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View Full Version : Middle St. Vrain to Coney Flats


baja1d
12-11-2012, 03:45 PM
So last Saturday, while many of you where frolicking around in the Gulches, a couple of us went up to Coney Flats.... and what an ass kicker it was. Before I say anymore, I assure you that there will be three additional rigs on the Gulches run next year!!! Aside from a few down trees the start of the trail wasn't too bad even with 2' of fresh snow. At 1.5 miles in, on the Middle St. Vrain trail, we reached the big hill with the dog leg right. A few 180's later, in blizzard conditions, and against our better judgment, we were hell bent on getting up this hill that was covered in solid ice. It wasn't until two of three rigs were midway up the hill that someone mentioned turning back. After a brief discussion it was decided that it was safer to continue than to try and get the two rigs down the hill. Needless to say, we started the trail at 10am and finally broke through Coney Flats at 10:45pm!!! We pulled cable at least 15 times and even had a brief/scary discussion of possibly spending the night out there. Although we were prepared this wasn't really an option because I had my two kids with me. At any rate, here's some of our "lessons learned" and a few pictures:


Turn back before getting too committed.
Be prepared to spend the night. Keep some vigil candels in the glove box in these conditions. They'll keep your cab above freezing in case of a break down.
Take more food than you need for this type of wheeling
Let the lighter rig be the scout. Way easier to get it out rather than a built 80
Keep a better than average attitude when the realization that you're in way over your head. Fortunately we all did!
Tend to your shackles & straps after each pull. Frozen shackles are a PIA with cold hands.
Stay hydrated.

baja1d
12-11-2012, 04:01 PM
Did I mention how much I wish we would have gone to the Gulches???

subzali
12-11-2012, 04:06 PM
Any more pictures? What's the story on the 3 rigs that went? How were they set up?

MountainGoat
12-11-2012, 04:39 PM
Did I mention how much I wish we would have gone to the Gulches???

:eek: Holy cow Travis. I wheeled with my window down most of the time on Metberry Saturday. We kept waiting for the (snow) hammer to fall but it never did. Not until I got home to Conifer anyway.

Uncle Ben
12-11-2012, 05:12 PM
Did I mention how much I wish we would have gone to the Gulches???

Looks like you had a much better day wheeling! I'm always ready to go on a rescue mission! :thumb:

JadeRunner
12-11-2012, 05:36 PM
Wow. What a contrast to our run. And to think I was wishing there was more challenges on the gulches run.

Thanks for the report but I agree with Matt. We are missing some big pieces of the puzzle about who was with you, how you got back down the big hill and just why it took you till 10:45 pm. Perhaps you are saving that for a trails article or meeting presentation?

rover67
12-11-2012, 05:38 PM
DAAAANNNNGGG!

I like Uncle Ben could be pulled out of the garage for a rescue mission, but it looks like you guys did great on your own. I am sure the success of the run was in no part due to lack of ability or equipment. Looks liek ya'll did great.

I feel guilty for having being in a warm garage all day. I had the HAM on too BTW, I wonder if that'da worked from up there?

Jacket
12-11-2012, 05:57 PM
I was up there about a month ago on my bike (when it was still warm around here) and there was quite a bit of snow and ice on the trail as you got closer to the end of MSV. We ran into some other guys that said the hill up to Coney Flats was a sheet of ice. I can't imagine how much worse it would have been last weekend....

I'm glad you guys made it out without any major damage or issues.

cajunrock
12-11-2012, 07:34 PM
I'll chime in a little here. Ice was the understatement of the morning/day/night!! The two 80's were built with full armor, winches and lockers. We all aired down to 15-20 psi and the Suzuki was able to air down to 3psi. The third rig was a built Suzuki that save our "lives"!! Every time the 80's got stuck in broken ice or lost traction on the hills, the 1,500lb Suzuki zipped around us and hooked up and pulled us out. I burnt up my 9k winch, my fault for not getting a 12k one, and kissed a little tree stump on my passenger side door. Then ripped off the fender flare on the driver side trying to get traction via tree branches. I got high centered up front, stuck on a good size bolder going uphill( snow and ice) and cursing the day that I forgot my snow chains and chain saw for the downed trees crossing the trails. All this an my sister in law from Missouri still had a good time.
You'll have to ask Travis about his backward slide downhill about 100ft as I reversed out of his way as fast as possible staying on trail and not sliding off the ledge, hitting a tree or the large rocks.
The threat was real about an overnight stay. Great teamwork and determination saw us through the storm and back to Hwy 72 completeing the Coney Flats and MSV loop.

FJBRADY
12-11-2012, 08:16 PM
I'll chime in a little here. Ice was the understatement of the morning/day/night!! The two 80's were built with full armor, winches and lockers. We all aired down to 15-20 psi and the Suzuki was able to air down to 3psi. The third rig was a built Suzuki that save our "lives"!! Every time the 80's got stuck in broken ice or lost traction on the hills, the 1,500lb Suzuki zipped around us and hooked up and pulled us out. I burnt up my 9k winch, my fault for not getting a 12k one, and kissed a little tree stump on my passenger side door. Then ripped off the fender flare on the driver side trying to get traction via tree branches. I got high centered up front, stuck on a good size bolder going uphill( snow and ice) and cursing the day that I forgot my snow chains and chain saw for the downed trees crossing the trails. All this an my sister in law from Missouri still had a good time.
You'll have to ask Travis about his backward slide downhill about 100ft as I reversed out of his way as fast as possible staying on trail and not sliding off the ledge, hitting a tree or the large rocks.
The threat was real about an overnight stay. Great teamwork and determination saw us through the storm and back to Hwy 72 completeing the Coney Flats and MSV loop.

