Talk:Donner Pass

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Unclear language in 2009 Railroad infrastructure section[edit]

The way the section is currently written, it seems to imply that all the infrastructure changes discussed above were implemented including relaying track #1. This is not true as per the sited article and other information on the subject, only the notching of tunnels and lowering of tunnel floors for Track #2 to accommodate double stack trains has occurred. Nothing has happened with Track #1 it is still pulled up.

Snowfall Statistics[edit]

I'd like to see statistics regarding the snowfall in Donner Pass to verify the superlative claim. MojaveNC 21:32, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

I added a link to a page that has a chart of snowfall records for Donnar Pass. The claim is accurate. MarcusGraly 19:27, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
Me confused, article says "Precipitation averages 51.6 inches (1,310 mm) per year" then it says "an average of 411.5 inches" Please unconfuse me. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:52, 11 October 2016 (UTC)
I believe Precipitation is inches of water-equivalent (when the snow melts). Typically, 1 foot of snow is equivalent to 1 inch of rainwater, so the 411.5 inches of snow is about 34 inches of water: the other 17 fall as actual rain. —hike395 (talk) 04:05, 11 October 2016 (UTC)

"Donner-Reed Pass"[edit]

Unverified section on missing persons refers to Donner Pass in the Sierras as "Donner-Reed Pass" which is actually on the Hastings Trail where it passes between the mountains "Silver Island" and "Crater Island" just North of the Great Salt Lake Desert in Tooele County, Utah. Centpacrr 03:19, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Decided to remove following anonymously posted section (see below) which is confusing, unverified, and contains known errors. Centpacrr 04:20, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
"It has been a long running mystery of the deaths of Donner-Reed Pass in the Sierra Nevadas of California. Since the winter of 1846 when the Donner Party was caught in freak blizzard at the summit of the pass over 119 others have disappeard on the mountain at the site of the original cannibalism events. This site is called Camp of Death by native americans because it is home to an ancient indian burial ground. The last known disappearance was recorded in 2002 when two men driving the pass at night stopped to chain the tires on their jeep before heading down the pass eastbound. The vehicle was found abandon with all of their belongings inside. Many say they have seen the ghosts of the Donner Party and they are to blame for the mysterious deaths of many since. In the winter of 1983 there was an older man found dead alongside tunnel 8 of the CVRR route 80 that was the end of the Lincoln Highway "Now Donner-Reed Pass I-80". He was found missing an arm and had pieces of flesh cut away from his legs that were never recovered. He is still believed to be the victim of a local cannibal that inhabits the mountain."[citation needed]

Contradiction in Article[edit]

Q: How should we handle the "traversed by" infobox. To be technical I-80 does not cross Donner Pass. What crosses Donner Pass is the SP railroad and the former route of U.S. 40. I have no problem listing I-80 here also but the article should be consistant. In the main line article it is stated that I-80 does not cross Donner Pass but rather the Euer saddle a few miles to the north. What should be changed, the main line or the info box? Davemeistermoab 04:42, 7 March 2007 (UTC)

OK. Nobody chimed in so I'll do my best to fix it. Hope it doen't make it too complicated Davemeistermoab 23:09, 10 March 2007 (UTC)

links to are excessive[edit]

While working on a minor clarification involving Yuba pass and Emigrant gap, I'm noting that the Central Pacific Railroad Museum's website is linked EXTENSIVELY and is the only source used. While I agree this is an excellent resource and good site. We don't want it to appear like wikipedia is just cloning someone else's work. I'm going to consolidate some links to this site and instead list them as a reference. Not meaning to offend. Please discuss any objections.Davemeistermoab 18:55, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

The links and references to, and materials and information derived from, the CPRR Museum site are used with permission as I am the original author and/or compiler of these materials and the photographer/creator of the digital images and 360º interactive QTVR panoramas of Donner Pass. Because of the vast scope of our site (more than 5,000 pages) I have included specific links to relevent pages and images which would otherwise be hard to find for the casual visitor. Centpacrr 23:10, 5 May 2007 (UTC)
Fair enough. I can respect and agree with that, I've browsed the site and agree there is a LOT of info. I also respect and am amazed at the work done both here and at

But still, links change, servers change. All it takes is only one change in management at the site and every link on this page will be broken. Most other project I work on encourage any external link as a footnote with (last retrieved on XXXXXX) next to every external link. I would argue that that is the right thing to do. I would also argue that it should be noted that the has given their permission for wikipedia to "borrow" content, and the source of that permission should be included as a footnote. It's been my experience that 10 years later, when somebody asks, these details are difficult to find.

