Open The Needles, Lloyd Meadow Road!

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Contractor

Boulder climber
CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 14, 2019 - 02:43pm PT
A photo I took from Lloyd Meadow  Road
A photo I took from Lloyd Meadow Road
Credit: Contractor
We're talking about a gated public access road to some of the best rock anywhere.

Perhaps some group or someone has taken this on in the past- I couldn't find anything.
Constructive info, insight and or references would be greatly appreciated.

Maybe this is pie in the sky but it would be nice to make an informed and legitimate effort to get the gate to Lloyd Meadow Road open at least a month earlier every year- around April 1st or earlier, conditions permitting.

The routes on Voodoo Dome are South facing and climbable almost year round. The road is currently dry, as are the routes on Voodoo and Warlock.

Access to the Needles lower formations is via Lloyd Meadow Road (22S82) at 5,200 feet of elevation and is usually dry by this time of year. The Lower Peppermint campground is listed as opening on June 15th. Raptor closures aside, I'm sure there's some financial bureaucratic logic at work here. Logically, the opening date seems rather lame considering that other roads and campsites in the Sierras, at almost double the altitude and triple the snow accumulation are open by June.
Current snow accumulations for Tuolumne Meadows
Current snow accumulations for Tuolumne Meadows
Credit: Contractor
Current Snow accumulations for the Lloyd Meadows Road.
Current Snow accumulations for the Lloyd Meadows Road.
Credit: Contractor
For starters; contacting the Kernville Chambers of Commerce, other access minded groups (suggestions please) as well as the Forest Service Administrator for the Western Divide District will let me know if resistanceis futile.
Congressman, Kevin McCarthy only accepts emails from residents of the 23rd District.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Apr 14, 2019 - 06:14pm PT
My understanding is that it used to be open 'year 'round, thus Randy Leavitt's picture of Yaniro climbing Millennium Falcon on Voodoo Dome with snow in the background (Randy was kind enough to let me use that and several others in the Needles Guide, so you can view it there.)

Laeger told me that a local group in Kernville has been lobbying the USFS for years to keep the road open. They are mostly interested in accessing trailheads at the end of the road.

It's very frustrating, the climbing on Voodoo is best in the winter months, and usually scorching hot in the summer.

Hit me up at kristiansolem at verizondotnet if you care for any help. There are also a few local climbers, two I know in Kernville, who I am sure would love to see that road open. Laeger has moved to Tucson, but I can hit him up for info, he lived there for years and probably knows who's done what in the past.

I should have taken up this cause years ago. Thanks for getting to it now.
Contractor

Boulder climber
CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 14, 2019 - 07:09pm PT
Kris, thanks! I'll get some time on it this week and shoot you an email.

Ron told me about riding mountain bikes back there with Tony and Randy and having it to themselves during the prime climbing months. He's beside himself right now, recently getting back to climbing and the clock ticking away on perfect conditions.
Ballo

Trad climber
Apr 14, 2019 - 10:56pm PT
I once had to persuade the gate to let me through...
Flip Flop

climber
Earth Planet, Universe
Apr 15, 2019 - 06:45am PT
How far is the parking from the gate?
Bike, moped, motorcycle?
norm larson

climber
wilson, wyoming
Apr 15, 2019 - 07:50am PT
Ten miles if my memory is right. It's a piece of cake on a bike.

Several years ago when we asked about the opening date at the FS office we were told that it would open opening day of fishing season. Not sure if thats true anymore.
Alk

Trad climber
LA, CA
Apr 15, 2019 - 08:12am PT
Says the roads open for voodoo is that not the case?

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/sequoia/recarea/?recid=79910
Contractor

Boulder climber
CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 15, 2019 - 11:40am PT
Nope, not due to open until mid May.

Fishing season starts the third Saturday in April. Climbing season should have started April 1st as a reasonable date.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Apr 15, 2019 - 11:48am PT
I just spoke to the Kernville Ranger Station. The road is closed. I asked when it might open...

"It all depends on when the snow melts and how fast we can get the rocks and trees out."

The water resources board states there is 50" of snow at the Ponderosa. The station is nearby at Quaking Aspen, 7,200 ft. Temps have been near 0 degrees F at night and 50's in the daytime.

The snow depth graph shows an impossible spike right at the end. Must be an anomaly. The accumulated precip graph shows no such thing.

https://ponderosaca.com/weather/

Contractor

Boulder climber
CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 15, 2019 - 03:28pm PT
The Lloyd Meadow Road is dry at present. There is winter damage that will be addressed once the Forest Service takes responsibility for road maintenance from the County on April 24th. This is standard procedure as I understand it. The Forest Service will need a couple of weeks to get things fixed up.

Ironically there's a crag a couple of buddies and I are playing on that has Forest Service road access and is currently damaged due to winter weather. The cell tower companies are back there now, feverishly making repairs- should be open in a week.
Ksolem

Trad climber
Monrovia, California
Apr 15, 2019 - 04:04pm PT
There is winter damage that will be addressed once the Forest Service takes responsibility for road maintenance from the County on April 24th.

The county is responsible for maintaining the road when it's closed? How does that work?

Perhaps getting the transfer of responsibility scheduled sooner is the nail to hammer on.

If I were King the road would be open through the winter with a prominent sign Warning of all the things that most likely will happen to you; including being eaten by hungry bears, crushed by falling rocks, skidding over the edge of a cliff on black ice, being kidnapped by Sasquatch, being barbecued by hungry climbers, and freezing to death. Enter at your own peril.
norm larson

climber
wilson, wyoming
Apr 15, 2019 - 04:07pm PT
I nominate you for King then Kris.
Contractor

Boulder climber
CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 15, 2019 - 05:35pm PT
Rescues seem to be a serious issue in terms of funding and manpower and ultimately seems to be one impetus to keeping the kids out of the sandbox.



StahlBro

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Apr 15, 2019 - 05:43pm PT
Hope you make progress. Biking in was pretty standard practice when the gates were closed, but being able to drive would be great!

Credit: StahlBro
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