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Old 02-18-2013, 04:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Mountain High, CA roads during storm and no chains???

This is my first season doing a lot of commuting to the mountains and taking riding seriously (been going once a week). I did a night session a couple weeks ago where it started snowing and about 5 inches came down. The manual for my car says the suspension is too low for chains and so I talk with some employees/locals once it started snowing about if I should stick around... After being told by said locals to not worry about getting snowed in or the roads being unsafe unless the snow gets deep enough to where you have trouble walking I decided to wing it and stick it out for the rest of the night. And BOY was it worth it. The roads were icy as F and there was a chain requirement for cars coming up, but there was no chain requirement going down (like the locals said rarely happens) and taking it EXTREMELY slow down seemed to pose no risk. All in all everything turned out great and I would feel safe doing it all over again for sure

Which brings me to my current situation... As some of you may know a nice FAT single day storm is coming through on Tuesday. 4 inches are forecasted during the day with 5 to 9 at night. I DESPERATELY want to shred that night session, but this time I don't know if it's something I can get away with. I seriously don't know anything about how much worse the roads will be this time around vs last time and how much more difficult the increased snowfall is going to make driving the roads safely without chains.

Does anyone familiar with the area have any input? This isn't like coming down from Bear with turn after turn. The road in/out of Mt High is practically a straight line, but I really don't want to get snowed in, or get on the road and find myself freaking out because it's a thousand times worse than last time. So please, anyone with any input please send it my way!

Thanks in advance

EDIT: Here is the forecast for those curious - Tuesday Snow showers. Areas of fog. High near 34. Breezy, with a southwest wind 15 to 20 mph increasing to 20 to 25 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 45 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Tuesday Night Snow showers. Areas of fog. Low around 13. Windy, with a west wind 20 to 30 mph, with gusts as high as 45 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 5 to 9 inches possible.

Last edited by rvcasrfr; 02-18-2013 at 04:20 AM.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:54 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by rvcasrfr View Post
This is my first season doing a lot of commuting to the mountains and taking riding seriously (been going once a week). I did a night session a couple weeks ago where it started snowing and about 5 inches came down. The manual for my car says the suspension is too low for chains and so I talk with some employees/locals once it started snowing about if I should stick around... After being told by said locals to not worry about getting snowed in or the roads being unsafe unless the snow gets deep enough to where you have trouble walking I decided to wing it and stick it out for the rest of the night. And BOY was it worth it. The roads were icy as F and there was a chain requirement for cars coming up, but there was no chain requirement going down (like the locals said rarely happens) and taking it EXTREMELY slow down seemed to pose no risk. All in all everything turned out great and I would feel safe doing it all over again for sure

Which brings me to my current situation... As some of you may know a nice FAT single day storm is coming through on Tuesday. 4 inches are forecasted during the day with 5 to 9 at night. I DESPERATELY want to shred that night session, but this time I don't know if it's something I can get away with. I seriously don't know anything about how much worse the roads will be this time around vs last time and how much more difficult the increased snowfall is going to make driving the roads safely without chains.

Does anyone familiar with the area have any input? This isn't like coming down from Bear with turn after turn. The road in/out of Mt High is practically a straight line, but I really don't want to get snowed in, or get on the road and find myself freaking out because it's a thousand times worse than last time. So please, anyone with any input please send it my way!

Thanks in advance

EDIT: Here is the forecast for those curious - Tuesday Snow showers. Areas of fog. High near 34. Breezy, with a southwest wind 15 to 20 mph increasing to 20 to 25 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 45 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New snow accumulation of 1 to 3 inches possible.
Tuesday Night Snow showers. Areas of fog. Low around 13. Windy, with a west wind 20 to 30 mph, with gusts as high as 45 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 5 to 9 inches possible.
As always with weather these things can be unpredictable, the good news is it's not a busy day so worst case scenario you could book a cheap room for the night and wait for the road to get plowed.

