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Old 03-31-2010, 08:47 PM   #11
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Re: TRIP REPORT: Death Valley & Surroundings Jan. 2010 (Long)

Quote:
Originally Posted by EMrider
Excellent report and pics, thanks.

That part of DV remains unknown to me. I've explored most of the north, but have yet to check out the south.

Just curious, in dry conditions do you think you could have made it all the way through last chance canyon?

I tried it once and also decided to turn around. I was solo with the kids and decided not to push my luck.

Rob
Rob, I walked up the canyon quite a ways and seemed to find the same terrain. But the Backcounty book said the worst to come was further up. Still, I think the book is out of date. I'd like to hear from some Jeepers who have done the trail W/I the last year or so. The main road above the wash is history. It looked as if it was possible to run the wash but a lot of negotiating would have been going on. I don't have a clue about the spot the book classifies as tough. It was class IV-V as far as we got but not real rough. It looked like the water had moved some of the larger rocks around so I don't know what we would have had to come up against. Do I want to try it again? Yes, as long as I have more time and someone is with me (the more the better).
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Old 03-31-2010, 11:41 PM   #12
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Re: TRIP REPORT: Death Valley & Surroundings Jan. 2010 (Long)

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Originally Posted by daveb
Do I want to try it again? Yes, as long as I have more time and someone is with me (the more the better).
I know, I know. the more the better.

I would try it again. Don't forget the main reasons I got stuck are not being in 4WD and also it was very wet from the rains only a few days before. I agree, the boulders likely moved around due to the rain. I agree with Don though, that getting stuck was half the fun. Using tools that we haven't used much(i.e. Hilift, Winch)was really great. It is all part of the experience.

steve
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Old 04-01-2010, 12:17 AM   #13
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Re: TRIP REPORT: Death Valley & Surroundings Jan. 2010 (Long)

Here are a few more photos from Don (doubled):

View into Panamint Valley from the Slate Range Trail:


Unfortunate remains of Barker Ranch (burned last year):




Looking down into Butte Valley, I think:


Group shot:


Thanks Don!

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Old 04-02-2010, 06:36 AM   #14
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Re: TRIP REPORT: Death Valley & Surroundings Jan. 2010 (Long)

Quote:
Originally Posted by daveb
Quote:
Originally Posted by EMrider
Excellent report and pics, thanks.

That part of DV remains unknown to me. I've explored most of the north, but have yet to check out the south.

Just curious, in dry conditions do you think you could have made it all the way through last chance canyon?

I tried it once and also decided to turn around. I was solo with the kids and decided not to push my luck.

Rob
Rob, I walked up the canyon quite a ways and seemed to find the same terrain. But the Backcounty book said the worst to come was further up. Still, I think the book is out of date. I'd like to hear from some Jeepers who have done the trail W/I the last year or so. The main road above the wash is history. It looked as if it was possible to run the wash but a lot of negotiating would have been going on. I don't have a clue about the spot the book classifies as tough. It was class IV-V as far as we got but not real rough. It looked like the water had moved some of the larger rocks around so I don't know what we would have had to come up against. Do I want to try it again? Yes, as long as I have more time and someone is with me (the more the better).
Thanks Dave,
I had also seen pics and read about a more difficult section of trail at the end of the route. My concern was cutting a sidewall. The area near where I turned around was not difficult per se, but it was getting progressively narrower and I did not want to find myself unable to execute a U turn.

R
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Old 04-03-2010, 08:06 PM   #15
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Re: TRIP REPORT: Death Valley & Surroundings Jan. 2010 (Long)

Great report....I just came back from DV and I did try to make it over Mengel Pass. I spoke with a couple of Jeep guys who had just come out of Goler Wash as I was going in. Basically they said the worst part was the water fall about a mile in and the rest was a "piece of cake"!!! The water fall was relatively easy compared to what lay ahead. I really thought I was on the wrong road when I finally got to Mengel Pass. It's only about 4 miles from the mouth of the wash and it took me 3 hours. When I started down from Mengel Pass and saw the boulder field ahead and in a very steep and narrow part of the trail I backed up and turned around. No way I could have made that section and since I didn't know what was beyond I wasn't taking any chances.
We headed back down convinced we had NOT been on the "piece of cake" road described to us. We camped just a few yards from Barker Ranch...what a shame. Some say the forest service burned it so they wouldn't have to monitor it.
Next morning we tried again thinking we had just missed a turn......nope. We turned around...again and headed back to Ballarat and on into DV via paved road.
So.....for those attempting this route....it's a "piece of cake" !!!!!
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Old 04-03-2010, 08:35 PM   #16
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Re: TRIP REPORT: Death Valley & Surroundings Jan. 2010 (Long)

Chris,
Glad to hear you were in DV. I am a bit confused, it sounds like you were driving from Panamint Valley to Death Valley -correct? If going from Panamint to DV then you would be going downhill on the tough part of Mengel. That one piece is the only difficult part. I had a spotter on that part but it is actually very short. Beyond that it is easier than all of Goler. I did hit my passenger side nerf bar in the rear on a boulder. But once past that it is a "piece of cake".


