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Old 04-27-2003, 09:51 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Help a 1st timer run the Rubicon.

Well, here's the story. A bunch of my friends from around the Pacific Northwest are planning on driving down to Cali to run the Rubicon. With me living so close, i feel obliged to follow them, and also learn as much about the trail as I can in order to prepare us for the adventure. Here's the thing.

We dont drive Jeeps, we dont build Toyota's, we dont wheel Samari's.... we have Subaru's. But these aren't Impreza WRX's, they aren't your average grocery getting Wagon. We have lifted, modified, off-road Subaru's. Laugh if you must.

Anyhow... so ive done some reading, looked at some photo's and the last thing i would like to do is talk to people who have run the trail and know 1st hand.

So far from what Ive gathered, the only large obsticle that does not have a bypass is the Big Sluice. We dont plan on taking the hardest parts of the trail, or running the most difficult line. By all means, our cars are not rock crawlers. I guess my biggest question is, do you think we can do it? I sometimes have doubts, but the pictures i see are of the most difficult parts, where people are getting shots of their trucks doing the impossible. We're not about all that. We just want to enjoy a few days running the worlds most famous trail.

Any help would be apreciated.
Thanks Guys
-Brian
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Old 04-27-2003, 10:16 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Post a link to your car so we can see it. What is the wheelbase on your car? What size tires? Decent wheel travel? Any lockers? How do you feel about body damage?

http://community.webshots.com/album/42273723LaxJxO

Here are some good pics of the Con. In the first pic of the red cruiser he is at the first obstical called the gate keeper. Two large rocks shaped into a V.
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Old 04-27-2003, 10:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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http://www.subaru4wd.net/New/offroad...tchpatrol.html

There are a couple pix of my Car (the gold wagon) and some of my buddy's car's as well. That was on a recent trip to Washington where these guy's live. I have more and better pix, but i have to sort through them and right now im at work and unable to.

Anyhow. As far as wheelbase, im not sure right now what the wheelbase of my wagon is. My wagon right now has 26" Discoverer STT's, my friends run 27" Super Swamper's.

As far as being locked. Right now I am running an open rear diff, but i will have it welded for the trip, along with an extra welded diff and plenty of extra axels. My friends have welded and LSD rear ends. Our wheel travel is very limited. Our cars have indipendant suspension and front struts, so there really is no wheel travel. Like i said, our cars are not rock crawlers. Mine see's more mud, water and dirt than it ever see's rocks. But you cannot talk these guys out of anything, expecially a challenge like this. I will get more pix soon if you like.

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Old 04-27-2003, 10:35 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Brian, the first obstical, can be tricky. If you pay attention on where your rig is going, and you don't mind rock rash, you can get through just fine. Stock rigs make it through.

Breaking parts is always in the cards. Last Memorial Day, every other rig (seriously) that went through gate keeper, broke something. Including the trailer I was pulling. It's a good challenge, and one of my favorite spots on the trail.

Have fun!

Jen
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Old 04-27-2003, 10:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks Jen. We're not affraid to dent the car or the undercarriage. Not sure if you can see in any of my pix, but my car is far from the beauty it was when i bought it. I beat it up pretty good on a trail in Washington.

Are there bypasses to all of the hairy stuff? We will most likely be taking all the bypasses available.

-Brian
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Old 04-27-2003, 10:50 AM   #6 (permalink)
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So far I haven't been past Little Sluice, we get there, and end up staying there. Past the gate keeper, the trail is not to bad. The only real "bypass" is at Little Sluice. But, I rather go through the box, rather than go up the main bypass. Too many rollovers. There is another way around, but it's the long way around. Either way.....you'll have a blast!!

Jen
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Old 04-27-2003, 11:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Brian,

The pics in Rocksluts link a very representative of what you will find on the trail. If you are serious about attempting the Rubicon, I would suggest you make a trip up and see for yourself by walking it.

As for bypasses around the hard spots, there are very few with the exception of Little Sluice. This is a tough trail!

IMO, the cars shown in your link aren't up to the task. If, after walkin the trail, you still want to attempt it, I would suggest you go mid week (Tues-Thurs). Otherwise you might be creating quite a backup

There are many other trails in the area that are much better suited to your type of vehicle. You might want to reconsider your choice.
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Old 04-27-2003, 11:21 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Its not my choice, its the choice of my friends, and they have never backed down to a challenge. I do have my doubts, and i will be going up there and walking the trail, taking pix and speaking to people in person. I know there are different entrances to the trail. I plan on going to the Tahoe side and getting pix. Maybe try to make my way to Cadillac hill and get some pix of that, as that is a concern of mine as well.

We are planning on running the trail on Monday through Wednesday.

also... off-topic, but what are some other good trails up there. I live in Sacramento, and i goto kyburz alot and play on some of the forest roads there and try to find better trails, but i dont know much about this area. Maybe that is a different thread all together.

