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6 Libertys conquer the Hole in the Rock trail

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Joined: 16 Jun 2004
Location: Tucson, AZ

PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2004 1:12 am    Post subject: 6 Libertys conquer the Hole in the Rock trail Reply with quote

Back in April 2001, about a month before I bought my Liberty, I did this trail in my YJ..
At that time I was talking with one of my fellow Red Rock 4-Wheelers about the new Liberty
and he said it would be a fine vehicle, but would never be able to conquer this trail..

Saturday morning, Memorial weekend 2004, we woke to the threat of thunderstorms.. So we quickly packed camp
at Hall's Crossing and went to wake the rest of the team..
By 10:00 am the sun was out and the sky was clear..
We all met at the airport at noon for the 1:00pm departure..(except for 1 participant.)
For the first 5 miles you drive on bumpy gravel road.. So we went nice and slow to give the late one a chance to catch up if he was coming..
At an old Indian fort we stopped to take a look and we could all hear this racket coming down the road we had just traversed..
Sure enough, it was Alex, our late arrival..

6 Liberty's in all were going to attempt to tackle this trail..
We left the fort and right away we came to some slickrock..
It would be all rock of one sort or another for the next 55 miles, until we returned to this point..
Remember every obstacle on this trail has to be done both directions.!!

Within the first quarter mile of reaching the slickrock the trail gave us a very accurate indication of what was ahead..

It was a very bumpy, slow going crawl to each and every obstacle..

The scenery is spectacular where we were so it made it nice
that we were driving so slow..
We climbed steep hills and went down steep inclines.. went over bumps taller than the Jeeps, but kept on going..
We wanted to make camp before nightfall..
Finally about 7:00 pm we got to our campsite..
You could feel the adrenaline in the air, from what we had already been through, to the excitement of what tomorrow would bring..

Within a mile or so of leaving camp we came to this obstacle, which is the start of the climb up to the top of Grey Mesa..
The trail deviates from the original wagon trail for about a mile here because it is just too steep for Jeeps to make it..
(notice the sign in the background.)

btw, we did this trail without moving any rocks, or stacking any rocks..
This part is a jeep trail that was blasted into the rock in the 50's for Uranium exploration..
It is one of the most difficult sections as it is a very ledgy climb with not much room for error on either side..
If you don't follow the right line, you can get into trouble really quick..
Here it looks like you should stay right, but actually you need to be far left to avoid this situation..

he is less than a foot from his tire going off the edge..
After a couple of hours we came to the infamous "Chute"..
Here it is "4-lo you go,, 4-hi you die.."
When we got to the top of the chute there was a big collection of 4wd vehicles of every sort..
at least 3 were broken.. When they learned that we were all driving Libertys, they recommended us not to go any further..
So down we went, with some of the bystanders calling us idiots for attempting such a feat..

One by one we all made our way down the chute and started up the other side..about 1/4 mile past the bottom of the chute we climb up
and over an off camber, sidehill ledge.. amazingly we all made it over this most difficult ledge with no problem whatsoever..
And all of it within site of the naysayers at the top of the chute..
So that was a great feeling..

a couple more miles, and a couple more hours
we made it to the end of the trail..
an overlook of the "Hole in the Rock"
it is still 3 miles away.. (center of far background.)

The "Hole" is 1 mile down to the river at a 45 degree slope.. They used this wagon road for over a year and a half, going BOTH directions..

After eating lunch and taking in the sights, we started the trip back to camp..

going up and down over and around climbs, side hills, ledges and rocks..
This is one of my favorite pics of the trip because it shows all the elements on the trail in one little section..

We were traveling much quicker on the return trip so we made it back to the "Chute" in just over an hour..


this next pic is taken from where the first Jeep is in the last photo..
Inside the vehicle looking UP..


I did notice that all of the vehicles were gone that were blocking the trail on our way in..
(probably hurried up their repairs so as to be gone when we came back..)
but we just kept going up what we came down on earlier, and down where we went up..
All the obstacles on this trail require you to do them in BOTH directions..

Finally we were getting close to camp but we still had a few more obstacles to clear..
(Just in front of my red jeep is the sign from the earlier pic..)

It was fun around the campfire that night as we relived the days adventures many times..
sometimes verbally, sometimes just in our thoughts..

