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Black Bear Pass, CO - Call for Closure from Sheriff

- - - - - Black Bear Pass closure

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#1
RedRover

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While I wasn't able to attend, Rupert & Ron ran this trail last week.  Yesterday, a segment was run on the local news that the Sheriff is calling for closure of Black Bear Pass due to the lack of resources and amount it takes to cover a rescue operation in that area.

 

Below is a link to the video:

 

http://www.westernsl...MpkGRbPhIoRrT8Q


Jared (KJ6MQI)
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#2
DHappel

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Linky no worky.

 

I'm sure it is very expensive to do a rescue up there, but how often do they actually have an accident that requires rescue?  It's a pretty tame trail, just high and narrow.  Maybe that's the problem, it's too easy so people just head out in their rental car and get in trouble?

 

More likely they want to close it because they can't make money on it like they can writing parking or speeding tickets on the highways or in town.  Not that I'm cynical about the police or anything.


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Don
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#3
RedRover

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Thanks, try this:

 

http://www.westernsl...MpkGRbPhIoRrT8Q


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#4
Disco2Guy

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Sounds like it just needs a small gatekeeper pile of rocks.


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Brenton Corns
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#5
RON CT110

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Heard about this also.  Thanks Jared for posting.

 

That's a shame.  Black Bear Pass is a beautiful trail w/spectacular views, but it's not for everyone.  Need 4x4 driving skills/experience to navigate moderate to difficult trails.  I also think the Sheriff is using the incident as an excuse to close the trail w/o  considering many hundreds drive/spot safely on this trail.  See attached Sheriff news release. 

 

IMO the cost of the rescue and medical treatment should come out of this driver's pocket, and not punish responsible drivers like us by closing the trail.  Here are my reasons:

 

- I read in a local 4x4 forum that the couple appeared to be over their head, moving slowly, and looked confused/lost.  Had plenty of opportunity to turn around as one observer pointed out.

- There's also a large sign posted before the steep stair steps and tight switchbacks (see pic 1) "One Way Only Beyond This Point" and "Turn Around Now".  if the couple turned around after the sign (see pic 2), as you can see in the picture very steep (and the picture doesn't do justice on how steep that trail was; reason why we were concern about rain and icy condition in the first place before heading out) and turn around very dangerous, more reason why they are responsible for the cost of the rescue.  Couple should consider themselves lucky and alive today.  Pay Up!

- One observer claimed that the couple came in from the bottom and tried to turn around, there is a sign at the bottom (pic 3) that says "One Way Only" and "Do not Enter".

- If the couple rented their vehicle, Black Bear Pass is one of the roads that 4x4/Jeep Rental Businesses do not allow you to take their vehicles (see the print at the bottom): http://coloradowestj...y-jeep-rentals/

Attached Files


Edited by RON CT110, 03 August 2015 - 09:04 PM.

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#6
RON CT110

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Sheriff New Release

Attached Files


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"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away" - Anonymous


#7
Disco2Guy

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How many times a year do they need to rescue someone up there? Everyone of the circumstances of that story point to bad judgement on the driver. It would be a shame for that to be the cause for its closure.


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#8
DHappel

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In the clip they quote the sheriff as saying they have 'hundreds' of vehicles up there this time of year.  And they spent 1 hour doing rescue so they should just close it down?

 

I think the sheriff's wife is leaving him for a wheeler, so he's taking it out on the whole community.

 

Actually, they explained the whole problem in the article.  The couple was from Florida.  Never trust anybody from a state who's highest point is an overpass.


Don
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#9
DHappel

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Also, given that this community exists almost entirely on tourism I wonder what closing the pass would do to the towns in the area?


Don
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#10
ROVRMAN2

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The Florida driver had bad judgement. He should've turned around at the one way sign especially if he wasn't sure. Sounded like he was not familiar with the terrain. Ron, I don't remember a "large rock". If there was one I was very close to it, hugging the wall since the scenic side was near vertical.

The trail is 2 way and easy until you get to the area between the 2 water falls. THEN...I really hugged the wall and was on the brake even with HDC on. It was steep. Ron, what's your guess on the angle? Ron was taking pics and was following me down the incline, he had trouble slowing down,and he was walking!   Everytime I stepped on the brake, the LR would stop and slide an inch or two.TG it was forward! I was too busy watching the trail ahead of me to look at the leftside view. ( probably do the Mulder bit....scream like a 10 yr old girl?).

