I had a little bit of time in the middle of the day today to make the quick trip east over the pass. It was a beautiful day, and Rat Pac is an early fall classic, so I went for it.
I decided to try the newly signed ascent path (see the map on the page). It was not as easy to follow as it looks like it should be - I crossed paths with two separate groups of riders each trying to routefind their way to the top. Fortunately, I had both the map and a GPS and general sense of how to get to the top (having done this ride a number of times before), so it wasn't much of a challenge to follow the signed route. Note however, it's not marked, and it's a pretty miserable road climb. There are few views, some steep pitches, and really not much interesting. I'd definitely recommend taking the GPS track route posted on the page instead. It's mostly singletrack (albeit brushy in places), and a lot more interesting. Plus you get to see the upper Rat Pac trails.
Rat Pac used to be a borderline/gray trail, and in the course of legitimizing it, it's had some features removed. In particular, two of my favorites: the first wooden ramp jump, and a log-drop about 1/2 down - are gone. There are a number of other features that are out of commission, either deliberately or due to disrepair (like The Rock). But don't let that fool you - this trail is still a ton of fun and demands focus.
The dirt conditions were great today - hard packed but not loose, no mud, very few needles.