Well I definitely got the challenge I was looking for. Since you couldn't crawl up the rocks you had to get good at carefully bumping them and maintain your momentum without sliding into something to fast. Slicing a sidewall sliding into a rock was my biggest fear all day. I did hit my front tires several times harder than I would have liked but my MTR's held together. My sliders and skids saw a lot of action. I bent one of my sliders in some but that was it. I somehow managed to keep my fender flares and body out of the rocks so that was good..
I was delighted with the group we had. All drivers demonstrated some serious driver skill and had very well equipped rigs to boot. In fact everyone had fronts lockers but me (as long as RockRunner's ARB's stayed engaged). Ige and myself had the small 285\75's everyone else had 35's or larger. The two 80's did really well with there front lockers. They could get their front end up on the rocks and pull on over. Ige complained that she was sliding around more than me with her added weight. But, she wheeled her 80 with a vengeance and only had a few cosmetic issues. Nay spanked the rock pile (Yoder's rock) with snow all over it. He drove it like a champ. I passed on it.
I had to winch twice. I tried and tried but couldn't get up Whale rock and had to winch the easy line to get up. RockRunners rig and big 37" MTR's ate up most things that got in his way. He was having a blast and driver very well. He was the only one able to get up the normal middle line on whale rock and the only one to attempt and conquer the double slab. He was the only one able to get up the normal middle line on whale rock. Red Chili led the trail for me and was able to take the larger lines in attempt to avoid tipping in to rocks on the tight stuff. He tried to crawl as much as possible and would usually end up have to bump and gas it to get around. He took a winch line a few times to keep it safe with his new body job. The ATV guys and us had the trail to ourselves and were in no hurry.
Sheps proved pretty difficult for Chili and Nay. Chilly got really tippy on the high ling and managed to loose his diff fluid. We cleaned it up, put his fill plug in the drain position. We saw the large boulder on the left move a little as Dave Nay hammered into it with his slider. After Nay finally got through, we stacked rocks and the rest of us got through pretty quickly. We tip towed down the rest of the trail, trying not to slide out on the steep spots. Definite pucker factor in a few areas going down to the gulch but then with gravity behind us we had no issues getting off the trail.
We aired up at the trailhead at dark. The snowy and icy drive back on 285 wasn't fun but couldn't dampen a very challenging and fun day on the trail.
Scott Yoder KD0DHP
2000 4Runner, 2.5" lift on 33's, locked, geared & armored.