• 07-11-2017
    pinchflat
    7 Attachment(s)
    Esmeralda basin and 5 drainages RR
    After my last report on Miller and Navajo, borneo was wondering how many drainages that was and it was only 3 but I think Navajo peak alone is worth at least a couple. Anyhow, this ride is all about drainages since I went up or down 8 of them: North Fork Teanaway, Fortune Creek, Deroux, Eldorado, Beverly, Bean, Standup, and finally Stafford creek. That was last Sunday.

    I was camping not far from the Stafford TH so I had to ride about 10 miles up an (easy) forest road to get to the first part of my ride - the "popular" Esmeralda loop ("popular" is quotes because it probably sees less than 0.1% of the riders on Tiger or Tokul) but at least some people ride it. Here is the map of that loop:
    Attachment 1146150



    The Esmeralda loop is a great ride on its own (albeit a bit short) with an awesome view of mt Hawkens at the top of the first climb (just a couple small blowdowns on the way there).
    Attachment 1146145

    Looking West, you see mt Daniel:
    Attachment 1146146

    The descent from the saddle is pretty rough but kind of fun but then you face the infamous "jeep road from hell". I was (barely) able to ride it by zigzagging across the small creek that is always running down the middle.

    You come to another scenic spot - Galagher Head Lake.
    Attachment 1146147

    The lake is pretty shallow but I usually go for a swim anyway. It was pretty chilly though plus there was a guy with a jeep and a couple kids wading in the lake. The guy was holding a beer bottle and eventually sat down on that rock in the middle of the lake, on the right in the picture. So I skipped the swim.

    DeRoux is a super-fun descent with just a couple blowdowns but a bunch of grumpy hikers. I think they were grumpy because they couldn't get to Ingalls Lake - the road is blocked - so they had to resort to hiking up DeRoux where bikes are allowed so it's not real wilderness. I should have told them "there is a guy with a jeep at the lake you are hiking to. He is sitting on a rock in the middle of the lake drinking a bud light. He might be naked by the time you get there. Just in case you need to know". But I didn't say any of that. Instead, I just confirmed that yes the trail is open to bikes but it's just me; there wasn't a hundred other bikers behind.

    I finished the Esmeralda loop fairly quickly but I still had a long way to go. People used to ride the 5 drainages CCW but I was going CW instead as you actually lose 1000' that way (so it's all downhill, LOL)
    Attachment 1146152


    The trail up Eldorado is pretty neat. Not ridable at first but quickly turning into a challenging technical climb with just a few hike a bikes. Once you are at the top, you get an incredible view of the Beverly creek basin:

    Attachment 1146148
    (the pointy peak on the left is apparently called Volcanic Neck)

    You can also take a short side trip to the top of Iron peak which I had done several times in the past so this time I went straight down Beverly. That trail is a beast, one rocky sections after another. I went down in a 2 foot root drop into a mud hole that I was fully expecting and still missed (you just can't see it). Got back on the bike but a couple minutes later was hearing an all-to-familiar hissing sound. I managed to pinch-flat my front tire. How? I don't know but that's why I have my mtbr handle. The spare tube had a stem that was too short but I had a patch kit. Even cut a log while waiting for the glue to dry up (just a couple logs on this trail too).

    After Beverly, it's a "short jaunt" up Bean creek. It's only 2.5 miles but it took me more than an hour despite being able to ride half of the way. Don't know how that works. Definitely, the "icicle ridge" moment of this ride. I just keeps going and going. Plus you still have to traverse the Standup creek basin which also requires some pushing.

    There is a mile long climb to the top of Earl peak which I am yet to explore. It might be ridable down but definitely not up.

    The top of Standup creek is where you are finally done climbing. There is a good view of Stuart range and Navajo peak that I climbed last week
    Attachment 1146149

    It was all downhill now down Stafford creek, the last drainage of my 8-drainage ride. It took 8 hours (8 and a half but I had to patch my tube) and I was thinking I could probably ride Miller too to make it 10 drainages. Maybe next year, if I finally buy a 29-er. Then it would be a piece of cake, right?
  • 07-12-2017
    rockhammer
    This is awesome! I need to ride up there this summer. Too bad I don't have any time for a real ride until mid August :(
  • 07-12-2017
    Scrotus
    Reading that made my mountain biker ego shrivel up and die. But I'm still gonna keep riding anyway.
  • 07-12-2017
    woodway
    Badass.
  • 07-12-2017
    verslowrdr
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Scrotus View Post
    Reading that made my mountain biker ego shrivel up and die. But I'm still gonna keep riding anyway.

    I hear ya. Been thinking about bikepacking up in the Eldorado- Stafford route just to hang out and 'splore, but also because it would take me so long even totally unloaded. :cool:
  • 07-12-2017
    Borneo
    Booyah! Never thought about doing it, "in reverse". But, if it makes you feel any better, Beverly to Eldorado isn't much fun going up either. But, coming down Eldorado is a blast.
    Good on ya! Gearz would be proud.
  • 07-12-2017
    woodway
    This thread got me searching some older MTBR threads and I found this one:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/washington/te...ml#post3259757

    Only took you ten years to give it a try! :thumbsup:
  • 07-12-2017
    pinchflat
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by woodway View Post
    This thread got me searching some older MTBR threads and I found this one:

    http://forums.mtbr.com/washington/te...ml#post3259757

    Only took you ten years to give it a try! :thumbsup:

    Actually, I did the 5-drainages CW loop a couple years ago
    http://forums.mtbr.com/washington/5-...rr-926280.html
    so I knew what it would take. I would say with my Ibis Mojo it was 60% riding and 40% hiking in terms of time but more like 90/10 in terms of distance. There is no hiking on the descents! and riding uphill you cover more distance than when pushing. Bikes are much better these days!

    I just found Monte's report when he tried doing the full route (the full Monte :)
    http://forums.mtbr.com/washington/~r...-a-432593.html

    He wasn't thrilled about the climbs but both Eldorado and Bean creek offer incredible views that keep you going. I am sure going up Beverly is pretty cool too (it's been 10 years) but the route is still more downhill going CW rather than CCW.