Monday, April 29, 2013

Strawberry Road and Jones Pass

Spending the weekend in Winter Park, the Boudreau family from Patrol 14 decided to get out on whatever trails they could find. Unfortunately, most of the trails in the area have seasonal gates that do not open till June 15th. We did find one road outside of Tabernash called Strawberry Road that had a few miles of untouched snow before reaching the June 1st seasonal gate on this one. Sorry for the crappy pics as they were just taken with our cell phones on this day.

Gary using his winch for the very first time!

Ryan playing anchor.

Like I mentioned, it was only a few miles before we reached a closed gate, so we were forced to turn around.

On the way home on Sunday, we wanted to check out Jones Pass even though we knew there would be tons of snow. We approached the parking area just off the main road where there were a handful of snowmobile trailers. The snow started right at that parking lot. We both aired down and started what we first thought would only be a 100 yard drive.

The snow was deep, but it was extremely snow packed from the snowmobiles in the area.

We were extremely surprised to find out that the snow wasn't slowing us down... Not one bit! We kept on trekking down the trail as snowmobiles were coming down giving us the strangest looks. After a mile, we made it to the valley clearing where Gary stopped for just a second too long and came up 20 yards short of the top.


Ryan helped winch his dad up the last 20 yards for some picture opportunities.

The Boudreau crew!

This is a rock that is usually a good flexing rock. For some perspective on how deep the snow is, here is a pic of the exact same spot in the summer

Red Cone scouting 4-13-13

Patrol 14 headed up to Red Cone to close the seasonal runoff gate and check out what conditions were like. As opposed to last year, we didn't run into any downed trees, but we did run into a ton of snow. The snow started on Hall Valley Road and just got deeper as we headed up the trail.

The snow was the very fine sugar type and not the sticky wet spring stuff that allows you to grab traction. After 1.1 miles, we made it to the creek crossing, where we just couldn't make it any farther without a ton of work. As this was a scouting run, there was no need to spend the whole day out here shoveling and winching.

We turned around and decided to check out Webster Pass.

The snow over on Webster was even deeper and finer than what we had run into on Red Cone. At one point Chuck got stuck and Dave tried to pull him out and just sunk himself. Ryan then hooked up and took himself down into the trees. Apparently 2 Jeeps weren't enough to pull Chuck out. So out came the winches.

Chuck showed us a new technique I had never seen before, called the sling shot. If you can't tell from the pic, Ryan's winch was first connected to a tree in front of him, then to a tree straight back from that one, and then back to Ryan's rear end. It not only pulled the Jeep back on the trail, but it pulled it perfectly straight in the direction we were headed.

Again, we only made it 1.1 miles when the snow became too deep to continue. Looks like this year we will have to wait till June to open Red Cone. Shooting for June 29th.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Lefhand Canyon 3-30-13

A few of us ponied up and hit Lefthand Canyon on Saturday, 3/30 instead on Bunce School Road. Our group of 4 met up with the kids from Crawlorado Jeepers, but we quickly branched off on our own. The weather was absolutely perfect  on this day with no real showing of the snow that had happened earlier in the week. The trail was muddy at the bottom first thing in the morning, but by afternoon, that had even dried up. It was a great day to throw the top down!

We headed straight for 5 points first, where we decided to make the trek up fireman's hill. After a quick 10-100 at the bottom, we started the climb.

(Photo by Robert Roe)

 (Photo by Robert Roe)

 (Photo by Robert Roe)
As Ben approached the top of the hill, he became pinned between a couple rocks. He cranked the wheel hard driver, and just as he was revving up the throttle, BAM! Something snapped in the front end. A couple of us thought the bead had popped at first as the tire was severely folded over, but that was not the case. Next, we checked the u-joint. Nope, not that either. Ben began to lightly hit the throttle again to see what would happen. His driver tire was no longer turning. Bad news... Ben just snapped a shaft... Good news... Ben has a replacement shaft with him :-)

(Photo by Robert Roe)
We winched the crippled Cherokee up to a flat spot on the ridge where we could begin the tear down.

After securing the Cherokee a bit with the winch line, a couple bottle jacks, a high lift, and rock-made jack stands, the work began.

(Photo by Robert Roe)

(Photo by Robert Roe)
We were forced to improvise with a catch pan. And don't worry, we made sure to clean up all the diff fluid with Ryan's spill kit, and Ryan even had a gallon water jug to put all the used diff fluid in. Sometimes you don't always have the right tools, but you still have tools that will work.
After pulling the broken driver shaft, we found that the shaft had sheared right at the splines, and in order to put the new shaft in, we were gonna have to pull out all the broken parts. We were forced to crack the diff and try to pull out the pieces from there. Unfortunately, the broken pieces turned out to be locked inside the locker. The next option was to pull the entire carrier out and limp out in 2 wheel drive. For that to happen, we needed to pull the passenger shaft out. After 4 hours of work on the top of the hill, we finally limped Ben down the trail and got a call into a tow truck.
Not a ton of 4wheeling happened on this day, but it's not always about just that. It's about helping each other out, having fun, and making sure that everyone gets home from every single trip.