My guess is that Mt. High will be easily accessed and departed from during the storm. Big Bear is another beast altogether. The issue is not necessarily the turns but the grade. I remember when a landmark blizzard hit right as we were leaving Big Bear, and the snow started coming down hard, and we were driving down a flat strip of road and cars were spinning out all over the place, we decided to turn around and get a room...the U-Turn and subsequent drive back through car after car losing control on the downhill grade and sliding nearly into us was extremely dangerous. Those roads have cliff drops, and 1 car may not be enough to dent the barriers, but two cars certainly could create a deadly drop.

The moral of the story is simple. If you don't have 4WD or chains, and if you're a typical LA driver who never changes their tires and has to drive 40mpg in light showers or risk skidding, then you should probably reconsider. It's not just for your safety, it is for others safety as well. Especially if you plan on driving back at night.

Also, CHP can and will ticket you for not having chains.

The chain requirement is mainly for the downgrades, where you need to dig into the ice to have any chance of control. Driving uphill, especially if you have momentum, you will not notice the ice, I have made the drive many times and the ice is very subtle on the way up, but shit can get -very- real on the way down.

My advice would be to rent/borrow a car with 4WD, with the forecasted snow and 4WD or tire chains, you will be absolutely fine leaving Mt. High.
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Old 02-18-2013, 05:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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As always with weather these things can be unpredictable, the good news is it's not a busy day so worst case scenario you could book a cheap room for the night and wait for the road to get plowed.

My guess is that Mt. High will be easily accessed and departed from during the storm. Big Bear is another beast altogether. The issue is not necessarily the turns but the grade. I remember when a landmark blizzard hit right as we were leaving Big Bear, and the snow started coming down hard, and we were driving down a flat strip of road and cars were spinning out all over the place, we decided to turn around and get a room...the U-Turn and subsequent drive back through car after car losing control on the downhill grade and sliding nearly into us was extremely dangerous. Those roads have cliff drops, and 1 car may not be enough to dent the barriers, but two cars certainly could create a deadly drop.

The moral of the story is simple. If you don't have 4WD or chains, and if you're a typical LA driver who never changes their tires and has to drive 40mpg in light showers or risk skidding, then you should probably reconsider. It's not just for your safety, it is for others safety as well. Especially if you plan on driving back at night.

Also, CHP can and will ticket you for not having chains.

The chain requirement is mainly for the downgrades, where you need to dig into the ice to have any chance of control. Driving uphill, especially if you have momentum, you will not notice the ice, I have made the drive many times and the ice is very subtle on the way up, but shit can get -very- real on the way down.

My advice would be to rent/borrow a car with 4WD, with the forecasted snow and 4WD or tire chains, you will be absolutely fine leaving Mt. High.
Thanks for the reply.. It seems like throughout most of it you were addressing Big Bear though. I am definitely going to Mt High.. Did you mean shit can get -very- real on the way down from High? Because like I said, I came down at 11pm right after 5 inches came down and after getting adjusted to how quickly you can lose traction if you hold the brakes I felt practically zero loss of control. Can I expect this to be drastically different/more extreme due to the double snowfall and lower temps of this storm? That is my main concern... Also borrowing a car is definitely not an option.. It's pretty much just don't go if the consensus is that driving the night of Tuesday's storm without chains would be a mistake

I also got new tires like 3 months ago if that makes a difference

Last edited by rvcasrfr; 02-18-2013 at 05:11 AM.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:11 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Get cable chains. They are very low profile compared to the actual chain links that trucks use. And put your car in a lower gear to engine brake and keep you at a consistant speed rather than ride you brakes the whole way down.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:19 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by rvcasrfr View Post
Thanks for the reply.. It seems like throughout most of it you were addressing Big Bear though. I am definitely going to Mt High.. Did you mean shit can get -very- real on the way down from High? Because like I said, I came down at 11pm right after 5 inches came down and after getting adjusted to how quickly you can lose traction if you hold the brakes I felt practically zero loss of control. Can I expect this to be drastically different/more extreme due to the double snowfall and lower temps of this storm? That is my main concern... Also borrowing a car is definitely not an option.. It's pretty much just don't go if the consensus is that driving the night of Tuesday's storm without chains would be a mistake

I also got new tires like 3 months ago if that makes a difference
New tires don't mean anything. It would be a mistake if you know you will encounter weather and choose to put yourself in a situation knowing you might have problem. If it snows at Mammoth CHP will check every car for chain. 4x4 must carry chains too, you will be turned back if you don't carry them. mammoth is a very flat drive.
Just because you didn't have a problem one day doesn't mean you won't another, that is why it it called an accident, it was unplanned. Even chains don't guarantee you won't have problems.