I also still feel it was right to note that this is not the same Yuba pass as todays maps denote and this content is more appropriate at the Emigrant Gap page. I meant no harm by the changes. Cheers Davemeistermoab 23:31, 5 May 2007 (UTC)

I have spent many hundreds of hours over the past eight years since the online CPRR Museum was launched in February, 1999, researching and writing about the CPRR (including a 445-page book published in 2005) and have personally walked and photographed many sections of its Sierra grade between Newcastle and Donner Pass much of which was surveyed, located by, and then built under the personal supervsion of my great great grandfather, Lewis M. Clement, who was the CPRR's Chief Assistant Engineer and Superintendent of Track during the entire construction of the line (1862-69) and beyond until leaving the company 1881. The railroad related text in the Donner Pass entry is not borrowed from the Museum but was written by me for the entry here. I have written very much more extensively on this same subject in pages I have created for the Museum some of which are included in links within the text. The additional external links are to my extensive photographic gallery and interactive panoramas. As I am also personally involved in the operation of the Museum site, there is no chance that links to it would not be updated by me if in the Donner Pass entry if any of them were to change. The links to the site contained with the text are to pages containing relavent original source materials which I have collected, transcribed, annotated, and illustrated, and which by in large can be found nowhere else on the internet.
I have also removed your footnote about Emigrant Gap which is erroneous, The 1952 stranding of the "City of San Francisco" did indeed occur at Yuba Pass on Track #1 adjacent to Tunnel 35 (Track #2) at about MP 176.5. Emigrant Gap is located a little more than four miles further West along the Sierra grade. Thank you for your interest. Best. Centpacrr 06:26, 7 May 2007 (UTC)
Thanks for your diligence. I'm both embarrassed and still pondering. I have stood, if not at this exact spot, close to it on a few occasions and have never seen it marked with a name. contrary to the [CA-49] Yuba Pass which is marked with much fanfare. I assumed the names changed with time, but that's not right either. According to your museum the engineers considered routing the rail over the [ca-49] Yuba Pass and called this the Yuba Pass alternative. So why did somebody name this spot on the railroad Yuba Pass when a pass just 30 miles north already had this name? Oh well. Anyways thanks for researching this and correcting me. It was not my intent to make the page inaccurate. Davemeistermoab 15:10, 8 May 2007 (UTC)

This location on the CPRR was apparently called Yuba Pass by the railroad from the beginning as this is how it is referred to in the Report of the Chief Enigineer, S.S. Montague, of December, 1865, in which he quotes L.M. Clement, the Engineer-in-Charge of the Second Dvision (Colfax to Summit), at page 13: "From Owl Gap to the Summit, a distance of twenty-four and one-half miles, the work is of much less expensive character, and a good location has been made upon a grade of eighty-five feet per mile. From Owl Gap to Emigrant Gap, a distance of three miles, and thence for four miles along the northern slope of the divide to the Yuba Pass, the work will be light. From the Yuba Pass to Holt's Ravine, the cuttings, though generally light, are mostly in granite or gneiss, and for a short distance in the vicinity of Butte Cañon, in trap. For nearly three fourths of the distance between the Yuba Pass and Holt's Ravine, the work will consist of light side cutting and embankment, and between Holt's Ravine and the Summit, almost wholly of the latter." Centpacrr 17:44, 8 May 2007 (UTC)
FYI, the page on I was referring to is here: "The fourth route crossed the canyons of the South and Middle forks of the Yuba River and continued up the North Fork of that river via Downieville and the Yuba Pass, and through Sierra Valley to the Truckee River." Which is the route of modern CA-49 and CA-89 between Aubern and Truckee. Davemeistermoab 01:11, 9 May 2007 (UTC)
The real source of the confusion is that there are actually two places in the Sierras which carry the name "Yuba Pass" -- one in Nevada County at MP176.5 on the CPRR Sierra grade located four miles East of Emigrant Gap and three miles West of Cisco, and another in Sierra County through which CA-49 now passes. Centpacrr 05:54, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Location of Donner Pass[edit]

Also, over on Donner Pass, I was just there a few months back (I know, OR), and stood at that location... the source that you give for Donner Pass is indeed definitive ordinarily, but this particular station isn't at the actual Donner Pass... You know how benchmarks, stations like this one aren't always right at the feature. The low point (saddle), the actual pass, is of course not on Rt. 40's north side there (the new road), but south just a bit at the coordinates and (lower) elevation that I provided, where the historic road (Lincoln Hwy, Old Donner Pass Rd.) crossed the ridge... quite a bitter lower there at the actual pass, where topo maps, GPS readings, etc. clearly show that as the lowest point on the ridge and the pass; there just happens to be no benchmark or station there. In short, we've got an accurately surveyed station near Donner Pass, but it's neither at the actual pass, nor the lowest point on the ridge (which, by definition, is the pass.)DLinth (talk) 03:58, 24 January 2017 (UTC)

... this actual pass location (the old road) is 137 ft. lower than the surveyed spot you've included... and has a reliable USGS source (that you deleted, I assume accidentally... and is the spot in the 1870 picture (unmistakable cliffs on the right (south) side, looking east.)) DLinth (talk) 04:05, 24 January 2017 (UTC)

@DLinth: The description of the benchmark from the NGS datasheet says, "THE STATION IS LOCATED ON THE NORTH SIDE OF DONNER PASS ROAD (OLD US HIGHWAY 40) AT DONNER PASS". I'm not sure what else to do --- the NGS says the benchmark is at the Pass. I don't want to rely on original research to define the pass with no reliable source. But you're right, the point is ~130 feet higher than what the topo map says should be the pass elevation. —hike395 (talk) 04:30, 24 January 2017 (UTC)
The problem is that the 1899 book doesn't have a lat/long, just an elevation. And it uses Josiah Whitney as the source: I would be shocked if the California Geological Survey was accurate to within 10 feet elevation. Interpreting the 1899 book to support a lat/long value seems like synthesis of sourceshike395 (talk) 04:36, 24 January 2017 (UTC)