Tuesday morning rolled around and those of us that had ran Fins n' Things on Sunday decided to use our Sand Flats user pass ($5 for 3 days) before it expired. This meant that we were going to do Hell's Revenge for sure. We had a pretty good sized group and Josh suggested we might want to split it up like we did for Moab Rim. I countered that Hell's Revenge is a good trail for running larger groups and we decided to keep everyone together. Josh led the way out to the trail head and then talked me into leading the run (something about me having a GPS track from last year). I hope Josh made some GPS tracks of this year's trails so he can lead them next time around (hint hint).
Let me start by saying that this trail probably provided more "on the edge of your seat" entertainment for all of us than any other trail we ran during the week. We had several adventuresome individuals, namely Jim, Brian, and Ron, who decided to try a few of the optional obstacles and give us our money's worth, to say the least.
We left the air down spot and headed along the trail. The start of the trail, within the first 10', puts you up onto a narrow fin and gets you up in the air real quick. I was telling Donna that it was almost like jumping up onto a small sized Lions Back. We continued on across the slickrock and made some impressive climbs and descents, several being 100 yards or better in length. Hell's Revenge is well known for its premier slickrock and in my opinion, offers the best slickrock wheelin' of all of the trails in Moab. The trail is fairly well marked which allows you to spend more time appreciating the scenery and wheelin' rather than looking for the next landmark.
We got out to the overlook a bit before lunch time. The overlook provides a breath taking view of the Colorado River. Little did I know that we would be driving along the river later in the week as we headed up for a drive through the La Sal Mountains.
As luck would have it, we got to the lookout area while some folks from the another group were running Hell's Gate, an optional obstacle that none of us had ever tried before (and most had never even seen).
After watching some impressive wheelin' and spotting, courtesy of the other group, a couple of our guys decided to give it a try too. (like I said, we were going to get our money's worth watching them in action on Hell's Gate).
Here is Mike driving his XJ down the entrance of Hell's Gate. He had a great run coming out the exit of the gate, the best one from those in our group that tried, so we won't be showing any shots of Mike while he is coming up the exit.
Here is Brian....and as you can see, he got off of the line, about 3/4 of the way to the top, while trying to exit the Hell's Gate obstacle. Since none of us had spotted or driven this obstacle before, you can probably understand why this might happen. Brian gave it a number of good attempts, but finally ended up here which is where he stayed until Ron's winch cable was attached to the front bumper and we got him back down on the ground. Through all of this, Brian kept his cool and did not panic. I think this little wheelin' episode gave him some insight into running obstacles that may prove to be a handful. [insert big GRIN here]
Jim had his hands full during the half dozen or more attempts he made at trying to get out of the obstacle. It became very evident that Jim's heavy duty axles were not locking up. His ARB air lockers where not engaging.....he was not completely aware of this but we could clearly see that the front axle was not locked as he worked his way towards the top, so many times.
After he made it out, we took at look at his setup and sure enough, neither the front nor rear locker would engage. Jim ran Hell's Gate with both ends open. No wonder he had such a struggle to get to the top!
Many of you that know me realize that I am not an avid fan of ARBs (oh Stu, say it isn't so!). I've seen way too many failures compared to Detroit lockers....and I have expressed this here on my web site. What I will say is that Jim's pressure switch failure (which resulted in no air pressure to activate the air lockers) darn near caused him to roll multiple times. Murphy's Law always follows Jeepers around....."Anything that can go wrong, will". The more parts you have, the better the chances that one of them will fail. It took us about 30 minutes to troubleshoot and replace the faulty pressure switch. Luckily, Jim had a spare switch in his parts box (what ALL ARB owners need to carry). Jim and I both got a good laugh over the fact that a Detroit advocate (me) was the guy that troubleshot the defective ARB component on his TJ. I was glad that no one was hurt and of course, I got my 2 minutes of soap box time to talk about air lockers. [insert another BIG GRIN here]
Update: In January 2002, I received an offer from ARB USA that was too good to turn down. Yes, I now run a pair of ARBs in Lady. However, my belief in Murphy's Law still holds true. I was on the trail two months after my install with a friend, who has a nicely built TJ with a 9 month old ARB equipped Ford 9" rear end, and it is blowing diff oil out of the solenoid exhaust port with a vengeance. Either his o-rings have already worn out or he is the victim of yet another poorly performed install. Either way, it will cost him to fix the problem unless the shop that installed it will step up to the plate and cover the bill, which they obviously should.
From Hell's Gate, we got back on the trail and headed towards Tip-Over Challenge. On the way, we had to pass by the Escalator, yet another optional obstacle. As luck would have it, Ron and Jim decided to give it a try. They both suffered minor body damage when the both laid their TJs over on the side. Luckily, no one was hurt, but Jim got his over far enough that a winch was needed to pull him upright so he could finish the obstacle.
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