driving bennet pass road/gunsight butte (gumjuwac area)

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Water
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driving bennet pass road/gunsight butte (gumjuwac area)

Post by Water » July 30th, 2014, 10:33 am

hello folks

been a long time since I came here for QA advice! I'm 3 weeks away from getting full clearance from my foot surgeon but this weekend looks like the first I'll be able to do some short hikes since I last got out (climbing hood the day before Christmas 2013)!

I have a friend visiting from SF for the first time and we were talking about car camping. I have walked the road from High Prairie down to the junction with the road that goes to Badger lake many times, and have hiked the gumjuwac trail bunches. I think the last time I was up there though was 2011? I remember thinking I could get my corolla through a lot of that dirt road with some careful driving--though there was maybe 1 or 2 spots where potholes and road shape would have been impassible..

But we have an outback now...higher clearance and AWD... anyone driven it or have their two cents?

Thanks
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Koda
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Re: driving bennet pass road/gunsight butte (gumjuwac area)

Post by Koda » July 30th, 2014, 10:43 am

The last time I drove it I was glad I had my Jeep....
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raven
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Re: driving bennet pass road/gunsight butte (gumjuwac area)

Post by raven » July 30th, 2014, 10:59 am

Did the Terrible Traverse on the Bennet Pass road in a older Tercel with a friend once. Both of us are experienced in driving bad roads, and agreed that if someone was coming down the traverse while we were climbing, backing up would have been an interesting experience. We'll not drive it again.

No damage to the car apart from a rusty muffler having the rust jarred loose.

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Water
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Re: driving bennet pass road/gunsight butte (gumjuwac area)

Post by Water » July 30th, 2014, 11:11 am

hmmm hadn't contemplated the backing up process...fortunately I have only seen 1 or 2 vehicles on it in about 10 ventures on that road on foot. If I recall one was a large mountainbiking conversion van--high clearance and good tires for sure but nothing that burly..however that may have been 4 years ago..

The section of worry for that most would be right past the high prairie trailhead until you get around the SW edge of lookout mountain--there is about a mile there cut into the hillside that is narrow--though most of that part is actually in great shape. Then a section between about Gumjuwac saddle and a bit before Jean Lake TH if I recall was very potted. I just know there are a handful of great car-camp spots back up in there..

Koda when was the last time you drove it?

Thanks
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Koda
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Re: driving bennet pass road/gunsight butte (gumjuwac area)

Post by Koda » July 30th, 2014, 12:15 pm

Water wrote:Koda when was the last time you drove it?
probably in 2009, it was a while ago and that time only the 3550 road to Bonnie Meadows. But I’ve driven those roads over the years going way back and its never been improved much. Raven is right about passing especially at the terrible traverse portion if you meet up with another vehicle one of you is backing up…

I imagine you would not be the first Subaru to successfully navigate the road but it will be slow going. Ive seen cars at Bonnie Meadows CG…
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Re: driving bennet pass road/gunsight butte (gumjuwac area)

Post by Limey » July 30th, 2014, 1:55 pm

Last time Hubby and I tried it was in 2012, sometime in late spring/early summer. Went from high prairie and there was a lot of winter rockfall on the road. Driving an isuzu trooper, it was still interesting to negotiate some of the rocks. Went round the corner leading onto the terrible traverse and said "oh hell no" There was a lot more rock on the road some of which would have required driving right on the edge to get around. I was driving and when hubby said "we ain't going there", it scared the heck out of me. So, I backed up to the "wide spot" on the corner and made a 6 or 7 point turn so we could drive back up to high prairie. Did I mention that that section also had a couple downed trees partially blocking the road? There was also the occasional rock rolling down. I was white knuckling it back up the hill when a rather large rock rolled down in front of us, hubby looked at me and told me he loved me and my immediate thought was, oh my god we're going to die. I drove the rest of the way up holding my breath and more often than not with my eyes closed. I've been on that road a few times but this was the one that made me say never again. Was up at lookout the other day and the beginning of 3550 looks really rough and rutted but I didn't look to see how it was further along. So, all I can say is, be prepared for anything.

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Re: driving bennet pass road/gunsight butte (gumjuwac area)

Post by Water » July 30th, 2014, 3:48 pm

thanks for the feedback! Yes the start of 3350 has always looked especially bad-but it quickly improves as you go down/around the hill if my memory is correct. I'm not actually planning on driving to the terrible traverse--really just to the Jean Lake TH would be as far as I'd drive... if that helps. I think we'll probably give it a shot.

Cheers
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Re: driving bennet pass road/gunsight butte (gumjuwac area)

Post by Water » October 6th, 2019, 10:54 pm

Reviving an old post.. that I forgot I made. I actually googled 'driving Bennett pass road' while in the snopark parking lot this morning and found this and Raven's statement about doing the terrible traverse in a Tercel. I'm duly impressed by that one. Though I suspect the road has degraded over the years, I would have been hard pressed to imagine getting my Corolla over it with what I saw today. It was beautiful but I didn't really get any photos of the road.

I drove Bennett pass to windy camp and from there to high prairie today. The worst section is just south of gumjuwac saddle, about a half mile section after a nice big car camping spot. The road is just incredibly rutted and in one place quite narrow with ruts. But made it fine in a 2013 outback, esp given snowy in sections and muddy in others (a bit of sliding by not bad). In my mind I said I'd never drive it again while I was out there, but as I write this my memory is already feeling a fondness to return. That said if you're not ok with brush going against the side of your vehicle and more importantly, technical driving, don't try to drive it as a means to getting somewhere. Take other routes. You have to want the adventure of driving it and picking your line. I've walked that road so many times, it was kinda incredible to drive past places I've camped in all seasons while on long hikes and snowshoes a decade+ ago.

The terrible traverse was actually not bad at all to me, but it's extremely narrow and if you did encounter another vehicle.. I've got no clue what you'd do.
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Re: driving bennet pass road/gunsight butte (gumjuwac area)

Post by drm » October 7th, 2019, 7:52 am

Water wrote:
October 6th, 2019, 10:54 pm
I've got no clue what you'd do.
Back up. Drivers on technical terrain need to have that ability in their driving repertoire.

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Re: driving bennet pass road/gunsight butte (gumjuwac area)

Post by raven » October 7th, 2019, 8:57 am

Backing up on the Terrible Traverse would be "exciting", even with a spotter walking backward behind providing directions. Narrow; a possibly fatal drop on one side; the need in Tercel to pick a line to save the undercarriage and oil sump. One skillful driver can travel forward on that section of road, and two very skillful and mutually-trusting drivers could "drive" slowly backward -- but would rue doing so.

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