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Old 04-03-2010, 09:40 PM   #17
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Re: TRIP REPORT: Death Valley & Surroundings Jan. 2010 (Long)

Steve..by the time we got to Mengel I was exhausted. When I started down from the monument I got out to look and what I could see was not negotiable from my perspective. It was just myself and my wife. She is new to spotting so it seemed best to back up. I also had been sort of misled or confused by the info I had gotten about the route. The jeep guy said they had spent 30 minutes helping a stock Cherokee get up the water fall at the beginning of Goler. I made the waterfall easily. I never saw the Cherokee so when the road got more difficult I just assumed I was on the wrong road. I have to say that if the Cherokee made it I'm impressed! My style is to be more cautious when I'm alone. Put me with another SMB for support and I'm much less concerned. I had a gps, my laptop with Delorme loaded and 3 good maps and I still felt like I was lost.
BUT...it was really beautiful...I had some brandy and enough food for a month. A pretty girl, the dog.......no complaints,and I'm ready to go again.


PS...since you made the trip it has rained about 2 inches. Maybe the road condition deteriorated. The picture you posted just below Mengel Pass is where I backed up....So I wasn't LOST.
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Old 04-05-2010, 12:05 AM   #18
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Re: TRIP REPORT: Death Valley & Surroundings Jan. 2010 (Long)

Great report!

Quote:
So, I fiddled with the 4WD (i.e.like crawling underneath and engaging/disengaging the hubs, working the shifter etc.) and finally got it into gear. It seems that it was just really jammed. There were no other issues after this.
So did you ever figure out what went wrong? Did you bend your forks or something?
Was there a problem with High range or Low, or both? Could you tell if it was a transfer case issue or a hub issue?

I freely admit that only time I became temporally detained was operator error. I thought the fronts were in low but they were not. At least I had a tree straight in front of me for the winch.

I guess from looking at the photos that there was no place to set up a pull-pal if one of you guys had it correct?
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Old 04-05-2010, 12:52 AM   #19
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Re: TRIP REPORT: Death Valley & Surroundings Jan. 2010 (Long)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Thwaites
Steve.. The jeep guy said they had spent 30 minutes helping a stock Cherokee get up the water fall at the beginning of Goler. I made the waterfall easily. I never saw the Cherokee so when the road got more difficult I just assumed I was on the wrong road. I have to say that if the Cherokee made it I'm impressed! My style is to be more cautious when I'm alone. Put me with another SMB for support and I'm much less concerned. I had a gps, my laptop with Delorme loaded and 3 good maps and I still felt like I was lost.

PS...since you made the trip it has rained about 2 inches. Maybe the road condition deteriorated. The picture you posted just below Mengel Pass is where I backed up....So I wasn't LOST.
Chris,
You are right about the rains changing road conditions. We may have lucked out because I have done Goler/Mengel in the past in my Cherokee and it was tougher. Though this time in the SMB, we were there right after the heavy rains too. Again, conditions are always changing. Glad you enjoyed it nevertheless. You are also right, going with more than one rig is always safer and you don't have to worry as much. Just like the day before daveb, saved my butt in Last Chance Canyon. I would not have gone that far back alone anyway.

In any case I try to go once a year so maybe down the line you can come along if you like. But daveb is my insurance .

steve
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Old 04-05-2010, 01:00 AM   #20
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Re: TRIP REPORT: Death Valley & Surroundings Jan. 2010 (Long)

Quote:
Originally Posted by charlie56
Great report!
So did you ever figure out what went wrong? Did you bend your forks or something?
Was there a problem with High range or Low, or both? Could you tell if it was a transfer case issue or a hub issue?

I freely admit that only time I became temporally detained was operator error. I thought the fronts were in low but they were not. At least I had a tree straight in front of me for the winch.

I guess from looking at the photos that there was no place to set up a pull-pal if one of you guys had it correct?
Charlie,
It was likely operator error. My first problem is my green 4WD light is always on, though I am for sure not in 4WD. I shifted too late. I generally drive in 2WD until I get to a tough obstacle. I should be better about putting it into 4WD sooner, not when I am in a rock garden and it is hard to back up and go back and fourth. Lastly I was leaning into the shifters but felt I would bend something if I really forced it. I did here a ping sound (daveb heard it too from inside his van). I think a stone was lodged in there if that is even possible. If not it was probably just me .

As far as a pullpal goes, Dave had one. Luckily the Hi-Lift and a huge boulder and then his vehicle all worked in getting me unstuck.

I can't say enough about the Hi-Lift WITH the wheel attachment. That really worked out well. A winch alone would not have worked in this circumstance.

steve
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