SKATEBOARDING AT GLORY HOLE FULL PIPE
Be Prepared For A Big Trip
Photo Linda Reader
HOW DO YOU GET TO GLORY HOLE?
Take I-80 west toward San Francisco, and take Exit 113 towards Woodland. Travel about 1.5 miles until you see the sign for Winters. Exit here and turn left at the light. Follow this road into Winters. This road turns into Highway 128. Continue on 128 for approximately 16.9 miles to Wragg Canyon Rd. Turn right onto Wragg Canyon Rd. and travel 3 miles to the entrance gate.
From San Francisco
Take Interstate 80 northbound. Continue north out of the immediate bay area, and head toward Vacaville. Just as you’re passing through Vacaville, keep your eyes peeled for the Highway 505/Winters exit. Take that exit northbound. From Highway 505, take the Winters exit. Winters is a small farming community. It’s a few miles west of Highway 505. It’s about 15 miles due west of Davis, California. The main road from Highway 505 through Winters is Highway 128. It goes from up Winters beyond Lake Berryessa, and into Napa, California.
From Downtown Winters
Take Highway 128 west, toward Lake Berryessa. Go approximately nine (9) miles to the base of the dam. You will pass by a seasonal store which sells things like drinks, food, and fishing supplies for the campers at the nearby campground. Just past the store, you’ll drive over Putah Creek (no joke), which is the name of the creek that flows out from Lake Berryessa.
This creek is very, very cold. Because it flows from the bottom of Lake Berryessa the water temperature is right around 50 degrees year-round. It’s a good trout fishery, and there are usually lots of fly fishermen during fishing season (April through October.)
Just past the bridge where you cross over Putah Creek, you will see a dirt parking lot to the right. Fishermen use this parking lot to hike back and fish Putah Creek all the way to the base of the dam. “PARK HERE!”
From Putah Creek
Walk up the trail about a 1/4 mile to the base of the dam. The trail ends at a large rock formation. Climb out onto the rocks, and peek around the corner. You’ll see the Glory Hole with just a small body of water between you and total Gnar..
You could try to climb the rocks along the left-hand wall and make it there, but I’ve never seen anyone successfully do this. Especially with an armload of skate gear. Best to bring a raft, canoe, or some other flotation device. I don’t recommend swimming it, unless you’re really into hypothermia. You could try to swim it, but it’s very cold all year long. Even when it’s 100 degrees outside, the water will still chill you to the bone.
WHAT DO YOU NEED FOR A SUCCESSFUL TRIP?
Under Each Topic Are Links For Supplies You May Need For The Big Trip
FOLLOW THE LINK BELOW FOR THE GLORY HOLE SUPPLIES PAGE
1. Skateboards And Skateboard Parts. I’ve seen longboards, vert boards, street boards and bmx bikes work at Glory Hole, it’s your call. I always bring my street stick and my pool rig. Any more than two boards is just more to carry and transport on your trek. Large wheels with a softer duro work best on this surface, areas of the ‘create are pitted and of course using bigger wheels will generate more speed on the humongous transitions. Also, tighter trucks are a good ideas for maintaining a true line on the huge walls of the pipe. These are just common sense and general suggestions for your benefit. Lastly, never take a skate trip with out skateboard parts and misc. gear. A busted king pin, or a bad flat spot could ruin the long journey you have endured to skate Glory Hole. Again just more good sound advice.
2. Helmet And Pads. Knee pads are necessary in my opinion, especially if you are going big on a this big full pipe Helmets are always advised by for safety even if they don’t look cool. Take it off for your photos if you must, but wear it until you warm up and get a feel for this massive pipe.
3. All Purpose Towels. Bring several towels for the long day and all the activities. Trust me it will come in handy if you decide to swim, soak your feet, or if the pipe needs drying from any water drip-age.
4. Food, Snacks And Munchies. he nearest store is a few miles away from the car and hiking back to where you parked from the pipe is a ridiculous amount of work, so be prepared from the get go.
