Our group recently made a weekend trip to the Rubicon. We had two Broncos , two YJs, a CJ7, a Toyota 4runner and my JK. We met at the Loon Lake trailhead friday night around 10:30 pm. By the time everyone showed up and we were ready to go, it was close to midnight. Just about that time, a light rain started to come down which made the trail slick. We made Ellis Creek by 2:00 am and camped there.
Saturday, the rain had stopped, we broke camp and we were back on the trail by 9:00 am. Some of the rigs played at the soup bowl, as we made our way to little sluice. Up to this point, the trail didn't present any problems. At little sluice, the guys lined up to run the box. The first rig in, one of the YJs, broke an outershaft on his D60, trying to push up and over a big boulder. It ended up rolling on its side and it took three rigs with winches and staps to pull it out of the sluice box. After about three hours for extraction and repair, we were back on the trail. The trail from little sluice to buck is tight in a number of places with plenty of opportunity for some body rash. I managed to make it all the way to buck with only a scratch on a door hinge when the Jeep rolled into a boulder as I was coming off a ledge. I had two guys pushing the jeep away from the boulder and one guy hanging on the passenger side as a counter weight so I could clear without any more rash. The group that was blocking the bypass, so I'd have to take the hard line, were just waiting for me to smash up against the rocks.
On our way to old sluice , the other YJ had a rear wheel come off when the wheel studs sheared off. We had the trail tied up for one hour because he broke where there was no way to get around. We finally made it to old sluice. I was the only rig in our group not to go through old sluice after watching a TJ roll onto a boulder at the first obstacle. I chose the alternate route over the slabs to get to buck island. About this time the weather changed and it began to hail heavy on us. With no doors and no top in the back, my daughter was freaking out. We made it to buck a little wet but otherwise safe. I learned later that the YJ , with the wheel that had come off, rolled in old sluice.
Camped that night at buck island. The next day, left camp at 10:00 am. We went about 1/8 mile and the CJ7 had electrical problems. Made the repair and headed on. A short time later, he got a sidewall tear. Plugged that but the plug wouldn't hold. It kept going flat as we went down the trail. It took two more attempts and I don't know, six plugs to get it to hold. Then, somewhere between Little Sluice and Walker Hill, the Toyota broke the steering arm off the passenger side knuckle and busted up the longfield. That repair took a long time. They had to rebuild the longfield. Two of the four studs that hold the steering arm to the knuckle, sheered off. They couldn't get the broken ones out so they tried welding the arm back in place. That lasted a short time before the welds broke. They got the welder back out , this time reinforcing it with some 3/8 flat stock and that held.
We took it very slow the rest of the way out hoping the Toyota would'nt break again. Then, as I was coming through a bit of a squeeze, That I had been through many times, I decided to climb a rock on the drivers side and this happened.
In the first pic you can see where my tire was on the rock. Amazingly the damage was minimal. You can see in the pics, it was just the hard top and a door hinge. Look how close the rock was to the B pillar. I was an inch from taking out the windshield. We were just about to come off that rock too. I felt the JK was stable and in an instant we were over. It's a weird feeling, dangling from the seatbelt. We were incredibly fortunate to come out of that the way we did.
Afterward, we took it very slow and made it back to the trailers at around 9:00pm. We left loon lake at 10:00pm and I rolled up to my front door at 2:00am. That was a long day and weekend. Still though, a good time wheeling.
The trail carnage for the trip was three flops, one broken D60, a broken longfield and steering knuckle, a wheel coming off, an electrical failure and three cut tires as the two broncos had cut tires also.
More pics of the other rigs to follow.