All in all it was one of the best Jeep trips I have been on.. even though I have done this trail 5 times..
partly from the excitement of the others that had never wheeled this type of terrain before,
and partly because I was in my Liberty doing a trail they said couldn't be done..
2002 Liberty Sport Classic - RRO Combo 2.25" lift & Rock Rails, 32" BFG Mud Terrain T/A's.. Boulder Bars tranny skid.
..Get In..Sit Down..Shut Up..& Hang On..
my website:

Last edited by deserthorizons on Sat Dec 30, 2006 10:23 am; edited 3 times in total
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Pissed-Off Admin
Pissed-Off Admin

Joined: 23 Jan 2004
Location: I knew it...I'm surrounded by Assholes!

PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2004 1:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice pics! Very Happy

That's some beautiful country you've got to wheel in there! To be honest, I am not a big fan of the Liberty (personal opinion, nothing more), but it is good to see that folks are actually wheeling them hard. Good stuff man!


97 XJ Sport with a bunch of stuff
Never argue with idiots, they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience
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Joined: 10 Feb 2004
Location: Maytown, PA

PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2004 9:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's awesome! Naysayers suck long floppy donkey dick. Looks like a great trip. Thanks for sharing it with us! Cool
Derailing otherwise constructive and informative threads since 2004!
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Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Location: Epping New Hampsha

PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2004 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey welcome to Jeep Horizons. Smile

Those are great pics.....I cant wait to get out that way some day.

The Libby is nothing to sneeze at. One of the guys in our Jeep club has a basically stock rig with a 2" BB and 31" BFG AT's. Its amazing how well he does with it. What they do need is tow and hook points.

Real Jeeps dont wear Bra's
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Joined: 01 Jan 2004
Location: points that way...

PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2004 4:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great pics and some nice Jeeps Mr. Green . I've run with a nicely setup one up at PAP numerous times, nothing to sneeze at indeed Wink .
Drink more Ovaltine!!!
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Joined: 16 Jun 2004
Location: Tucson, AZ

PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 9:20 pm    Post subject: AZKJ813's writeup of the trip.. Reply with quote

This is a writeup of the trail from the guy that
had never wheeled this type of terrain or this difficult of a trail..
Worth reading.!!
.... by AZKJ813....

I had been waiting for this trip for months. I have been reading these posts and information the trailboss Robert (aka Deserthorizons) had been supplying
to the trip participants. I remember looking at some of the pictures of other rigs on this trail with a friend and us both saying "How the hell am I going to do that with my Jeep" I know my KJ is a Solid and powerful wheeling machine but some of these pictures were just to much to think my jeep and I could actually take on and stay in one piece. All I could think to myself was we must be taking bypasses around these crazier obstacles.

The day was finally here to run this awesome and dangerous trail. I was about to run this trail with four other KJ's and a Jeep Willy's and i was only running on about an just over an hour of sleep. We were expecting one more KJ, but at this point he had not shown. So a few minutes after our set departure time we started out on the trail. The first few miles was a semi-graded bumpy dirt road that seemed to last forever. I was thinking i hope it gets better than this. Like they say "be careful what you hope for, you just might get it."

We took the time to stop at an old broken fort to look at it and some of the other sights. A few minutes later we could hear some loud noises and alot of dust coming from down the road. When what was making all that racket got in sight I could see it was another KJ, a heavily modded KJ to boot. This guy came ripping down the road doing about 50mph in the same place that we just got doing about 10mph.(I did not know at this time we were going slow to wait up for the Sixth KJ) He came riding up like something out of an action movie and it was a great entrance.

So now that we were all here it was time to get back on the trail. On this first day so far I was the first from last in line. When we went to leave the fort to hit the trail the KJ that had just showed up was going to pull in behind me and I remember thinking " this guy likes to drive fast" so I waved him on to go in front of me. Little did I know that this was a very fortunate move for me at the time. Off we were again.

This is when i noticed that we were starting to get into the actual trail. We started hitting some decent obstacles. The rocks, the ledges, inclines and off camber obstacles all were quickly getting bigger. I could see the trail boss in the distance just drop over things and totally disappear. I remember thinking "Wow, so this is what a class 4 trail is like".
I was happier than a kid in a toy store. This is when it all went downhill for the day for me. At least emotional wise.

