Trip Reports

July 15 2017 - Veterans Home Show & Shine

June 3 2017 - Eagle Rock Scouting trip

May 19 2017 - Moab, day 4

May 18 2017 - Moab, day 3

May 17 2017 - Moab, day 2

May 16 2017 - Moab, day 1

May 6-2017 - Hackett Gulch

April 9 2017 - Chinaman's Gulch

Feb 25-2017 - Hackett Gulch

Dec 18, 2016 - Christmas Party 2016

Oct 12-15 2016 - Chile Challenge

Sept 10 2016 - Spring Creek

Sept 1-4 2016 - Dakota Territory Challenge 2016

July 2 2016 - Veteran's Home Show-n-Shine

June 18 2016 - Eagle Rock Work Trip

June 4 2016 - Eagle Rock Scouting trip

May 13 2016 - Moab: Top of The World , Day 4

May 12 2016 - Moab: Strike Ravine & Area BFE , Day 3

May 11 2016 - Moab: Metal Masher , Day 2

May 10 2016 - Moab: The Pickle , Day 1

May 10 2016 - Moab: Seven Mile Rim , Day 1

April 9 2016 - Chinaman's Gulch

Oct 25 2015 - Chinamans Gulch

Sept 23-26 2015 - Moab

Sept 4 2015 - Dakota Territory Challenge

August 22 2015 - Blanca Peak

Aug 8 2015 - Red Cone

July 25, 2015 - Holy Cross

June 28, 2015 - Eagle Rock Trail Cleanup

June 20 2015 - Twin Cone

June 13, 2015 - Metberry Bulch

May 16 2015 - Carnage BV

May 2, 2015 - Liberty

June 28, 2014 - Twin Cone

June 21, 2014 - Work Trip-Eagle Rock/Reynolds Wrap

May 17, 2014 - Rainbow Falls

May 4, 2014 - Independence Trails

April 27, 2014 - Chinaman Gulch

Trip Reports

Moab, day 4
Date: May 19 2017
Trip Leader: Mike
Members Present: Mike, Bob, Alex, Christine, Ben
Guests Present: Randy, Donavan, Jerry, Brandon
Picture Link: Mike's Pritchett Canyon photos              
Description: Woo Hoo! Randy shows up at City Market with a running Cherokee. Now we have a full complement for the signature trail of the week: Pritchett Canyon. Ben is still driving Kristine’s rig, with Bryant as his passenger. Alex and Kristine, Donavan and Brandon, Bob and Jerry, Randy, and myself leading the group. By this day my injured wrist was getting a bit better but it was not yet healed enough to stack rocks, grab wrenches, or pull out winch cable with. No worries, because my crew was always asking if I needed help with anything that required both arms.

Pritchett Canyon trail is rated one of the more difficult trails anywhere in Moab. There are some trails in Area BFE that are considered harder, and some require meaty buggies to negotiate. But Pritchett has the history and reputation, with well-known obstacles such as the Rock Pile, Rocker Knocker, Chewy Hill, Yellow Hill, and others. We fully expected that we would be faced with challenges, and we weren’t disappointed.

We aired down at the trail head next to Kane Creek Road. A group of well-built buggie-esque rigs were there already, but we assumed that they would be well ahead of us in no time. As it turned out, we were right and wrong. Not twenty minutes after dropping down into the canyon and traversing some ledges along the way, we see one of that group hauling ass back towards us. There aren’t a lot of places to pull aside but we were able to let him by. As he passed me he said the one of their group had suffered a heart attack and he was trying to get cell service to summon emergency help. Just a couple minutes after that, another rig barrels past us, with the victim strapped into the passenger seat. He did not look well, but he was awake. And then a few minutes after that, two ladies in another rig came by, occupied by the wife of the victim.

When we reached the first large ledges of the trail, the rest of the group were parked along it, with a look of dismay on their faces. They had no means to communicate in case of this kind of emergency, since cell service is non-existent in many of the low-lying areas around Moab. It made our group thoughtful about our own prospects, should something similar happen one of us. Luckily, a couple of us in the club have GPS messenger devices, but few of us are properly trained in first aid or emergency response. We decided to bring the subject up at our next club meeting.

After negotiating this area and passing that group, we clambered along until eventually we found Chewy Hill. This is a Potato Salad Hill on steroids, with a very off-camber section at the top. It requires extreme traction, clearance, and fearlessness to intentionally lean your rig across the hill as you climb these slick stair steps. That group that was behind us had decided to move on, and now they were directly on our tail. Knowing they were more equipped than us, we let them have at it. Their rigs were so well-built, with a few sporting rear steer and all of them with 40s and full hydraulics, that they made it look easy. Being the trail leader, I get to experience every obstacle first, and this one is intimidating and daunting even after watching the group ahead of us. After several ill-conceived attempts that didn’t get me in any position for decent traction, I called for the winch cable to get me up to the upper set of off camber ledges, and then with very deliberate and slow driving, I was able to get above. From that point on, I positioned my rig so that I could winch the rest of the group up, if needed. It was needed. Every one of us eventually had to be winched up. Meanwhile, we let another group of SXS go by, and they made us look a little silly. They were well-built UTVs with larger tires and heavy throttles. They literally bounced up the ledges without any fear of hanging up or flopping over. If one did get stuck, a couple guys just helped push it over a ledge here or there, and strategic rock stacking got them going.

We continued driving along the canyon, through washes, over boulders and steps and bowls and even more ledges, before we came up onto Rocker Knocker. This one takes a very specific attack strategy, and it took me a few times to find out that I needed to trust a counter-instinct. Come into the steps at an extreme angle, allow the jeep to slide along until it gets traction, then lean severely left into the boulder and groove, while allowing the rig to pivot around until the right rear tire gets traction. Whew! Once we discovered the key, the rest of the group was eventually able to find that same sweet spot and get us up it. Finally a climb up a narrow shelf of loose dirt and gravel got us above the canyon and into the next section. From here we can see Pritchett Arch.

We continued on and came up on the Rock Pile. Over the years, this is nothing more than a 7-ft wall of rock, that none of us was going to attempt. The bypass around this obstacle is just as difficult. It is a jutting ledge about 3 feet high, undercut so much that a pile of round rocks has been placed at the bottom of it. While it looks like the best approach is left or right, I could not get my rig to gain any purchase trying those. After way too many attempts, I backed down a bit too hard and snapped the shaft of my right rear shock in half. We removed the lower half of it from the axle, and I finally found a line that worked. The rest of the group made it look a lot easier than I did. But they had the advantage of watching me find the line that eventually worked.

The last main obstacle was Yellow Hill, and we all wasted no time getting to the top of that one. At the top, we all congratulated each other and then Randy and Donavan grabbed some of my tools and proceeded to remove the remainder of my broken shock, so it would not be in the way as my rear axle articulated. The road out is a looooooong way out, with a few stretches of smooth dirt track. Bryant got his parents’ permission to drive his mom’s jeep a little way, so Ben played driving instructor while the boy tried to reach the pedals and still see out the windshield. We finally arrived at the highway and aired back up in the dark. A quick Google search revealed that it was too late to have dinner at any restaurants in town—they roll the sidewalks up at 9:00PM there. We decided we could all be on our own for dinner this last night.