December Winter Randonnee Ride: Soapstone Basin—Wolf Creek Pass

Descending into Soapstone Basin

Descending into Soapstone Basin

What: The Fatbike Brigade Winter Randonnee Series December ride

When: Saturday, December 20, 2014, 8:00 am.

Where: Soapstone Basin (14 miles up the Mirror Lake Highway from Kamas; this is the end of the road, as far as it is plowed in the Winter. The Soapstone Basin Road (FS 037) takes off to the right).

Full Distance: 21.8 miles, with 2460′ of climbing.

Course Details: Soapstone Basin Road, aka Forest Service Road #037. takes off to the right of the parking lot right off the Mirror Lake Highway. The beginning elevation is 7778′. The road immediately crosses Provo River, then begins to climb gradually to a pass at about 8700′,then drops slightly into Soapstone Basin. You cross the basin on some very gentle rollers and flat ground. On the far side of the basin is a junction—turn right here, staying on Forest Service Road 037, (in fact at any intersection follow the signs for road 037). The road climbs steadily up to a wide open windswept area and Soapstone Pass at 9070′ and 5.8 miles. The road then descends down to Wolf Creek Road at 8400′ and around 7.7 miles. At this junction turn left and head up the steep road (6-8% grade)  for a bit more than 3 miles to the pass at 9512′ at 10.9 miles. On the right will be Wolf Creek Campground. This is the turnaround point, unless you want to descend down the other side and get lunch in Hanna. Ride back the same way you came to the Soapstone Basin parking lot at the Mirror Lake Highway.

Note: If you don’t want to ride the whole course, you have a few options.

Option 1: Turn around at Soapstone Basin (6-7 miles round trip)

Option 2: Turn around at the top of Soapstone Pass (11.5 miles round trip)

Option 3: Turn around at the Wolf Creek Road junction (15 miles round trip)

Option 4: Turn around at the top of Wolf Creek Pass (21.8 miles)

Tips: This is backcountry so please be prepared and self sufficient. We strongly recommend carrying the following with you for the whole ride:

• plenty of water to last you 21 miles with some good climbing (4-8 hours)

• food and/or snacks

• warm puffy jacket (if you have to change a flat or you get injured, you will need something to keep you warm); space blanket or bag just in case.

• extra pair of gloves, hat, other cold weather gear

• fire starting kit (and know how to start a fire in the snow)

Let us know if you have any questions. Leave a comment or email us at fatbikebrigade at gmail dot com.

We rode up to Soapstone Pass this morning and the trail was in pretty good shape. There was 2-4″ of fresh snow over a firm base, and it was beginning to snow when we left at 1:00 pm. Hopefully we’ll get a few snowmobilers over the course in the coming week. The descents were fast and very fun. It looks like it will be a great route.

Here are a few pics from our ride today.

Beginning of the ride, heading toward the climb up to Soapstone Basin.

Beginning of the ride, heading toward the climb up to Soapstone Basin.

Climbing up to Soapstone Basin.

Climbing up to Soapstone Basin.

The gentle descent into the Basin.

The gentle descent into the Basin.

Crossing the relatively flat Basin.

Crossing the relatively flat Basin.

Climbing up out of the basin toward Soapstone Pass.

Climbing up out of the basin toward Soapstone Pass.

Soapstone Pass.

Soapstone Pass.

Bullet and Doc taking a break at the top of Soapstone Basin.

Bullet and Doc taking a break at the top of Soapstone Basin.

Looking back down into Soapstone Basin from the Pass.

Looking back down into Soapstone Basin from the Pass.

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