We were not very far into the hard part of the trail when I started doing silly things. I started taking my own lines instead following the lines I had just seen done properly. This was my first time on a rocktrail and a trail of this high of rating.
It was no time to try freelancing my rockcrawling skills when I have none. I would learn this lesson quickly and almost the hard way. A little further down the road we came to a hill that had a rocky section and a soft red dirt section. I had just watched Alex, the KJ i waved in front of me go up the hill using the rocky section using all grip and shooting up it in one shot. I decided to play the silly Cowboy and run the dirt section all petal. About halfway up the hill I just dug in and was sitting there tires spinning. I had to back down and run the line that Alex just did to get up the hill.

About a mile down the road we came to a off camber rocky ledge that was about three to four feet. I watched a couple of the KJ's in front of me have to hit it twice to get up it the right way and a couple just go up it in one shot. Alex went up it in one shot. Again i was trying my own line and tried to go more to the right. About half way up all i could see was sky and hear people yelling back at me. I panic braked and started rocking back and forth about ready to either lay my KJ on its side or go right back down into the hole of the ledge I just drove up. Trying to stop the Jeep from rocking I stuck my had out the window and was able to touch the ground. I had everyone telling me to get my hands back inside the Jeep. Sticking any body parts out the window when youíre about to roll is not a very smart thing to do. By this time Alex was aleady hopping up on my passenger side rockrail to balance me back out. He had me turn my wheel in a fashion that took my center of gravity back in the right direction. He had me get on the gas and i straightened right out and went up the rest of the ledge unharmed. I am so glad that i waved him in front of me. On this run you are responsible for the guys behind you and the leader and last driver are always in radio contact. I got out and thanked everyone for their help and gazed at the hole i had just driven my Jeep up and could not believe that my Jeep could even do that and come out unscathed. The next thing I know I heard motors starting and we off again. This had really done in my confidence and pride for the day.

For the rest of the time I just made sure I stuck to the lines i saw working. The trail was just getting worse and worse and I could not believe it. We were going down and up and over things I had never believed my Jeep could. It was nuts and even with
almost no sleep and wounded pride I was till loving it. By the time we got to where we were camping that night I was dusted and just wanted to eat and then go to sleep. I was talking to the trailboss before I ate and was asking him what the rest of the trail was like. I was making a big deal about what we just made it through and he just tells me "Today was just practice for tomorrow". I was think he was just playing with me and trying to get me nervous about tomorrow. How much harder could this really get and how much harder could we really push our Jeeps? I lost alot of sleep that night pondering that question. I should have know better. Robert is always serious when he talks about the trail.

The next day came and I was feeling much better. I had finally gotten some sleep and was not about to let my silliness from yesterday affect me today. We were all set and ready for the second half over the trail. We were lining up and I was ready to take the position I had the day before when Robert told me to pull in behind his Jeep and go second in line. I think they planned this when I was asleep so I would not kill myself today on some nasty obstacle today. If I just stayed on his lines and didn't do anything silly I would be fine. I knew this and so did the others. I consider it a gift. Robert runs over things like a tank and if I just stuck to his lines and do what he does, then I have a chance of making this.

We get to the first obstacle of the day and it was a Ledge we had to go up. Even Robert had to hit a few times to find the way up! This told me it was going to be a very difficult day. Even after I saw the line Robert took, I still had to hit it several times before I made it. when I finally made it everyone was yelling and cheering for me and it was great. You would be surprised how much unity in a group will take you. We definitely had that and nothing was going to stop us today. We went up and down and crawled over stuff I never even dreamed of trying. Following Robert all I could think is where the hell are you taking us? You are freeking nuts!!! But watching him conquer these obstacles was so amazing and inspiring I wasn't about to give up. I was already to far in to try n give up. I am just going to stick to his lines and wheel on.

When we got to the climb up to Grey mesa this is where the road began to go beyond madness. From here to the end I could not believe the punishment my Jeep took and it just kept going. It takes alot to get used to the scrapping noise of huge boulders and rocks bending metal under your Jeep for about five or six hours straight. We did almost lose someone on this hill it is a very skinny part of the trail and so rocky itís easy to bounce off a rock and your rear end fishtail you off the side of the cliff. It is about a thousand foot dropoff in some places. So if you spill it and go off the edge, thatís it, your done wheeling for good. About half way up the incline and around the bend from where we almost had our second bad mishap (mine being the first, yesterday) there was a horse skull setting up on a dead and dry cactus about eight feet in the air. It was trippy looking this with the almost moon like looking surroundings. It was almost like being in a sci-fi film. Like it was some mystical symbol warning us to travel no further or die!!! So we pressed on. We were not stopping until we conquered the entire trail.

