Once we all cleared the initial entry slope on the Moab trail, spectators, shutterbugs and drivers jumped back into their rides so we could start the more difficult portions of the trail. Although a stock Wrangler can navigate most of the twists and turns of the trail, a small lift kit and some larger tires, as well as more durable front and rear bumpers, come in handy. My JK is equipped with a 2.5” budget boost Tera Flex lift kit, and I’ve upgraded the tires back to the Goodyear MT/R 285’s. I like to air down to about 12psi for added traction. What I’m most thankful for is the Stubby Front Shrockworks Bumper and Sliders. The short bumper allowed my Jeep a much more aggressive approach angle for the more arduous off-camber climb that would come next.
Spotters and eager photographers positioned themselves along the rock squeeze into a small drop just before the first off-camber climb. Most everyone in the group had an opportunity to catch enough air in their Jeep to nab a photo worthy of framing. Just as drivers caught their breath from what was an unnerving maneuver for first timers, the massive pitch caused by the off-camber climb moved into a hard right turn, often a three-point-turn or more. This came in preparation to cross what we call “The Crack,” a fissure inside the massive boulders that ranges from 30” to over 40” in width, depending on the line you use to cross. Fortunately, there were spotters everywhere to provide not only driving guidance but also extra off-center ballast in case you begin to tip into the tree or one of the other boulders that flank the passenger-side.
Most of the groups were pretty happy with themselves after they made it this far up the trail and the cliffs; all of which surround the next staging area and offer excellent vantage points for group photographs. For a group of 18-20 Jeeps, this part of the trail takes about 2 – 2.5 hours barring any mechanical mishaps. By now, attendees who were strangers at breakfast had become life long friends, as if they had just had a full weekend at a team building exercise.
For the next 200 yards, there were a few twists and turns that eventually lead to the next off-camber climb into the “V.” The “V” is a 15’ climb where you use your front passenger tire to move
through the first part of the obstacle. The higher you climb the right hand side of the “V,” the better look we all get at your under-carriage…and we are all standing above you! The only problem with the “V” is if you come down too hard, you are likely to kiss your driver-side rear bumper corner goodbye. We’ve torn off more than one set of license plate brackets from TJ’s and JK’s at this spot over the years. This is where you learn the Jeep colloquialism: “Trail Damage is like a Tattoo but with a much better story.”