Trip Report: Snow Wheeling 2017/2018

Discussion about deep snow wheeling, vehicle builds, trip reports, etc
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Re: Trip Report: Snow Wheeling 2017/2018

Postby Nobody » Tue Feb 20, 2018 3:23 pm

Very nice! I wonder if your 17” wheels are affecting the low pressure performance. I can’t recall ever having worse performance at lower pressure...
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christensent
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Re: Trip Report: Snow Wheeling 2017/2018

Postby christensent » Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:50 pm

Nobody wrote:Very nice! I wonder if your 17” wheels are affecting the low pressure performance. I can’t recall ever having worse performance at lower pressure...


I would think 15" wheels would be even worse. As far as I can tell, I'm not losing traction (I don't think airing down will ever hurt traction) but rather losing axle clearance. In heavier snow where the axle can't just glide through soft powder, the axle gets hung up worse at lower pressures. Basically there's a fight between lower pressure increasing traction but decreasing axle clearance thus increasing drag against moving. I imagine the dynamics and optimal operating point in various conditions are very different for everyone's build.

christensent
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Re: Trip Report: Snow Wheeling 2017/2018

Postby christensent » Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:03 pm

Anyone want to go out on Saturday? I'm out late Friday so it'd be a mid-morning start.

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Re: Trip Report: Snow Wheeling 2017/2018

Postby christensent » Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:00 pm

Mixed things up from the normal forest roads and went to Walker Valley which was shallow-snow-wheeling top to bottom on the trails. Discovered new levels of stuck and for the first time ever had to use a snatch-block because 8000 pounds didn't move the Jeep. Surface was mostly soft snow on top of water-ice. In general, first vehicle cruised with no difficulty and vehicles 2-N could not even start moving in many cases.

The other Jeep had single beadlocks (I think Trail Ready brand) and lost inner beads on two tires! I guess I won't be buying those for snow wheeling. Pressures weren't even very low, I think he was running 10PSI, maybe 5.

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christensent
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Re: Trip Report: Snow Wheeling 2017/2018

Postby christensent » Sun Mar 18, 2018 10:29 pm

A video from a few weeks ago, project went corrupt before I could fix the clicky audio track so here's what we get: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Wwj9HNdcZE


I went up Beckler River Road yesterday, finished clearing a fallen tree off a side road which means nobody's been up there in a very long time. Got up to 3000ft on a road that didn't even have early season ruts. The snow pack is in fantastic spring condition, it felt more like mid-late april wheeling conditions. Should be a very fun spring if we don't get a bunch more fresh snow (not that I'd complain if we had another powder cycle!). Drove up to that elevation with relative ease, a bit of work at switch backs but mostly just drove right up. Turned back in a clearing that was not giving good progress and it was very late in the day as this was a mid-afternoon start trip.

Went up to Jack Pass afterwards which was rutted the whole way, but very difficult rut driving that wanted to pull off the ruts then sink. This pickup truck has been up there over a month. Not sure what's up with it, surprised it hasn't been shot yet.

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Cylvertip
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Re: Trip Report: Snow Wheeling 2017/2018

Postby Cylvertip » Thu Mar 22, 2018 5:43 pm

Long time lurker, first time poster. Howdy everyone. I live in Granite Falls with my family and am a huge outdoor activities nut - Fishing, hunting, trapping, and basic adventure. I have a modestly modified 2015 Crew Cab Frontier with 2 1/2" lift, 255/85' BFG KM 2'S, Schrock Works armor, and a reciever mount winch for both front and rear use. It also is equiped with the ABLS - Active Braking Limited Slip.
I ran up to the 41 rd (Green Mountain Rd) Sunday evening with the intention of driving to the Canyon Creek Bridge (approx MP 8). I encountered several rigs just inside the National Forest ,above the big switch backs, that had just spent the last three hours stuck a short distance up the road. They were now sitting just outside of the snow zone and regrouping, getting ready to head out. They gave me the heads up on the ordeal and cautioned me on heading up further. I said I would like to go take a look and they made room for me to pass. I did get some looks going by as I was going in pretty late in the day, by myself, and the fact that they had just been in a battle. Note, I carry a full contingent of recovery and emergency survival gear including a SPOT Sat Tracker , and at worse case, it is an 8 mile walk out for help if I can't extricate myself. I I eased passed the group and took my time in low range with a light throttle tracking along. The other group had made it in 1/3 of mile or so and there were tracks that looked to be from Saturday out ahead of me. At about 6:30 I ended up sliding a rear tire into a hole from where a shorter wheel base rig had dug in. A little digging and i thought I had a clean pass. Ended up only moving a couple of inches. I had been fairly light on the throttle so far. Figured at this point I was starting to bottom out and would be winching, so might as well hammer it and see what happens. Stuck it in reverse in low and gave it a hit. That ended up moving me back a good foot. With that, I was able to get enough forward momentum to ease out of the hole and continue on. As I continued on the snow seemed to be getting softer and softer. I maneuvered around a couple other dug in spots but finally at 20 to 8:00 came to where some other rigs had turned around earlier in the season and decided to do the same. I worked my way back and forth in front of the turnaround to make sure I would have a good pad, but wasn't entirely happy with how it was feeling. I decided to try to go further in to see if anything better presented itself, but after another 1/4 mile or so, things seemed to continue to be getting sloppier. My GPS was showing 3 miles from the bridge which would be the end of the line (the road is blocked there) I ended up backing back to the turnaround (auxiliary reverse lights and side frame mounted lights go a long way!) and tracked right into the line with no issue. A couple of rocks back and forth got the front end around and I was heading out. It was 8:20. Heading back out was slow and steady until I saw light shining on a corner ahead. As I came around the corner, a group of guys came to meet me, hoping I could help them get one of their rigs out. They were getting no traction and weren't able to pull the stuck Yota with the almost stuck Cherokee. The biggest problem they had, which was the same one that the earlier group had from what i could see, was lack of mud tires. Less than aggressive AT's weren't doing them any favors, 33's or not. I was able to crawl off the track and get to the down road side of them and back in the track. I made sure i padded the track down for a couple of lengths of the truck for good traction. They had a fairly long chain so we hooked that to the rear receiver shackle. The rig was sitting at a 30 degree angle to the road. A little shovel work behind the tires of the stuck rig towards the track, instruction to go straight back with minimal throttle, and to let me pull their back end into the track, a little pull, and we had them free and straight again. They were gun shy and had me pull them down another quarter mile to where we started hitting gravel. The jeep was able to follow, so it all worked out. I made it home at 9:30 and started unpacking gear.