I have a new 12K winch I will sell you.....send me a pm.

smslavin
12-11-2012, 08:22 PM
wow. crazy weather. thanks for sharing the story and photos.

baja1d
12-11-2012, 08:26 PM
Sorry about the details, this was a couple of guys from work. We had two locked, lifted, and armored 80's and a built Suzuki Samurai. We were all completely locked at all times and everybody used their winches. I think that there was a least 6 tow straps put to use at various times and more shackles than I could count. More than once we had to anchor the Sami to a tree and use him for an additional anchor point. The ice on the hill was unbearable. 3/4 of the way up the hill I lost traction and stopped to wait for a tug from the Sami. Just as I contacted him on the CB, & with two kids in car seats, my rig began an uncontrolled 50+ yard slide backwards nearly taking George (Cajunrock) out in his 80. It was an act of God that we didn't collide nor roll off of that hill. After I changed my shorts we had the discussion of continuing on or somehow winching ourselves back down the hill. Driving down the hill without being strapped up would have been very sketchy at best. Although we made it through the trail does need maintenance. There are numerous trees down, most of which we winched out of the way and the others we were able to drive over. Per my GPS our average “moving” speed was 2.4 mph. George’s sister-in-law was our photographer but I’m pretty confident she stopped snapping photos after the “hill incident”. I’ll ask him if he has anymore.

baja1d
12-11-2012, 08:31 PM
George, I'm glad you chimmed in. Bending up some sliders for you is the least I can do after that adventure.

Uncle Ben
12-11-2012, 08:41 PM
Wow! Sounds like quite the adventure! Glad everyone got out safe!

Fishy
12-11-2012, 11:02 PM
Did I mention how much I wish we would have gone to the Gulches???

Would have loved to have you guys along...... but you might have been disappointed with the mildness of it! It's a leisure run :cool:

I rode with my windows down all day, sun shining the entire time. What a difference in conditions, those two areas are only about 65 flying miles apart!

baja1d
12-12-2012, 09:21 AM
Thanks Stan. It appears that "local" wheeling this time of year has two extremes... leisure or what we did. At the moment I'd pick "leisure" but in a week or two I'm sure I could be persuaded into something more difficult. George is right, chains and a HAM Radio would have been nice. Chains are going in today as "permanent gear" and my Christmas List just got amended!!! BTW, Thanks UB and Marco for "rescue mission" option. I'll let you guys know next time we plan on doing something we probably shouldn't!!!

subzali
12-12-2012, 09:53 AM
Wouldn't have been a bad idea to post up on the forum to let us know you were going and when to expect you back.

cajunrock
12-12-2012, 01:30 PM
Steve, I will let you know about the 12k winch after Christmas. Thank you very much for the offer!.
I wounder if that would fit in a stocking??!:)

cajunrock
12-12-2012, 01:45 PM
Weather started out great in Denver. Even looked good in Boulder. Netherland got cold and then Snow pack in Ward. Our first ominous warning was the Jeep and FJ that turned around at the "entry obstacle". "Too risky for us.." they said.
Pictures can never capture the true experience, but here are some more.

cajunrock
12-12-2012, 01:50 PM
more of the same

Uncle Ben
12-12-2012, 05:24 PM
That is a really sweet Sami! The AT's on the 80's were way out of their comfort zone! Great looking group!!!

MTSN
12-13-2012, 11:04 AM
That is a really sweet Sami! The AT's on the 80's were way out of their comfort zone! Great looking group!!!

I love built Samis! Glad you guys made it out ok - it looks quite dangerous from the pics!

rover67
12-13-2012, 11:18 AM
Those are the worst conditions. the warm weather just kills it with the melty-refreeze thing. I hate it because it 'looks" solid but it's actually ice once you dig even slightly. First person gets the traction if there is any then the rest are hosed..

We did Bunce School a few years a go like that and basically just pulled cable the whole way up the hill. Winchfesterooskey. Sounds like a very similar day except ya'll were on a more technical trail to start with.

Caribou Sandstorm
12-14-2012, 10:32 AM
I have to admit, I am jonesing for a snow run.... That Suzuki looked really cool..

JadeRunner
12-14-2012, 10:43 AM
Me too. Next good snow storm that comes to the front range and I'm hitting Yankee. I'll post up.

baja1d
12-14-2012, 01:29 PM
I'll be there

baja1d
12-15-2012, 08:48 PM
Unfortunately the "Savior Sami" was rolled yesterday as the owner attempted to drive himself to the hospital after nearly amputating his index finger. The finger was a freak accident involving his winch and the roll over was black ice. Mike is pretty medicated so details are a little fuzzy but the incident occurred down at his land in Westcliffe. As usual, there was no cell service hence the attempted self rescue. Doctor stated that he should regain full use of his finger which is a good thing since he's both a fireman and a Lt. Cornel in the Army.

On a lighter note, it'll now be easier to cage the Sami w/o the roof!!!

baja1d
09-01-2013, 12:07 AM
Winter is right around the corner & there's a few new folks on the forum... Just thought I'd refresh this since chains are pennies on the dollar this time of year & everybody knows a L/C can go anywhere. BTW, anybody up for a challenge this next winter?