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Old 12-07-2008, 08:48 AM   #1
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Question for experienced DV visitors.

Do you need to engage lockers and/or use a winch to get through Mengle pass in an SMB 4x4? I'm OK with using low range and the tight fits (will have a spotter). I've wanted to try this route for years, but don't want to get in over my head either. FWIW, I've also got a rear sway bar.
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R
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Old 12-07-2008, 10:06 AM   #2
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It depends.

We've been up there when it was easy going and the only real hazard was motorcycles zipping down towards us. Other times the road could best be described as 'Expect Body Damage'.

The only way to find out is to stop at the Ballarat store and ask about road conditions. He knows much better than the Rangers do.

Mike
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Old 12-07-2008, 01:42 PM   #3
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Check out this thread.

http://sportsmobileforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=1043
Seth took a picture at the toughest spot on the trail.

We traversed it East to West. I don't think lockers or a winch are a must have in that direction. (didn't use ours) Low range yes, spotter definitely. West to East might be a different matter further down in Goler Wash.

I agree with Mike, ask at Ballarat. When I asked the Ranger at Furnace Creek, they said our van had no chance of making it up over the pass.

FYI
We were in DV 3 weeks ago. High of 85, low of 74. No crowds. It was beautiful.
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Old 12-07-2008, 03:22 PM   #4
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My wife and I just soloed it thanksgiving week and it was a bit touch and go but doable very doable. I dont think you would need to lock it however would be nice to have if your going alone. otherwise you will have someone to hook to for a pull if needed.

We ran it west to east and yes, definitely stop and ask questions at the store in Balarat and be sure and buy something from the store.
There was a big rain two days before we ran it and that didnt help however others stacked some rocks prior to our try and that helped. Basically you can stop at the top and walk the worst part to see for yourself. I would tell you no problem go slow trust you spotter and have fun.

I'm out of town right now as soon as I can I will post some pics although they dont tell the real story...It was very overcast and my wife was more worried about tire placement then a good picture LOL.

Have fun
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Old 12-07-2008, 03:59 PM   #5
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I'm in DV right now, but not to run Goler Gulch. I've done it quite a few times in Land Rovers and Toyotas, but not in my van, yet. It's not really that tough most of the time, but it changes. I would prefer to NOT go alone and have another sturdy vehicle on the trip when I bring the van.
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Old 12-07-2008, 06:29 PM   #6
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"J" Did ya get that elusive picture, hows the weather? when we were there two weeks ago it went from 85 to rain to snow in higher elev's and back to 80 degrees all in a weeks time. made it interesting and fun.


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Old 12-07-2008, 08:36 PM   #7
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Many thanks for all the helpful replies.

Based on this info, and some checking on youtube, I'm a bit aprehensive about goler/mengel. I'm not an experienced 4x4 driver so the limiting factor is definately me more than the SMB. So for now it is a maybe.

I'd appreciate any advice on other backcountry/4x4 routes to try in DV. Scenery and points of historical interest are priorities, and we'll have the ability to camp along the way if necessary.

Thanks
Rob
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Old 12-07-2008, 09:13 PM   #8
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Stop in the DV Visitor Center and they have a couple of books on 4wd and SUV trails. They also have a very nice map on plasticized paper with the trails shown.

Mike
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Old 12-07-2008, 10:49 PM   #9
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I like the Roger Mitchell Book called: Death Valley SUV Trails

I am not promoting Amazon but you can see it here:
http://www.amazon.com/Death-Valley-S.../dp/0970711506

steve
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Old 12-07-2008, 10:57 PM   #10
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Cottonwood and Marble Canyons are nice. (Northwest of Stovepipe Wells) I made it up to the cottonwood trees (95% of the trail) in 2wd. Just air down and take it slow. If you are there in the middle of the week you will probably have the place to yourself at night. Be sure to check out the petroglyphs while going through the narrows.

If you want, I could send you a Google Earth KMZ file with locations. (Send me an email of you want them.)

Also, Titus Canyon is a must see.
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