2011 Easter Jeep Safari
Story and Photos by Nolen Grogan
Coverage brought to you by 4Wheel Parts
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Sunday's run on Cliffhanger
Pirate4x4 rolled into Moab for 45th Annual Easter Jeep Safari 2011. We are super excited to bring you guys the action from Moab Utah for Easter Jeep Safari. Hosted by the Red Rock 4-Wheelers, Easter Jeep Safari is held every year the week leading up to Easter in Moab Utah. You don't have to have a Jeep to attend. Any full size vehicle can register with Red Rock 4-Wheelers to attend the guided trail runs. Also, if you are not into guided runs, you can come to Moab and use the trails as well. Easter Jeep Safari is also THE place for major vendors to meet with their retailers, the media and consumers to release new products.
Just such a run happened today with the Warn Media Run. We joined up with the men and women of Warn Industries at their hotel for an announcement of a new line of budget winches. Starting at $399 for the 8000# winch, the MADE IN THE USA winches offer up a new line of 8000, 10,000 and 12,000 winches for those that demand Warn quality but do not need all the bells and whistles of the current Warn winches. These are great looking winches and proof that Warn is listening to the market and inserting itself and its limited lifetime warranty into the entry market.
We staged and headed out Kane Creek Road to Cliffhanger Trail. The drive down river to Cliffhanger is absolutely stunning with sheer cliffs on one side and the Colorado River on the other. Truly amazing scenery everywhere.
The majority of the 35 vehicles on the trip today were Jeeps. After all, it is the Easter Jeep Safari! That said, pirate4x4.com showed up with our "sleeper" truck, a well equipped solid axle extra cab Toyota. We made it all look easy, but then again, so did most of the rest of the highly experienced group. Warn Industries brought out some absolutely beautiful Jeeps to Moab this year.
Down into Cliffhanger you drop down a series of ledges that drag the longer vehicles and make the short wheelbase drivers pay special attention. Once down the main section of ledges you cross Kane Creek and begin the uphill trek that is Cliffhanger. The very first ledge on the uphill section took out a rear axleshaft on our trail leader's 2 door JK Jeep and I knew it was going to be a long process to get all 35 vehicles up and through Cliffhanger.
Once we got everyone up the first ledge, things seemed to speed up a bit. The trail leads slowly along the creek and up to the top of the towering cliffs beyond the creek. Small ledges, switchbacks and off camber slickrock all the way. Cliffhanger rates a difficult rating in the Moab Trail Guide and with the Red Rock 4-Wheelers but really with a bit of experience, good locked axles and proper tires makes it a really nice trail.
Once we made it to the top of the plateau we broke for lunch and had sandwiches and cookies courtesy of Warn Industries. While we were stopped we wandered to the edge and looked out across the Moab beauty. Nothing is quite like Moab for the excellent off-road opportunities and sheer beauty. Cliffhanger may not be the hardest trail in Moab but the scenery is near the top of the list.
Cliffhanger is a round-trip trail. Once you get to the top and to the overlook, you turn around and come back. With the sun at our backs, the distant snow covered La Sal mountains were a sharp contrast to the red rock of Amasa Back. The trail is easy on the way down unless you are new to 4-wheeling. Sometimes going down is a bit scary, but this was not bad at all. Once we hit Kane Creek we turned back uphill to the last 1/4 mile section that was straight up.
The exit begins with a sharp ledge that is murder on short wheelbase vehicles. Some made it, some didn't. The guys from Warn Industries were more than happy to string cable out to help those that could not make it. It was not a winch-fest, but there were plenty of people that got to use their winches. After 7 hours later we got the entire group back on Kane Creek Road and headed back to town for some food and rest. Thanks to Warn Industries for laying out the red carpet and producing the best winches in the industry.
Look for our story on Metal Masher with 4 Wheel Parts tomorrow!