Have you googled you car model and snow cables?

If you have the money and space and cables also don't work for you , you might consider another set of smaller narrower set of wheels and tires. Did you know we have the most lawyers per capita ?
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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New tires don't mean anything. It would be a mistake if you know you will encounter weather and choose to put yourself in a situation knowing you might have problem. If it snows at Mammoth CHP will check every car for chain. 4x4 must carry chains too, you will be turned back if you don't carry them. mammoth is a very flat drive.
Just because you didn't have a problem one day doesn't mean you won't another, that is why it it called an accident, it was unplanned. Even chains don't guarantee you won't have problems.

Have you googled you car model and snow cables?

If you have the money and space and cables also don't work for you , you might consider another set of smaller narrower set of wheels and tires. Did you know we have the most lawyers per capita ?
CHP only check cars on the weekends and it's another example of CA exploiting its citizens for revenue. There is absolutely no need for tire chains in Mammoth if it has -already- snowed, all of the uphill areas can be easily avoided by taking a shuttle, the only time you might want tire chains is to get out of a tricky parking spot.

Big Bear is another animal altogether. CHP rarely enforce tire chains, in fact the locals will give you a dirty look if conditions are bad and you aren't rocking em.

Cable chains are not that much of a lower profile, but it's hard for me to believe that they would cause an issue with his suspension.

While I agree that new tires hardly make a difference, they do make some difference compared to the notoriously dead/bald tires LA'ers rocker.

My vote is simply a no without chains or 4WD. 5 inches of snow can fall relatively fast and if you plan on leaving at night you will be driving through the worst of it.
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Old 02-18-2013, 04:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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And dont be that guy who is driving 10mph because you are not prepared when those with 4WD or chains can safely drive much faster.
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Old 02-18-2013, 08:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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go, park at the bottom and hitch
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I'd be concerned. We don't have all of the meteorological factors to look at, but with that amount of snow and those temps I'm guessing the snow could be a bit wet and heavy, which can either high center your car or send you spinning into the ditch. What's the predicted high for Wednesday?

Maybe I missed it, but what's your vehicle and snow driving experience?
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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CHP only check cars on the weekends and it's another example of CA exploiting its citizens for revenue. There is absolutely no need for tire chains in Mammoth if it has -already- snowed, all of the uphill areas can be easily avoided by taking a shuttle, the only time you might want tire chains is to get out of a tricky parking spot.

Big Bear is another animal altogether. CHP rarely enforce tire chains, in fact the locals will give you a dirty look if conditions are bad and you aren't rocking em.

Cable chains are not that much of a lower profile, but it's hard for me to believe that they would cause an issue with his suspension.

While I agree that new tires hardly make a difference, they do make some difference compared to the notoriously dead/bald tires LA'ers rocker.

My vote is simply a no without chains or 4WD. 5 inches of snow can fall relatively fast and if you plan on leaving at night you will be driving through the worst of it.

Big Beach CHP is letting Natural Selection take its course.

I cant see how the chains can hit the suspension parts on cars when the car bounces or if the chains are put too lose, especailly when people put wider performace tires on, great choice for the snow. The stuff will scrap the mounts of the structs , not the shocks or springs themselves. Even if it is the suspension that damages the chain, you are still going to have ulgy problems.

Although most tires that I've seen have M+S stamped on the side (Mud and Snow) m new Bridgestone did not perform as well as myMichelines. Don't trust to be safe just because M + S is stamped on the sidewall.


I have some cables that I'm about to post on the FS section and CL, what size tires do you have?
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