-Brian
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Old 04-27-2003, 03:41 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I will say, that anything could be done. Remember, even for those stock Jeeps ALOT of rocks are stacked. My observations might help you. I am a relative Newbie to the High Sierras and Rubicon, with 2 summers worth of trips under my belt, 3rd approaching. I lead groups of near stock, or slightly modified Monteros, primarily since few aftermarket items exist. To qualify, these rigs are frame based, with tough drivelines, and even some with factory lifts and rear lockers. All fit 33s with no mods. I lead trips all over the country on so called 4+, tough trails with open diffed, unprotected Monteros. For ANY of the North- South High Sierra Trails I require no open diffs, rocker protection and 33" Tires LWB or 31" SWB, without exception. The Rubicons reputation is well disserved, and gets diluted some by the rediculous plague of 44" monster tube rock buggies that only see challenge by rolling rocks into trails the size of cars, or bashing there way up desert arroyos full of boulders. For mortal wheelers the Rubicon is VERY hard, even in a well equipped rig, without doing the Little or Old Sluices.(both optional) The guardian obsticle is quite challenging indeed, and can result in major damage. While a bit harder then most of the trail, it is a good primer of things to come. Challenge is one thing, missery, exhaustion and destroyed equipment is another. The High Sierras are tough geologicaly, from glacial boulders, as well the high altitude mixes with amazingly hot temperatures to get that engine temp up. Also, I cannot remember if Subarus have low range? I believe they do, if not forget it for several reasons. My reccomendations for High Sierras trail equipment are:
1. No less then a 31" tire SWB, 33" LWB.
2. Rocker Protection REQUIRED.
3. Heavy duty skid plates.
4. Back up electric fan wired for backup(A/C fans work fine)
5. Heavy duty bumpers, or kiss the stock ones good bye.
6. Tow Hooks of course.
7. Lead vehicle MUST have a winch.
8. Trail Leader idealy should have run the trail once before.(Trust me, on a hard trail like this things go smoother for a group)
Unfortunately I am of the opinon the Rubicon would be a bit much for your group. If you do go, be prepared for 3-4 days of exhausting work to get your group through.(ie: physical) Trail guides for the Sierra Nevadas are flooding the market, and if you can get away from the big north-south connecting trails( Dusy, Ershim, Rubicon and Fordyce,) there does appear to be many fine opportunities. You could consider the longer, but a bit easier Dusy/Ershim system first, and go North to South to avoid going up Thompson Hill, done in that direction it might be doable for you, but VERY challenging, and great solitude and far better scenery then the Con. It is my favorite trail, followed by Fordyce, then the Con. Hope all this helps. Bottom line, dont underestimate the challenge of the Rubicon.
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Old 04-27-2003, 03:47 PM   #10 (permalink)
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There are plenty of videos out there that show a lot of the trail. The Pirate video and Sidekick Offroad's are two that come to mind.

If I were you, I hook up with someone who is familiar with the trail and can bring a "resuce" rig if you need to be winched or pulled through.

And let us know the dates so we can all come along and watch!!!!!!!
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Old 04-27-2003, 03:51 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Thats the last thing im going to do... give dates. I will have plenty of film and pictures of the event, and they will all be available to the public to see.

One of the other guys has seen the video's you mention, i have not. I preffer to speak one on one with people and get opinions.

-Brian
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Old 04-27-2003, 03:56 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Old 04-27-2003, 04:19 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Thanks Skulltoy. I'll remember that next time i want to throw a bunch of money into something as useless as a rock buggy.

-Brian
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Old 04-27-2003, 04:27 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Subaru4WD
Its not my choice, its the choice of my friends, and they have never backed down to a challenge.
I say bring it then.

But here's the deal.... Come prepared for anything and everything. You'll need parts - lots of parts. You'll need food and water for the extra days you may be spending there. You might consider bringing some 'ramps' to get your cars over some of the bigger ledges (and there are plenty of them).

Most importantly, bring humility. Fastest way to get your ass kicked in the back country is to block the trail and not let the rigs that are equipped for the trail pass.

So bring it, have fun and respect the others users of the trail. Do that, and I bet you'll make some friends and impress people.

If your friends can't handle that, I echo what others have said - you're not equipped to run the Rubicon.

Paul
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Old 04-27-2003, 04:47 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Subaru4WD
Thanks Skulltoy. I'll remember that next time i want to throw a bunch of money into something as useless as a rock buggy.

-Brian
Useless as a rock buggy? Read at the top of the page where it says Pirate4X4 EXTREME ROCK CRAWLING
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Old 04-27-2003, 04:50 PM   #16 (permalink)
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The only thing I was paying attention to is "Rubicon Trail Talk" and so far you haven't helped at all Skulltoy. Which is also the 2nd thing at the top of the page "Help a 1st timer run the rubicon". So if you can't help at all, then go find something else to do rather than waste my time.

