Temporary ACA Route Road Closures / Re: Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route - conditions & FR277 closure - Spring 2016« on: July 05, 2016, 12:56:52 pm »
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Alright then, now that the facts are out of the way, let me get up on my soapbox and state my opinions about the FR277 closure.
First of all, I really don't understand why this season's snowfall totals (which are now completely irrelevant) merit a prominent mention on the map's addenda page, but the FR277 closure is buried here in the forum. The map addenda main page states:QuoteAddenda only pertain to long term changes and updates. For short term road closures, please see the Adventure Cycling's Routes Temporary Road Closures discussion in our Forums.
The snow totals for this year were clearly a short-term situation. In contrast, FR277 has been closed for 10 months and counting. Is that not a "long term change"? It's time to update the addenda page.
Second, I suggest that ACA get on the horn with the forest service and find out about possible re-routes that are not as big a detour. Anecdotal evidence suggests that such a route does exist. Motorcyclist #3 that I spoke with as I climbed Dollarhide never reappeared later in the day to backtrack his way out.
Finally, should you ride this? Almost definitely. Unless you are a real pack horse, you are looking at at most a 2 hour delay, and the countryside down here is really beautiful.
FR277 is closed from 43 35.0191N, 114 59.5907W on the west to 43 35.0332N, 114 59.2484W on the east. This is a distance of about .35 miles. Here is the situation in detail. The road is on the north side of the river. There was a mudslide on the south side that dammed the river and caused it to flood the road. Eventually the river punched through the slide at the lowest point, which is where the road used to be. The edge of the river is now the base of rockslides that come down the north wall of the river canyon. These rocks range anywhere from softball sized to chair-sized. Fortunately, some trail angels have moved enough rocks around to make a sort of path through them.
It took me 45 minutes to push my bike through the closed area. It wasn't terribly difficult because I'm using a pretty light bikepacking setup (see photos) but it is slow going because the rocks shift around under your feet as you walk and you really can't afford to slip and fall -- every surface around you is a jagged rock. I suspect that if you have a single set of panniers, you might be able to push through in one go; with front and rear panniers, you are more likely to require two trips and with a trailer, you will definitely have to make two trips. In that case it is probably going to take about 2 hours to get through this section. Nonetheless, this is probably preferable to the detour that ACA has suggested.
And to be clear I don't mean it would be difficult, I mean it would be a dangerous, wet, cold snow shoe hike for miles and miles. The danger part is from an unstable snow pack (snow that is moving and sliding as it melts) , isothermic snow pack that is bottomless (even with snow shoes you would sink to your waist). As the snow continues to melt the creeks and rivers are running deep and they too are dangerous. That also means that many of the hot springs are underwater and inaccessible.