Finally we came to the Chute! This was one of the obstacles I remember looking at on the net while planning to come here. I knew this was going to be a grand thing I just didn't know we were going to have a crowd of hecklers while doing the obstacle. We got alot of flack from the stanbyers for being in Liberty's. We didn't have the 35 inch plus tires and a billion mods. But we were determined, had a skilled crew and we were all in Jeeps. One by one we all came down this huge rocky and off camber incline and had no problems. It was a great feeling to know we did that infront of people that dissed us instead of sticking together like you should in the wheeling world. It must just be the way us L.O.S.T. Guys are. We would always be the first to help and the last to ever diss or just pass by someone that needs help because of what they drive. If I had one of those big foam flying middle finger things you see at football games, I would have loved to have it hanging from my antenna so they could see how I felt about their nonsense. They way we proudly passed them buy and wheeled on was even a better feeling than that.

For the next few miles the trail was incredible it just kept getting harder and crazier, but nothing was going to stop us.
We came down and went up some insane obstacles. Still with no problems. Then we came to the end!!! It was one of the most spectacualr sights I had ever seen. It was well worth the effort and chance of getting just to see the site of Hole In The Rock!!! This trail played out like a well written novel. It started out mystifying and got suspense full, captivating and built up to a grand ending. This is definitely the hardest, the most adventurous and greatest fourwheeling trip I have ever had!!!

Shortly after we were at the end two large Rubicons came down to the end and saw us all lined up for lunch and a photo shoot.
You should have seen their faces. They look as amazed to see us there as they were amazed to see the beauty that surrounded us. Awhile after they left it was time to do this in reverse! We had to do everything we just did but the other way. Back when I was reading the reports on the net and looking at the photos of this trail, I remember thinking we would take bypasses on the more extreme stuff. There are none and after what these guys just had me do, I wouldn't take one if I saw it. We went back over everything even better and faster than we came in. When we got back to the Chute(which I was worried about going back up it) we went up it like a bunch of Billy goats. Not one tire spin. Just right up it. when we got to the decent off of Grey mesa we did have a guy get a flat tire and another do a backwards wheelie on a nasty incline. At one point we were going up a ledge obstacle that was such an incline that our spare tires on the back of the Jeeps would touch the ground. Five wheeling was a first for me too! But still nothing was stopping us!

We were back to camp and in about half the time it took us to get from there to the end of the trail. It was amazing I could not believe what we just did and the great feeling it had given me. I relived all the moments of the two days and remembered
the photos on the net and told myself, Yep I did that and yep I did that. It was awesome!!! We stayed up late that night looking at photos and movies we took on the trip and had a great time laughing and reliving what we had done. This was truly outstanding!

The next morning three of us had to leave and the other were going on to Moab later in the day. I was kind of worried about this because I had a new leader, Dan (aka Roachman3700). He had run tailgunner the whole time and I had never wheeled with him before this. I should have known his driving and leader skills were excellent. He got the three of us out in just under two hours. The only mishap that happened was me again! On the same obstacle I about wrecked on the first day, I got a bit to paranoid and went to far to the other side and ended up scuffing my bumper up pretty good. It bothered me a tad at first but then I realized I would do that to my bumper a billion times to experience that trail again. Like I stated earlier this was the most Grand wheeling trip I have ever had. It had it all, the beauty, the crazy wheeling and the best people to tackle this feat with. We conquered it with unity, determination, skill and our Libertys!!! You can't beat that!!!
2002 Liberty Sport Classic - RRO Combo 2.25" lift & Rock Rails, 32" BFG Mud Terrain T/A's.. Boulder Bars tranny skid.
..Get In..Sit Down..Shut Up..& Hang On..
my website:
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Joined: 03 Jul 2004
Location: I'm the Charlie Browniest

PostPosted: Fri Jul 09, 2004 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Man thanks for sharing your story, that rocks!! Only in a Jeep!! Pics were awesome!! That looks like a great place to wheel. Mr. Green
"GODZILLA" More than a Jeep, it's family!!
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