I am really impressed with the ABLS and can quit Jones'ing for a locker (hopefully) For the wheeling I do with my daily driver, I think I am good. I don't need to throw another $2K+ into the truck for what I do... again, I hope. And thankfully, I have found over there course of many years and and several modestly outfitted rigs, that if you are kind to the throttle, the vast majority of the time, a shovel will handle the trouble you get into in snow.

I am going to try and include a picture from late last March from the 4020 Rd about a mile from the Boardman Lake Trail Head. I was stuck, but it was slightly intentional so that I could try out the winch. Other than the 225 amp circuit breaker/ disconnect switch that tripped every 15 seconds or so ( now a battery shut off switch) for the rear cable, all went well.
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christensent
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Re: Trip Report: Snow Wheeling 2017/2018

Postby christensent » Sat Mar 24, 2018 6:50 pm

Cylvertip wrote:Long time lurker, first time poster. Howdy everyone.

Welcome to the forum! Glad to see more people posting

Incredible day today. Drove up to 3850ft almost effortlessly along I-90, just one half mile section that was a bit rough at a lower elevation. Soft blower powder on supportive crust. Peak snow depth was un-measurably deep but I'd say at least 12 feet deep based on creek holes giving a reference frame (deepest of which pictured below although you can't tell that it keeps going up all the way to the Jeep, I think the snow was 15 feet deep there).

Sorry I couldn't post an invite, this was supposed to just be a test drive after rebuilding a shock!

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Cylvertip
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Re: Trip Report: Snow Wheeling 2017/2018

Postby Cylvertip » Wed Mar 28, 2018 12:20 pm

Headed up Mt Loop again last Saturday. We had 5" snow in Granite Saturday morning and I decided I should go play vs work on projects. First stop was the 4020 Rd (Boardman Lake Rd) We made it up to the last corner on the switch backs, but that was it. We may have been able to push it and keep going but would have messed up the rig that made it another 100 yds or so past that and were now target shooting in the road. We made our way back down, with a little shovel duty on one corner. Then we ran up to the gate at Deer Creek just to see what was what. Road was plowed to the gate and looked to be 30" of snow past it. Headed back for Green Mountain. We did a small diversion into the Gold Basin Mill Pond parking lot donut, making it about 3/4 of the way around before I had to brake the shovel out. There was probably 16 to 18" of snow that hadn't been touched for a while but had been rutted up a month or so ago. We were down to just touching pavement when progress was stopped. Tires have 40K on them so a bit more bite I am sure would have helped.
Then onto Green Mountain (41 rd) with the plan to head to the gravel pit on the 4110. We made it there fine and saw one set of tracks headed towards the top so we followed. Plan was to get a fire going at the pit, but figured we would see if we could make the top instead. We made to just shy of the next switch back corner at 2800' and weren't making good progress. The road is pretty narrow there and rather than try to force things, we opted to back down to the pit and get the fire going.
There is a little side road that shoots out the West end of the pit that had been bermed out. I drove over to look at it, then as I inched over the top of the hump, the front end dropped and we high centered. Dug out once, but not quite enough and high centered again. At that point, the fairly built Cherokee that had gone to the top came by and gave us a tug. Thanks Tony! he said it did not look like anyone had been up to the top at all prior to him heading up. There where some skiers that trecked up to the top also, and they came back through just as we had the fire going good. We stayed until about 9 and headed for home. Unfortunately someone had abandoned a car the week before down close to the intersection with the loop, and now there was a car-b-que in progress. With no phone service there, we went back to Granite to see if we could find a County Mounty. We did, but they were involved in what looked to be a DUI stop, so we called it in to 911.

Cylvertip
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Re: Trip Report: Snow Wheeling 2017/2018

Postby Cylvertip » Tue Apr 17, 2018 2:39 pm

Checked the snow level on the 41 RD last night. Snow line was right a the start of the National Forest (timber) @1900'. This is the road that heads north east to the closed Canyon Creek Bridge.

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Re: Trip Report: Snow Wheeling 2017/2018

Postby Seventee » Sun Apr 29, 2018 12:16 pm

Finally! Spring is here so we managed to get out for our first ride. Temps were in the 60s today. Pics were taken a couple miles from my house. Still have some decent drifts to navigate.

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This road continues a couple miles to the top of the pass at 7000', but it was slow going to this point, and it was easy to turn around here. Anything faster than idling in low range would start to dig in. I was too lazy to air down more which would certainly have helped, but it was still going to be too long of a day. I am sure the drifts near the top are still 6' to 8' deep, and it is too steep to attempt under those conditions.

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It was tempting to play around in this open area, but the snow is not compacted due to snowmobiles like the road is, and I quickly sank to my knees on a test walk.

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Going out next weekend for a more serious attempt, but its probably going to be a few weeks before enough is thawed to get to the top.
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