The Pass


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Social climber
May 4, 2007 - 01:29pm PT
Good story DMT.

When you turned onto "priest grade" I think you meant to add "old", since "priest grade" is actually the name for the long way around on 120.

One of my best passes I think was in the same area. Huge line of slow cars that I wasn't sure it would be possible to get around. But it was. I think I did it in more than one pass though, but with little time between them.

Social climber
Land of Green Stretchy People
May 4, 2007 - 02:51pm PT
Umm, why is it called the murder rest stop? I think I know the one in question. I had to pull over there and sleep for 20 this year when I was too tired to drive non-stop to the park.

May 4, 2007 - 03:03pm PT
O, you people take my word for it.

DO not ride with Angus or Dingus! Hell on wheels for sure. Been to heaven many times over when these clowns were behind the wheel!

Should be a law against people like this!

Love ya Ding,

scuffy b

The town that Nature forgot to hate
May 4, 2007 - 04:05pm PT
I believe that what you and some others refer to as the New
Priest Grade is really the Mocassin Switchbacks. I've never
seen any evidence that the new road should be called the New
Priest Grade (road). Have you?
Wild Bill

May 4, 2007 - 04:12pm PT
I have heard locals call it "new priest grade," or just "the new grade."

Either way, I figured out what DMT was talking about when he said he turned right - the old priest grade.

No wonder Jody hates DMT!

Social climber
May 4, 2007 - 05:25pm PT
Hi Scuffy,

Good meeting you yesterday.

I think of 'em as Old Priest Grade & Priest Grade. Read it somewhere. Maybe Wikipedia. Doesn't make it "right", but it's what I call them.

I expect like most of us, I pretty much always take old priest grade, with the occasional smoking brakes, brake fade, etc. The irony is now I've switched to racing brake fluid, and installed high performance ceramic brake pads on all 4 corners of my wagon. And I haven't been to Yosemite once this year.

Trad climber
San Jose, CA
May 4, 2007 - 06:15pm PT
Sweet resurrection.

My favorite was the beam of light and angels going "ahhh"
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
May 4, 2007 - 07:00pm PT
Not bad Dingus, but know the flip side of the coin. I've been driving high performance (read german) vehicles for a while

and I'll be off probation really soon.

Social climber
May 6, 2007 - 02:56am PT
Great story, remindes me of one of my WORST passes ever.
Near the top of Old Priest Grade, following a jalop w/
a fridge tied one it going 5 mph, I got to a visibility spot
for oncomming traffic, and mashed the old volvo turbo, which
didn't fail me, but, lo, the visibility spot wasn't quite long
enough, they braked on the outside (downhill) as I squeeked by..
The Kiss of Death look on their faces, and I have thought since then, "There but the Grace of God..."
So wave to me as you pass, cause I've been one of the slow ones since then. Well, most of the time.

Social climber
The West
May 6, 2007 - 03:03am PT
It's 'old priest grade' and 'that other way'.
Dingus Milktoast

Topic Author's Reply - May 6, 2007 - 09:00am PT
The old Preist Grade is actually the new isn't it? Didn't it start as a wagon road in the gold rush? Took a team of mules all day to pull laden wagons from Rattlesnake Bar to Big Oak. THAT was the Priest Grade I think. Priest owned a boarding house or something?

Here's what Wiki says:,_California


Trad climber
May 6, 2007 - 02:59pm PT
There is no way to surPASS the DMT on a story like this but I've got one that must be in the running. I was not the driver but the driver is a regular on this forum. I doubt he (or she for that matter) will admit to it but that's ok. I give my Boy Scout salute and cross my heart it's true.

After a day of slab on the apron at the ditch, which had me at various times thinking my life was not quite as valuable I had previously thought, we were winding our back to the far end of the park. My partner was passing cars, trucks, RV's, buses like he/she is on fire while we were in that one way, two lane section leading out of the park. I'm feeling a little uncomfortable at first but start thinking, "What the hell? Fire it up and roll on!"

Eventually, we get to the tunnel. A line of turons is strung out on our side from the start to about 3/4 of the way to daylight. Not one car coming our way. My partner slides over to the oncoming lane and goes WOT (Wide Open Throttle). To quote Largo, "HO MAN!" I get a little grin on my dirty face. Off we go, faster and faster, around maybe a dozen cars. Nothing but light to the end.

Vehicles start blowing their horns, flashing their lights, frantic folks waving. I can read their lips, "Get OVER! It's two way traffic here!" Wide eyed they watch us fly past. The little smile turns into a sh%i eating grin. I've decided if this is my day, so be it. Finally, I can see the last car and we zoom over into the right lane. I am laughing out loud, shaking my head.

My partner says, "I don't usually drive that aggressively, but you gotta take what they give you." Strangely, the rest of the way, anytime someone got on our ass, he would pull over. He told me the solution was to let that guy pester the slow ones into the pulloffs; saves you from being the jackass. He taught me lots on that day.

la la land
May 6, 2007 - 03:11pm PT
The highway always provides the rush factor if you wish! Blind corner passing anyone...
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
Apr 21, 2010 - 11:28pm PT
sometime during every drive to YNP I think of this post...

Trad climber
Mill Valley, CA
Apr 21, 2010 - 11:36pm PT
Ed, thank you so much for bumping this and Dingus, thanks so much for writing it. Great, great story, had me cheering you on for a pass long completed. Ding-US!

Trad climber
The land of Fruits & Nuts!
Apr 22, 2010 - 01:06am PT
This is my all time favorite tidbit of writing on the taco.

I too think of this story every time I'm headed down that long stretch to the Valley. I always hope that one day I might have the fortune to make such a "pass".

This is the kind of writing that should make it into a climbing mag, but rarely if ever does.

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