5. Water And Fluids. BRING A LOT, because it gets very hot in the summer and the sun reflects off the water, also you’re going to sweat and avoiding dehydration is very important. Beer is the most dehydrated fluid you could possibly drink, although beer it is key to some skaters session, be advised of the potential risks.
6. Take Your Crew Or A Friend. It’s a good idea to go with someone you know. If you skate alone, and get hurt there’s no way anyone would even hear you or know about it. Same rules that apply with surfing safety, apply on this trip, “there’s safety in numbers.”
7. Raft, Canoe Or Flotation Device. You can’t get to the pipe unless you cross a small body of water and it is too dangerous to scale down the pipes face. It is always better to skate when you’re dry than when you’re wet, so bring floatation device to transport you and your gear to the Glory Hole destination.
8.Broom And Kitty Litter. Why? Because there is always a trickle of water in the bottom of the pipe (it does run under a lake, after all). A push broom works great to sweep out the water and slime, and then spread some kitty litter into the pipe to soak up any residual moisture.
9. First Aid And Medical Supplies. Throw in any first aid or medical supplies you can get. You never know what will arise with injuries, fatigue, or any other ailments that can happen. Remember you are quite a hike away from a hospital and getting a EMC team to the Glory Hole may take hours to say the least, so be prepared for medical treatment and any situation that may arise. Please be careful and stay alert and safe.
10. The Glory hole Skate Kit. Do yourself a favor, and invest in a small 2 person raft, or better yet, buy from the Glory Hole skate store offers for sale here. I searched online and offline at nearly every market I possible for the cheapest prices and best deals for the kits supplies. Finding a descent raft for under $50 is not easy and remember the quality of the raft is important for safety when traveling across the water and of course all the other safety issues and pipe preparation mentioned and explained above. This is not an offer for profit whatsoever, rather a means for you to have a great, safe experience when visiting the legendary Glory Hole Full Pipe.
OR VISIT THE GLORY HOLE RESOURCE PAGE:
IS THIS GOING TO BE ANOTHER BUST?
No. It’s been skated for decades by local skaters and skate mission trekkers. The park rangers will stop by sometimes, but not often, basically they are interested only in fishing laws, licenses and regulations Sometimes they will check your supplies, or observe a little of the crew and the session to determine if your skills are of any alarm. I would recommend keeping your drugs and alcohol concealed just in case the event of an unexpected visit. They are well aware of the historic value of this pipe with the extreme sports community. Always clean up after yourselves and avoid ruff-housing and excessive partying. If you try and camp overnight go into stealth mode, this is one thing not allowed. A bribe worthy of them overlooking your visit and that is not an insult is another means of a successful skate mission.
WHAT IS SKATING GLORY HOLE LIKE?
The pipe is huge to say the least. It’s a spillway pipe for the Monticello Dam at Lake Berryessa reservoir. The full-pipe is 30 feet in diameter, and extends about 250 feet into the face of a dam. It then bends upward vertically to it’s end above the surface of the lake and dam. You can climb up the bend on the elbow for a breathtaking adventure.
Being an extreme sport enthusiast (some may call it stupid), I have climbed up the pipes elbow and then skated down the length of the pipe. I am in no way recommending anybody do this stunt. It is slick, dark, fast and there is always debris at the bottom of the pipes slope. Definitely pad up and be sober for this trick, or it could be very harmful to the human condition.
Most skaters stick to the first two sections of pipe at the end of the spillway. The decades of flowing water have pitted the bottom of the pipe, so it’s a little rough although, attempts to patch the bottom have been made with little or no success. A softer wheel durometers is recommended for the best results. A bigger wheel generates more speed, it’s just basic science.
The second section deeper in the pipe is a smoother surface and starting there you can work your way towards the front of the full-pipe. It is possible to grind the lip or rim of the pipe at it’s entrance, if you are feeling gnarly.