-Brian
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Old 04-27-2003, 05:08 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Another couple of points, DO NOT EVEN THINK of going on a weekend, that is not a joke, a suggestion, or minor mention. The weekend is a zoo of rock buggies, red neck idiots that make our sport look bad, and just plain amazing crowdes like I have never seen on general wheeling trails, and provides no solitude, especially around Spider Lake and the Little Sluice. Add to that the time you will need to get your vehicles through, and you do not want to be blocking traffic at a peak time. Another mention for the Dusy/Ershim system, the Rock Buggies have no interest in such a long, tight trail, like most trails, just no fun for the buggies. Oh, ramps are a GREAT idea as mentioned as well.
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Old 04-27-2003, 05:52 PM   #18 (permalink)
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The later in the summer you go, the easier the trail will be.

After the Jeepers Jamboree and the Jeep jamboree and Labor Day weekend, the trail already has all the needed rocks piled at the worst spots.

Just remember that the old Willys MB's used to be able to go through stock. It's more of a driver challenge than a vehicle challenge.
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Old 04-27-2003, 06:14 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Sure, stock Willys USED to go through, but so did automobiles! The trail is alot different now.
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Old 04-27-2003, 06:17 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Thanks Guys. I am going to be driving up there in a couple weeks to get a 1st hand view of the trail. I know there is an entrance at Lake Tahoe, and one at Georgetown. Where else can you go to access the trail in order to get a good view of whats in store for us?

Also... we will be going late in the summer, close to fall.

-Brian
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Old 04-27-2003, 06:43 PM   #21 (permalink)
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There is one other entrance, from Wentworth Springs, but Loon Lake is your best bet to hike down and get a quick look. Tahoe side is a long bumpy ride in, and you will only get to see Cadillac Hill. Remember, this is remote wilderness, and accesses are far and few. If you want to hike a bunch, I guess Buck Island Lake....Remember, most High Sierra Trails take days to do, are EXTREMELY remote with no access, many times penatrating designated wilderness areas, basically its like backpacking with your 4x4. In August I will be driving from Bear Valley to Northern California with only a few dozen miles of road, and one town(Truckee, on the way from BArker Pass to Fordyce Trail Head) A guidebook would be handy also. 4x4 NOW is great for guidebooks.
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Old 04-27-2003, 06:58 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Not the first nay sayer's I've met.

Hello folks,

My name is Ken, and I run the Hatch Patrol. A Washington Based Subaru Off-Road club. We are going to run the Rubicon. We are doing this along with the Oregon Subaru Off-road club. We are for real and are capable of running the trail. We are in no way rock buggies and will never claim to be.

We are going mid-week to avoid high traffic and holding up others. We have done our homework. We are bringing many parts and are fully aware of risk and probability of body damage. But any dent you get won't be in the way next time.

I have an '86 Brat. It runs 28" Swamper SSR's. I have 14+ inches of clearance under my rear diff. How much do you guys have running 35's? I will post some pics in a bit.

Qman

BTW, we aren't here to fight and argue. We are looking for a little insight. We are doing the trail. If that is too much to handle than don't respond. But we will be there and we will succeed!
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Old 04-27-2003, 07:22 PM   #23 (permalink)
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I think nasvik hit it on the head.


Its not impossible but its not going to be easy either.

Expect long days of working on the rigs and stacking rocks. Give your self lots of time to tackle each obstical.

Regardless of what you drive, there are certain requirements for tackling a trail. I would say 33s are a minimum for the rubicon inorder for it to be enjoyable. 29s are just not going to make it a very fun day..

To each its own, Rember Stay on trail, dont make your own by passes and leave the attitude at home.
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Old 04-27-2003, 07:33 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Thanks Ken.

Also thanks to the people who have been co-operative with this thread.

-Brian
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Old 04-27-2003, 07:47 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Qman - Thanks for chiming in. Sounds like you have a better attitude than the original poster. I hope you make it through without too much headache.

I would like to add a couple of points though...

First, leave the trail as you found it. Unstack all your rocks, no bypasses, and all the usual trash/camp cleanup we expect of all users of the trail. If you look around this forum you'll see that many of us are fighting hard to keep this trail open.

Secondly, we (as regular users of the trail) would appreciate if you didn't construct your post-trip write-ups to sound as if anyone can get through. The trail is already overcrowded (as the most famous of 4x4 trails) and draws more than it's fair share of traffic. Last thing the trail needs is every outback owner thinking they can make it through....

And I'm curious - do your cars have a low range or not? I don't think my '84 4x4 Subaru wagon did.

Paul
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