After getting Merlin & BouderKronick (Jason) on their way home, we spent about 40 mins picking the remnants of Jason’s back window off of RubiVaroom’s (GJ’s) hood and front bumper. We then made our way over to our regular entry point off Parke Creek Rd.
Upon entering the we crossed paths with a gaggle of Toyotas who had decided the ice was too much for them at the switchback corner I knew to be a pain. Admittedly once we got in there the ice was as bad if not worse in many places than what we had seen two weeks prior, and even this morning taking Jason out.
We had met a bunch of folks from Landrover America, a group of 4 Landrovers and a “local” Jeep TJ in Kittitas, that had mentioned another trail to the right at the switchback that also led to the top, it was just the longer path. I told the “local” as of two weeks prior it hadn’t been run. Anyway they had gotten out before us, and we started on the wrong route, etc., etc., they’d be miles ahead of us.
So we cautiously crept up to the dreaded corner and got out and walked it, and noticed the right hand path had been cleared. As the ice was a 1000x worse on the entire switchback, we were taking the right hand trail or none. Lucky for us it was a breeze, and we were soon on top where we met some other local Jeepers, that asked us where we we headed, we told them our goal was Colockum Pass, but that we would be happy to get further than Mine & GJ’s first trip up in January with Dirt Lifestyle & The Story Till Now. They told us we wouldn’t get to the pass and might have mentioned groomed trails on the other side, but wished us luck. They also mentioned those Landrover guys sure love their chains, none of us or them had chains, and there not too far up, we’d see them soon enough.
They were right probably 20 mins later we came across 2 of them both buried to the frame. First we noticed the newest rig had a chain wrapped around the CV shaft, so we cleared that, and then helped them get unstuck and recommended they turn back. The owner and driver of the new Defender was elderly, and from Nebraska and didn’t know any of this group for Pete’s sake, his wife was quiet upset at their present situation, she said the other guys just left them. We asked where the rest of the group was and they told us they were going to try to get to the power lines. They were probably 3 miles or more from the powerlines, so we raced ahead to stop them, so they could get their group off the mountain safely.
When we caught up to the TJ and two Rovers they were all stuck, so we suggested they lose the chains and drop their street tire pressure down to lower numbers and crawl out, and get the Nebraska couple off that hill. They agreed, they had gotten in to more than they expected and would turn back. They told us we didn’t owe them anything to continue our run, so we did.
About an hour or so later as daylight was starting to fade we topped out on the hill and only then realized why the crew of local Jeepers told us we’d never get to the pass, they had just returned from the very spot they had turned around at the end of the line and left a bunch of (stuck) holes in our path, so We punched past their high mark by three rigs a JT, a JKU and an LJ past their turn around spot to take the new high mark. I think I might have seen fireworks and champagne, oh wait sorry that was a movie I watched recently. To say the least It was turning out to be a much better afternoon, than our morning had been. Stay tuned, we still have to get off the mountain…