There are no business services, or medical facilities nearby, so think before you take any risks and follow a check list before you arrive.. Bring plenty to food and beverages, because it’s about 1/4 mile from the pipe to the parking area with a brief rafting paddle across forty or fifty feet of water. Bring towels and toilet paper for cleaning and unexpected bowel movements. Plan on making a day out of it and be sure and leave the place clean giving your self enough time to hike back before night fall. We have camped the weekend and gotten away with it. So to each his own on the extent of this skate trip or rather, “skate mission.”
The Monticello Dam, which holds back Lake Berryessa, features a morning glory spillway. This type of spillway is basically a giant cement funnel. Rather than spilling over the dam, high waters spill into the funnel. Morning glory spillways are also known as bell-mouth spillways.
First, a little information on the Monticello dam and Lake Berryessa, California. The construction of the dam started in 1953. It was in 1957 that it dam was completed. The height of the dam is 304 feet, and its length at the top is 1,023 feet.
The Monticello dam creates a beautiful lake cut out of a wilderness. Lake Berryessa is located about 60 miles north of San Francisco. The lake covers 20,700 acres, and has 165 miles of shoreline. When full, its capacity is 1,600,000 acre feet. ( And it just might hold the biggest bass in Northern Ca.! )
The Glory hole is a non- regulated spillway settled at The Monticello Dam, which is located about 200 feet behind the dam. The outside diameter of the Glory hole is 72 feet. The hole in the center tapers down to no less than 28 feet. The crest of the Glory hole sits 16 feet lower than the crest of the dam.
LAKE BARRYESSA FACTS AND HISTORY:
Lake Berryessa is the largest lake in Napa County California This reservoir is formed by the Monticello Dam which provides water and hydroelecticity to the North Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Prior to its inundation, the valley was an agricultural region, whose soils were considered among the finest in the country. The main town in the valley, Monticello was abandoned in order to construct the reservoir.
The lake has been heavily used for recreational purposes and encompasses over 20,000 acres (80 km²) when full. The reservoir is approximately 15.5 miles (25 km) long, but only 3 miles (5 km) wide. It has approximately 165 miles (265 km) of shoreline.
The National Weather Service has maintained a cooperative weather station at the lake since November 1, 1957. Records show that the area has hot, mostly dry summers and cool, wet winters. Normal January temperatures are a maximum of 57.7 °F (14.3 °C) and a minimum of 36.1 °F (2.3 °C). Normal July temperatures are a maximum of 93.8 °F (34.3 °C) and a minimum of 57.3 °F (14.1 °C). The record high temperature was 115 °F (46 °C) on July 24, 2006. The record low temperature was 13 °F (−11 °C) on December 22, 1990.
The wettest year was 1983 with 56.94 inches (1,446 mm) and the driest year was 1976 with 7.78 inches (198 mm). The most precipitation in one month was 21.33 inches (542 mm) in January 1995. The most precipitation in 24 hours was 5.29 inches (134 mm) on December 31, 2005. Snowfall is very rare, but 0.4 inches fell in Jan. 1974
THE SURROUNDING LANDSCAPE IS ROUGH WITH A CEDAR FOREST:
Adjoining the Lake Berryessa Recreational Area camping facility is covered with rough cedar wilderness. The wilderness can be accessed by car or boat, although there are no maintained trails. Hiking can be difficult and even dangerous without an experienced guide as more than half of the wilderness consists of Sargent’s cypress, which covers 3,000 acres and is relatively raw and pure genetically.
RECREATION AT LAKE BERRYESSA:
Popular activities include fishing, water skiing, jet skiing, pleasure boating, kayaking and canoeing, hiking, bicycling, motorcycling, biking, birding, wildlife observation, picnicking, and swimming.
Lake Berryessa is a swimming and water skiing site for enthusiasts. The narrow portion of the reservoir, nearest to the Monticello Dam, is referred to as the “Narrows.
There are several resorts with marinas at the lake, as well as nearby Lake Solano County Park located west of Winters California. Day use areas include Oak Shores and Smittle Creek.