    Folks, thanks a bunch for the advice. My wife and I love the White Clouds and want to get some rides in before they possibly close it to mtn bikers. We ride quite a bit, and do moderate technical, but are old (wise?) enough to walk it when needed. It's okay if we go slow, so I am just hoping taking it easy will mean no broken bones. Smilycook scared me a tad, I must say. I have done Mahalo and dry creek. All good, but I took it easy and walked over a few things instead of plunging ahead. As for long rides, did a two day 120 mile ride with 11k ft climb last year (Boise to Tamarack). Hoping this is easier, but that route was non-technical for sure. The whole idea of seeing the White Clouds by bike has me crazy jacked. Thanks again and please continue with any more inputs.

  35. #35
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    If you are walking sections of Dry Creek you may struggle with doing this route and have a lot of walking. Personally I would not take someone on this route if they were walking sections of Dry Creek. The section from 4th of July Lake to Washington Lake is certainly more challenging than Dry Creek and Little Boulder is at the same level as dry creek. I do hate to scare people away from these rides, but I just hate to see someone get hurt way out there since it so remote.

    It would be wise to start with some smaller loops in the Whiteclouds first. Do Boundary to Little Casino or Big Boulder to Little Boulder. Once you have done those then I would say you are ready to try your route.
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  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by smilycook View Post
    If you are walking sections of Dry Creek you may struggle with doing this route and have a lot of walking. Personally I would not take someone on this route if they were walking sections of Dry Creek. The section from 4th of July Lake to Washington Lake is certainly more challenging than Dry Creek and Little Boulder is at the same level as dry creek. I do hate to scare people away from these rides, but I just hate to see someone get hurt way out there since it so remote.

    It would be wise to start with some smaller loops in the Whiteclouds first. Do Boundary to Little Casino or Big Boulder to Little Boulder. Once you have done those then I would say you are ready to try your route.
    Thanks again on this. Walked a few sections of Mahalo. Dry creek was no problem. As long as the route is not miles of hard technical, I think we are fine, and downhill technical is usually not an issue at all. Would love to do some short rides first, but we don't have the time. Clearly I will allow for more time though, based upon your inputs.

  37. #37
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    Do the ride - you will love it, even if you can't ride a bike.
    It was one of the first rides I ever did back in the late eighties. We had never heard of technical riding or front suspension and we were fine.
    Go out Little Boulder. She will love you for it, and you'll feel good about it too.
    Shuttle is a bit long and tedious, however.
    If you don't have a shuttle, do Livingston Mill to Frog lake and out Little Boulder. It's a great 22 mile loop. But park at the bottom and do the gravel 1000 foot climb first. There is good shade at the bottom just off the pavement.
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