Moab 2007


This year was for some of us our fourth trip to Moab, for several others it was their first – irrespective of that we all had a fantastic time. Once again we met up with Jake from Idaho whom we had met in 2002 on our first trip to Moab. Jake brought along his son Justin for his first taste of rock crawling. This year there were also more of us than any other time. Martin and myself had been on each of the clubs previous trips; we were joined by Steve C, Brian and John P who had been on our last visit. Keith, Steve S, Ron, Steve (stig) brought the numbers up for the Landy club members. We were also joined by UK Jeepers John and Carol Mc Bride and John (capt) Morgan – who we meet at the numerous off road days in the county, became honorary Landie club members for the trip.


April 8th  John, Carol and I met up at the Bowen Motel in the early afternoon. We had been in the states for a few days, John and Carol were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary, and myself – just enjoying a vacation in the states. Jake popped his head into the hotel as well, and we agreed our meeting plan for the following day. The rest of the gang were landing in Las Vegas this afternoon and we would see them sometime this evening – or so we thought! With rain and snow lashing down, a pull over from the Police and an unfortunate ditch incident, It was not until 3am that I finally was able to hand out room keys and we bedded down. At least Zax bar had been open and I’d had a few beers.


April 9th … First task of the day was to pick up our Jeeps. We had rented once more from Cliffhangar Jeep Rental who are based in Moab. The Jeeps were the Rubicon model Wranglers that had been modified with 3-inch suspension lifts, standard, of course are the locking diffs front and rear.


As per each previus trip we were starting with Hells Revenge with Jake riding out front. Before starting off on the trail, we passed the Lions Back. The Lions Back is now closed to vehicles, indeed a sign makes clear that all trespassers will be heavily fined, so that is one obstacle that will not be tackled this holiday.

The start of the Hells Revenge trail gets you in the mood for the rest of the trail. You immediately climb a slick rock fin that is about 6 feet wide. After climbing on and turning sharply left, the “fin” raises to about 40 feet in height – with the drop off to each side quite close, ah! The hols have started!! Water on the trail from last nights storm leave us testing the depth with sticks and one is avoided when the stick sinks out of sight. 

 As always, we had our Charles Wells Moab guide to hand

 At the top of Moab Rim Trail – looking West to the La Sal Mountains

The selection of Slick Rock that follows will remain with me for a long time, you just cannot imagine. The angles on some of the drop offs and climbs make the cars appear as if they will topple – fortunately none of them do. As an offshoot to the main trail, there is a spur which we take to see an overhang of the Colorado and the 128 road with what appear to be match box size cars. TipOver challenge is an aptly named obstacle that we approach with care. A little side play on some of the unnamed obstacles ruffles some feathers, but all ends well. The trail ends in a sandy section and another view of the Lions Back



Later that day we headed out on Kane Creek road to tackle the Moab Rim Trail.

Moab Rim is an excellent trail where the start is up the side of steep and tilting rock strata. We soon hit a major obstacle called Devil’s Crack, which as well as a rock climb, a hard right turn and is also perched precariously on a piece of rock hanging in mid air over the Colorado River. Just beyond Devil’s Crack are several other steep ledges to be climbed.


Once at the top of the trail, the views over Moab are fantastic. It’s a gorgeous day and any thoughts of the rain that was lashing down last night have been long gone, with any hint that it may have spoilt our enjoyment banished. After pausing for more photos than I could count and posing sitting on the edge of the cliff we headed further along the trail, I was very conscious of the time it was taking us! The novel thing about this trail is that there is a huge cavern that on a previous occasion we had parked the Jeeps in – None of that was possible this time with large signposts forbidding entry. We did however walk up to the point and the sofa that we had seen before was still there, why on earth anyone had done that I do not know! In the Picture on the right you can just see Keith sitting in the chair whilst we al look on. After several failed attempts at the steep sand bank just to the side of this cavern, we took the easy route out. The sun was settling low on the Horizon now and we had only just started our return. By the time the last Jeep had hit the return rock slope it was dark! The descent was slow. The drivers needing headlights to see the spotters, the spotters being blinded by the lights. Eventually we were all down, and we arranged to meet up at the Moab Brewery for food later that night. Earlier in the day I had taken this shot of a UK Landy that had been shipped over for a holiday, its UK Tax disk clearly on display.

April 10th …The first time we attempted Cliff Hangar Trail, a section of the route along a narrow ledge, contained a section that was barely passable. Marginally wider than the Jeep, it could only be described as a set of boulders. Add in that to set of boulders, that to the left of the ledge was a 1000 foot drop off and that the angle of the car gets around 40 degrees tipping towards the cliff gives you some idea of what was required. That was 5 years ago and more recently work by utilities companies had meant that the last time we had visited, the section was more like paved road.

