The canyon that ate Cone Peak Road

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gfelsman
Posts: 300
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:33 pm

Re: The canyon that ate Cone Peak Road

Post by gfelsman »

The only way to get to Cone Peak Road at present is by hiking or bike riding up Nacimiento Road. Both Nacimiento Road and Cone Peak Road are closed to vehicle traffic.
Flying_Starman

Re: The canyon that ate Cone Peak Road

Post by Flying_Starman »

Does anyone know if there is acceptable parking off Cone Peak Road before you hit the chasm?
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jack_glendening
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Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:03 am

Re: The canyon that ate Cone Peak Road

Post by jack_glendening »

While great for N-F Rd users, I've been told that money is specific to N-F Rd. And the condition of Cone Peak Road is way beyond that of N-F Rd, which is damaged but driveable.

Jack
Big Sur Trailmap: https://bigsurtrailmap.net
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gfelsman
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Re: The canyon that ate Cone Peak Road

Post by gfelsman »

Nacimiento/Ferguson Road received 12.6 million for emergency repairs on January 11th, 2022. There is no set timeline for completion at this time.
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gfelsman
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Re: The canyon that ate Cone Peak Road

Post by gfelsman »

They are working on an emergency repair order because of the fire. If they get funding, then they will work to set a timeline for repairs. Nacimiento has a preliminary estimate of the end of 2023. But again, that is not definite. It all depends on funding, design and construction timelines.
rt1
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Re: The canyon that ate Cone Peak Road

Post by rt1 »

I would guess that when there's a need for fire access, something will get done.
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jack_glendening
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The canyon that ate Cone Peak Road

Post by jack_glendening »

[All images can be expanded by clicking]

I read the recent forum report on Cone Peak Road+Trail by Ken Kienow reporting a washout chasm on Cone Peak Road, and was further intrigued by an indistinct nighttime photo sent by Gary Felsman. So decided to go out to see for myself how bad it was. I knew a large gully had developed below Cone Peak Road in recent years and suspected it had finally engulfed the road.

Unfortunately that is just what I found. There is now a gap of ~30ft in the road, with a vertical drop of ~30ft below it. Just today I found Ken had gone back in daylight, the day before I was there, and his photo is reproduced below.
ConePeakRdGap-fromNorth-k.kienow.jpg
Below are my photos taken from the opposite (southern) side
dsc01247.sixthsize.jpg
dsc01287.sixthsize.jpg
dsc01288.sixthsize.jpg
What has happened is that there is a major drainage 400 ft south with much flow (the current flow, days after the last rain, is over 1 liter/sec)
dsc01244.sixthsize.jpg
where the drain culverts (there were 2 pipes) have failed
dsc01232.sixthsize.jpg
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causing the flow to run downhill along the road to its low spot, pool there and then drain into and over the dirt surface to first create a gully and now a "canyon" with waterfall. (A drain did not exist at that low spot.)

The below animation alternates a Feb 2021 aerial view with topo showing the location of the failed drain and current canyon/waterfall.
Satellite & Terrain [2 images]
Satellite & Terrain [2 images]
The size of the canyon can also be appreciated from these photos taken from further away.
dsc01218.sixthsize.jpg
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GoogleEarth time sequences show a gully existing below that point for many years, growing upward with time - expanding particularly between 2015-2017. With the recent erosion, the gully has finally grown to reach and eat Cone Peak Road.
Time sequence Aug.2013-Feb.2021 [7 images]
Time sequence Aug.2013-Feb.2021 [7 images]
Ken feels "it's not too hard to hike up the hillside and around the giant washout". But I disagree, at least for the typical hiker. It's hard to get perspective in the below photo, but the road cut is vertical for ~3 feet and then _very_ steep (imho as a bushwhacker), with the least vertical spot being uncomfortably close to the drop into the canyon. You certainly do not want to slip and slide over the canyon edge! If sufficiently motivated one can climb most hillsides, and I could see that someone had indeed done that. But I did not wish to do it myself. Perhaps in time some people will circumvent the canyon and a use trail of sorts will be established - time will tell.
dsc01302.sixthsize.jpg
Does anyone care to take odds on the chances of Cone Peak Road ever being driveable again ?

Jack
Big Sur Trailmap: https://bigsurtrailmap.net
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