scroll down for more photos
Sonora Pass (9624 feet / 2934 meters,
see highway 108 on map), is the
toughest east-west crossing of the California Sierra mountains on a
paved road -- due to its combination of steepness and high altitude.
But it's also one the most spectacular mountain passes in North
America, most of all when there's still lots of snow around, like
when I rode it just after Memorial Day weekend after abnormally
large snowfall in May.
higher-resolution photos slideshow on Picasa
riders out that day
I met a touring cyclist climbing the west side (who took that picture above
He was continuing to Las
Vegas. His original plan had been to go over Tioga. I think the west
side of Sonora is way harder, but he made it up and over.
Third rider that day, zoomed by me late afternoon, plunging down the
west-side upper steep
I started from Kennedy Meadows on the west side, climbed up and over and
down to Leavitt Meadows on the east side, then back the same way. Great
day for me -- some luck + strategy that high-altitude symptoms didn't
hit me this time, so I was able to enjoy the riding and the scenery,
instead of just surviving and taking photos.
sequence of photos from low
to high (even though I took them in reverse order on descent)
looking down into top of the
first steep section
snow visible already down to 8000 ft
above south side of road
easy section to rest from climbing
rock crag on north side of road
snowy on south side
road keeps climbing
more of west side of Sonora Pass, then east side :