We approached the trail head with anticipation, what was that section like now! The start the trail had changed somewhat, and we first ensured that we could actually get back out of the trail. It looked very difficult and as this was a trail that had to be driven both ways, the start looked quite foreboding! After proving after all it was possible we headed off. After each turn that the trail took it was strange that we were presented with a new vista. It is nearly impossible to describe the scenery that abounds. After crossing Kane Creek the trail rises over a rocky section and we head up to the obstacle which we thought on our first visit impossible and turned around. Again this section is now merely a ramp, and we headed on up to the ledge. This section is once more tricky! Not so much as in the past but still tipy enough for me to escape the Jeep and travel on my own two feet, I did however drive back over this section which is a first! At the end of this trail is a headland where we rest for lunch. Once again there is the dangling of legs over the edge of the cliff and we bask in the fabulous weather we are enjoying. The end of the trail point has fantastic views of the potash mine, the evaporation ponds low down below, as well as views over to Dead Horse Point.


Fins and Things. In the afternoon, an old favourite of a trail, Fins and Things. Charles Wells describes this trail as a “thrilling drive of steep climbs and heart pounding descents”. Later in the trail the shape of the fins of rock mimic the shape of an old fashioned roller coaster.

April 11th New ground for all of us today! We set out planning to complete the Seven Mile Rim Trail that is located to the North West of Moab. We ended the day in Arches National Park and the Tower Arch Trail.


Seven Mile Rim is a corker of a trail. It starts off easily enough, and the views are again spectacular. We are soon on an overhang overlooking a natural corall, and then it’s a short ride to see Uranium Arch. There is a tricky section into this small diversion, but its navigated with not too much difficulty. John P tries a bit of rock climbing whilst we eat a few sarnies. The next part of the trail leads us to wipeout hill – it’s a “play area” where Brian, John Mc but first capt Morgan descend and then climb some very steep looking obstacles. But first we have to get there! Its slick rock and very tipy! I am surprised that I stay in but I do manage to drive it with only a few clenches here and there! We start to eat food contemplating Wipe Out Hill. Its steep, and if we cannot get back up is there another route out? Capt Morgan jumps in the silver jeep and is first down. John Mc spots him down and its not so hairy as it first appears. The journey back WAS hairy! After a few attempts a strop is fitted to the front, the other end attached to another jeep! John Mc is next down, on the way back up although a strop is attached, it is just a precaution as he drives it well. Brian is last down and it’s a good drive down and back up! We are then treated to a display of quad bike driving down and up the same obstacle! Wow! With no phone coverage we may have been conveying a badly damaged body to hospital! In the end though no broken bones and the quad makes the return journey.

April 12th Poison Spider, Golden Spike, Gold Bar Rim, Gemini Bridges and Bull Canyon are the trails traversed today, that is for the rest of the team. It’s a day off Jeepin’ for me today, and I headed back into Arches National Park to have a further look at this amazing place. I had driven the trails that were being driven today on previous trips. A detailed report will no doubt wing its way from one of the lads to go here.

April 13th When you visit Moab, one of the things you are struck by are the snow capped La Sal mountains in the distance. The trails here are not rated difficult, but also not easy. The views as we wound ourselves up were astounding, and we were soon driving on tracks bordered by snow, across and then on snow itself. It was soon after Jeep number 1 driven by Keith managed to wedge itself into a snowdrift. An hour later we had managed to recover the jeep using cool box lids as shovels and pieces of wood as makeshift waffle boards.


We headed back down the trail, we were not going to make our crossing through to the Geyser pass this way!

View of the La Sal Mountains from the Moab Rim Trail

As we retraced our steps there were several other trails labelled up of these Squaw Trail seemed the most appropriate and so we headed off. This trail was not part of any trail in Charles Wells book, but was in one of the many maps I had bought in Moab. The trail was very much like a green lane in the UK. Through woods, mud and we felt at home! However it did not take long until once again we had to turn back as the trail hit snow and there was no way through to Geyser Pass. Returning this time and we had a puncture. A wooden spike had ruptured the rear tyre of our Jeep, and we had to replace it on trail. Once finished we returned home and picked up a new tyre, however it could not be fitted until the next day. An early day then today, but plans for a full day tomorrow. People made the most of the time in town for a little shopping. Carol, John and capt Morgan had a day off Jeepin’ today – instead they tried their hand at quad bikes and the Chicken Corners trail.

