2017 High Pipe Scrambler Rally

Tearing up China Peak's ski runs on heavy scramblers

high pipe scramblers
Our crew outside our stop on day oneMorgan Gales

I have been to ski resorts in the summer before. They're not typically willing to let a group of rowdy, scrambling motorcyclists run up the hills and kick up their dirt and mud for a couple days, but hey-- I guess China Peak is different.

From Friday the 9th to Sunday the 11th, we took over China Peak to climb the hills, run our rodeo, and just do all sorts of scrambly hooligan dirt stuff that most of these bikes claim to be built for, and some actually are.

china peak high pipe
Kelly Yazdi on the BMW R nineT Pure as we arrived at China Peak!Morgan Gales

Our group left Orange County Thursday morning with ambitions of taking the route provided through the REVER app. The route would take us up the 14fwy once we left LA, then through the mountains and back to the 168 that would take us up to China Peak. After the five of us got together, one was running late and one forgot some camera equipment, it seemed riding the whole distance wasn't in the cards. We were able to dance around the REVER route, stop for some good food, take our time, and take a nice little pitstop in Kingsburg at the end of day one to continue our ride in the morning.

Early the next morning we repacked the bikes and headed up through Fresno for two hours of some truly amazing riding. Once you hit the 168, you've got smooth sweepers through most of the climb. The road was almost entirely empty so we pulled up to 'ludicrous speed,' and saw just how well these scramblers performed on the road. The BMWs soft tires had a harder time gripping than the Pirelli Scorpion Rallys that were on the Ducati Desert Sled, but with the added power on the R nineT Scrambler, they managed to keep up pretty well. Once we got a little higher up the hill, the twisties got tighter and the lighter weight and more nimble Ducatis pulled away from the pack.

High Pipe hill climb
Adventure bikes, sport bikes, scramblers, trackers, mopeds, you name it! They all made it out to try to Hill Climb!Morgan Gales

As we pulled in to China Peak there were riders already starting to gather and the Motorcyclist Scrambler Rodeo was about to start. Riders would have to go through a few obstacles, some of which looked much more simple than they really were. Booths were set up by Rev'it!, Alpinestars, Bell Helmets, Stewards of the Sierras, and more as well as demo stations for riders to go test ride the newest bikes from Ducati and Honda. A few of the riders took off to explore nearby roads and trails while others made their way into the restaurant to start happy hour early. As the sun set, we started a movie over by the lodge and everyone spent time by the fire and talking about each others bikes and the plans for tomorrow.

high pipe hill climb
Father and daughter working on her CB450 after they both placed in the top five at the hill climb!Morgan Gales

Saturday was the day of the Hill Climb. We had heard Corey, the head honcho of High Pipe, talking this run up for weeks so we weren't going to slouch when it came time to make it happen. We all ran up and down the hill a few times, but had no clear lines of where the course was until the time came for practice. Well, we missed practice and were prerunning the wrong part of the course in the morning so we were flying blind-- but that wasn't going to stop up. Riding as fast as you possibly can on dirt when you have no idea where you're going, what could go wrong?

There were twists and turns. We went late so it was properly rutted. Huge rocks stood in the middle of a skinny mountain bike path, but we all did it as fast as we could. With times ranging from five minutes down to 1:49, the riders took their insane variety of bikes up and down the hill climb, some coming back covered in dirt but all smiling in their helmets.

We had Honda Trail 110s, Yamaha XS650s, a Honda CB450, some customs, adventure bikes, stock scramblers and many more. Everyone had a blast and the vibes on the hill were awesome. Everyone was encouraging and just stoked to be out on the hill doing something a little different.

BMW scrambler
Mark Buche on the BMW Urban GSMorgan Gales

In the end, we all got out and did something way more exciting with our weekend than we would have. Attendance cost $10, which was no big deal. The weather and scenery were absolutely gorgeous. We got to meet a bunch of like-minded folks and ride with them. We came back battered, scraped and bruised but would do it all again a thousand times.

If you missed out on High Pipe this year, stay tuned for next year. We're sure it's going to another amazing time!

BMW Scrambler
Trying to maintain speed approaching a turn on the BMW R nineT ScramblerMorgan Gales
honda cbr srambler
Totally normal... just taking his girlfriends CB300F through the High Pipe Hill ClimbMorgan Gales
Cannonball!
Morgan and Nathon Verdugo taking in the sights on their way down the hillBrody Cox
Ducati Desert Sled
The Desert Sled proved to be a hero of the weekend. This bike rips.Morgan Gales
high pipe hill climb
Some of the bikes that attempted the Hill Climb, including Stefan from Klim's tracker custom that pulled the second fastest time up front!Morgan Gales
Ducati Desert Sled
The Desert Sled all packed up with Velomacchi's 50l duffel ready to head back home.Morgan Gales