From my quick research Black Bear usually has a rescue at least every 1 or 2 yrs. 

Telluride has winter ski lifts, is very touristy, very expensive, and has many super billionaires living in the area

Black Bear is only 1 way going down from the pass, east to west into Telluride. There is a main highway that enters into Telluride but then if you want to do a trail, it's the Imogene Pass trail, easier and also scenic.It travels west to east.

Well if they do close the trail, at least Ron and I can say we did it.  


Edited by ROVRMAN2, 04 August 2015 - 08:58 AM.

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#11
DHappel

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On the one hand I can agree that the couple caused their own problems by dis-obeying posted signs and clearly made their own bed.  So it feels like they should be on the hook for the bill.  On the other, that's simply not the way we do things in the US.  If you get in trouble hiking and the NPS has to come find you; if you're boating and something happens and the Coast Guard has to come save you; if you're out wherever and local SAR people have to be deployed - we don't bill people for these efforts.  One of the arguments against billing people for SAR work is that it would make them less likely to call for help early in a situation before it devolves into something truly bad or life-threatening. 

 

Of course we then have the 'nuisance' calls from people who clearly don't need rescue but are simply tired or don't want to help themselves and want somebody to come make things easy for them, so a fee structure would help eliminate those calls.

 

I would suggest putting more stringent warning signs up at the beginning of the pass, but who actually pays attention to such things?  And the more of them there are the less attention they get.  If you see one warning sign you think 'gee, maybe I'd better think about this'.  If you see them at the start of every trail you just think 'meh...just more CYA boilerplate'. 

 

A gatekeeper might be a good idea, but you don't really need a built rig to run this trail.  I think you can find video of people running this trail in a Subaru on youtube.  Putting in a gatekeeper would keep out the less-built vehicles but I'm not sure that would be the right move for a trail like this.  What you need is a gatekeeper that amounts to a really steep, narrow section right at the beginning, with a sign saying 'now imagine that with a 500' drop on the side....'


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#12
DHappel

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I found a story on Expedition Portal about the accident:

http://expeditionpor...motor-vehicles/

 

Some good comments at the end of the article, including the detail that it was a side-by-side that rolled and not a Jeep or other truck. 

 

 

 

And here's a first-hand story about the accident that's linked within those comments:

https://outdoorx4.co...s-in-the-hills/

 

Seems the Sherriff didn't exactly give a 'fair and balanced' (well, maybe he did in the Fox interpretation of that phrase) rendition.  Most of the rescue was carried out by other off-roaders, firstly a Toyota club who found the couple and co-ordinated the rescue, and a side-by-side driver who brought the injured woman down the trail.  It's also noted that the local agencies were unable to do a proper response because most of their people were tied up in a training that day -so the sheriff's assessment that the rescue used too many resources again comes under suspicion.  Sounds like they not only had more resources available and didn't use them, they didn't need them because the off-road community was largely taking care of it's own.


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Don
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#13
astateofmike

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A gatekeeper might be a good idea, but you don't really need a built rig to run this trail.  I think you can find video of people running this trail in a Subaru on youtube.  Putting in a gatekeeper would keep out the less-built vehicles but I'm not sure that would be the right move for a trail like this.  What you need is a gatekeeper that amounts to a really steep, narrow section right at the beginning, with a sign saying 'now imagine that with a 500' drop on the side....'

https://youtu.be/aMnjxtPVu3o

 

Yes.  You can.


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#14
DHappel

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https://youtu.be/aMnjxtPVu3o

 

Yes.  You can.

ha....just finished watching that and came back here to post the link but you beat me to it!

 

As you can see in the video, not technical terrain but a high pucker factor on the narrow/steep bits.


Don
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#15
AdvRovr

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Reminds me of the road we took to Lumsden Bridge in the Stanislaus Forest. We did it no trouble in the Highlander, and my parents joined us in their Cord Fusion, but it was incredibly narrow and steep in some spots and barely passable for the Fusion with some very tricky driving.

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