April 14th …Chicken Corners and Lockhart Basin – A long day planned today! The book says that this should take us about 12 hours – we head off at 8:30 am. Much of the trail on the return journey will be on-road, but we head off up Kane Creek, past the start of Moab Rim and Cliffhangar to the start of Chicken Corners trail. This is a moderate level trail with some great scenery. The difficulty is in negotiating some narrow ledges of rock which seem to hang over the valleys below, once they are negotiated the scenery is stunning. Halfway along the Chicken Corners Trail we turn Left onto the Lockhart Basin trail. The trail is difficult to locate and we make a few early mistakes. Once found, the early part of this trail is very tough! The trail is up a narrowing canyon that eventually we have to climb out of. It’s a shorts and T-shirt today after the snow of yesterday. We are not fazed by the plastic snake that John Mc Bride throws in our direction! Once out of the canyon the trail becomes a little easier and we head to our lunch spot where the La Sal mountains are visible to the East, Canyonlands Needles to the South and the Islands in the Sky Mesa to the West. There are several comments about the gorgeous Sushi I had picked up for lunch, mostly in the negative and about what alternatives people would rather.

With the majority of the trail still ahead of us we packed up our trucks and headed South. The trail from here was not going to be so difficult or so the book led us to believe. Once more the scenery was stunning, the needles ahead of us, large cathedral like walls to our left and right and above a clear blue sky. We passed a few cars driving the trail in reverse and a caravan that had been dumped on the side of the tail, its American flag still waving in the wind. We came to a small step, a slight scrape on the bumper from Martin in front made myself and John following get out to choose a better line. Jumped back in and were about to descend when we heard a load bang. Up ahead Keith had made contact between the Jeep and a rocky ledge below. What followed next can only be described as being between scrap heap challenge and a fairground. Keith throwing stones at targets on the nearby cliffs whilst Martin, John Mc, Steve C put into operation a cunning plan. With the rear prop shaft sheared off at the uv joint, and no spanners to remove the offending broken prop we scrounged for "bits". A plastic bottle, large shackle, jack handle, a few plastic ties were all that were needed to stop the prop thrashing around - A pic will be posted soon! With no rear drive I had to tow the car over the remaining obstacles until the road became easier. John and Carol along with capt. Morgan headed off to organise some spare parts and the rest of us trundled slowly through the rest of the trail – that goodness we were passed any major obstacles. After hitting the highway Martin and Keith were able to manage in front wheel drive and we all headed back to Moab – 70 miles. We arrived in Moab to find that no parts had been purchased – but we had found help that we would make use of the next day in doing the repairs.

April 15th …The day started off early with Martin, Steve C and John Mc repairing the Jeep. Thanks to new found friends at xxxx this was accomplished in no time and we headed off out of town to find the Steel Bender Trail.

This trail can certainly live up to its name and we had already found out that the Jeep rental company had a jeep left out on the trail overnight that needed to be fixed. The natter on the radios that connected the cars was constant, we ad all enjoyed our time and did not want the hols to end. Today we treated the Jeeps with kid gloves. At the start of the trail there are several water crossings and then a section of slick rock with some nasty climbs. We navigated these with ease as once again it was a nice sunny day and not a sign of rain. We encounter a major obstacle at 3.6 miles into the trail. Martin elects the tricky right hand side route that we had negotiated in the past. Down safely he with me spotting negotiated the equally tricky section that followed. Safely down we heard shouts from above. John McBride had elected what to some of us did appear to be the easier route down the initial obstacle. Unfortunately a slightly offline approach meant that he now had a few people hanging off his rear bumper and he was perched dangerously and appearing to want to tip over. A strop attaching his vehicle to another hastily brought up from the rear allowed a safe navigation. The remaining Jeeps took the right hand line and all ended up safe at the bottom. A rest at the bottom saw us all settle nerves. We avoided the Dragons Tail and headed onwards to a series of climbs. Again we take the easy option and then stop to help the Rental companies mechanics repair the Jeep that had been left on the trail all night. Working his magic with improvised, capt Morgan managed to extract part of a halfshaft embedded in the diff after the shaft had snapped. Onwards then to the end of the trail which in itself has several more drop offs from ledges and a few scary tip over sections. A final river crossing and steep rock climb out brought us to the over look of Kens Lake and the small waterfall above. The last trail of the holls done we headed into town. Once Jeeps were returned, there was time for some last minute shopping after which we set out to return the Jeeps. Apart from the new tyre, all Jeeps were returned in as good or better condition than we had taken them out. It was a meal at the steak house again to end the holidays.

April 16th Its 4a.m. The road cars loaded up, I waved the guys off on their way back to Las Vegas and their Flight home, lets hope there is no repeat of the troubles on the way in. The rain was however once again lashing down and there was a small amount of flooding outside the motel, how lucky we had been to have not seen any whilst we were out on the trails. I returned to bed to get a few hours sleep. In the morning after bidding farewell to John and Carol, who were also enjoying an extended visit stateside, I drove to the Grand Canyon..

Once again thanks to Jake for trail blazing and spotting us through the trails, it was good to see you and Justin. Thanks to Martin who took over those duties when Jake headed for home, and thanks to the rest of the gang who made this a most enjoyable trip.


Moab 2008? Well it looks like it will not happen, however the Rubicon Trail in California in 2009 is a probability.