Executive Summary: Another winchfest. (Not that I mind winchfests.)
Well, the snow is still deep on the northside trails.
We started out with Tony and son in the 2 week old Jeep Rubicon. (Surived the trip completely unscathed, Tony did a great job.)
Loren in his Tacoma: Unscathed, but the all terrains were a bit out ouf their element. Loren was happy to lend a hand at any time.
Subzali in his 40 worked hard and moved more snow than anyone else. Matt used his 40 as a snowplow and his shovel moved enough snow to clear a runway at DIA.
(Handy to have Matt around when the going gets deep!) The 40 worked hard too, but the conditions were tough. (unscathed I think)
Mike and family in their Gen3 4Runner did really well in the snow with the MTRs and just needed a little help a couple of times to keep the 4Runner out of the trees.
Scott and his elk huntin' friend had had the most fun; bustin' trail for us and keeping the crew moving with his winch when needed. We wound up with Scott REALLY stuck at the end of our trip in. The "stuckjam" (is that a new word?) behind him prevented us from getting another truck down there, but no worries, I don't think it would have really helped. Heavy shovel work, winching from 6 different points, and some sweet, experienced, snow-wheelin' driving skill got him turned around in about 30 minutes. It was warm out by now and the snow got slick. Really slick. The top layer of the snow would compact into ice that wasn't thick enough to hold up most of the rigs. Tires would dig instantly down into the powder below which made for some really, really good stucks. I'm talking winch stalling stucks. (My winch seems to be pretty anemic which doesn't help).
So, while Scott had the most fun, he also paid the highest price with some tree damage. I feel pretty bad about that one. :/ I grazed a tree too, which only re-dented some pre-existing Billing's canyon damage.
My Gen 1 4runner did fine in the snow (all my tires were <10PSI), and got a great shakedown workout for CM2007. I had 2 mechanical problems too. ARB line came unplugged, (I didn't use the lockers much anyway due to the sidehill nature of most of our trip.) and, something happened to my fan controller. I know, Bill told me it would do that.
2 minutes with the leatherman and my fan runs all of the time now. (Still needs a big honkin' relay or two however)
Things I'm going to try to remember for next time:
Try to get only 1 truck stuck at a time. (I think we had 3 out of 5 stuck many times today!) Put the bigger trucks on the ends of the train. Even if you have to shuffle the deck to get a bigger truck in position to help, at least you end up with the choice of forward or backwards and maybe the ability to winch from either (or both) ends.
Things I learned watching Scott:
When winching yourself away from a tree in the snow, let the winch make the tires go around. It leaves better, straight tracks and really helps get you away from the tree. Then, there will be a point when the winch angle that was so good at getting the front clear will try to drag the rear INTO the tree. You have to drive with the rear tires and steer toward the tree at this point to clear the problem.
Scott is a better driver in the snow than me. I just gas it and hope something hooks up. Scott rolls into the throttle to reduce initial tire spin when getting unstuck. Scott is also really good at keeping the truck moving between forward and reverse when "rocking" it. I think he has a hydraulic shuttle clutch in there.
Conifers always have better roots than aspens. We didn't tip any trees, but I've seen both tipped, and aspens just don't have any roots!
Get really good tow points. Front and Rear. You never know when you will be called upon to strap someone HARD.