Kremmling Rock Crawl 2003 ...

Here are some pictures of the annual Kremmling rock crawling competition held here in Colorado for two days in late June. Sorry, no Mitsubishi Monteros or Montero Sports in these pics.;-) Unfortunately, I couldn't make it for the 'semi-stock' unmodified vehicles. The following pics are of the 'run what you brought' class. Figured I'd post a few to keep us lowly Mitsubishi owners in our place!:-)

Before ya'all start saying 'Why, my 91 Mitsubishi Montero Super Grocery Getter of the Gods could do that! Easy!!!' I'd like to point out that those rocks are a LOT bigger and the incline a LOT steeper then it looks! None of the pictures show vehicles with less than a 35" tire. All the vehicles are locked front and rear with something - ARBs, Detroits, spools. REAL lockers, I might add, not TrueTracs. And ALL the vehicles are running REAL transfer cases. Or in some, multiple REAL transfer cases.

Almost every vehicle I've ever seen on the trail was represented. Toyota, Ford, Chevy, Jeep, 'Zuki. Old and new. In so many states of modification I couldn't begin to count them all. Got to see some interesting acrobatics. Couple roll-overs. One major part break. Its kind of like watching NASCAR run in slow motion. Realllly slow motion!:-)

The event could also be viewed as a giant open air class room if you're in the process of building or getting ideas to build a good off road vehicle. For instance, you can see first hand in Technicolor and THX Sound what happens when A) you have TOO MUCH articulation, B) you have too much suspension flex - not to be confused with articulation - C) you picked the 'cool' tires they recommended in that off-road magazine that shows nothing but chromed F350s with 40" ties on pavement or D) your spotter is trying to kill you.

Too much articulation is just as bad as too little articulation. Watching some of these vehicles try to crawl up a bunch of rocks only to drop a tire in a hole and bring the entire rig to a crashing, jolting halt is something to see. As long as its not your vehicle. 30" of travel may look cool, but .... And, people wonder why I have lockers front and rear and limiting straps.

Too much suspension flex. Too much suspension flex is when you're rear axle is pointing one direction and the rest of the vehicle is pointing another direction. Usually a problem in some of these wierd wishbone, 3 link suspensions with LOTS of gearing, big tires and LOTS of gearing. Entertaining but scary! Incidentally, this problem stems from insane attempts at achieving A).

Tires. Sigh. There are days when you just want to find a tall ladder, climb up to the cab, grab the driver and SLAP the living daylights out of 'em! BFG ATs work great on slick rock, but suck in sand, gravel, dirt, mud, snow, water, or anything that isn't a big slab of slick rock. Interco TSLs may be sticky but those big lugs suck in sand and loose dirt - i.e.. Kremmling - and will dig you into a hole faster then you can stomp the brake and they ALSO suck when the rocks you're trying to crawl over are covered in sand and loose dirt. Those big lugs won't grip if there's a layer of sand between the tread and the rock. Siping would help as well as smaller and more lugs. In other words, not TSLs. Airing down the tires would help, too. One or two drivers seem to have missed that. Then there were the drivers that DID air down but because the vehicle is so light and the sidewalls on some tires are so stiff it did no or almost no good. Hellllooooo people! Puncture proof sidewalls are nice but don't do a lot of good if you can't get over the rock.

My spotter always SWEARS I'm trying to kill him. In an interesting turn of events I got to see SPOTTERS trying to kill DRIVERS. Or, at least, that's sure what it looked like! The directions from some spotters were totally incomprehensible. Or, in several cases totally unheard because they were busy standing behind a screaming V8 exhaust pipe in the driver's blind spot. But, only one spotter managed to turn his driver and vehicle completely sideways, pointing completely off the course. The crowd had several interesting theories and a few graphic suggestions for the driver regarding his spotter and his spotter's abilities or lack there of. Spotting is every bit as important as driving. Something drivers forget. And, drivers do not have x-ray vision and bionic hearing. Something spotters forget. Something else that I noticed. Most spotters appeared to have never driven the vehicle they were spotting for and had no idea how it behaved. Therefore they didn't really know what to tell or how to direct the driver. Equally so, it was obvious in one or two cases that the driver had never seen the outside of his vehicle while it was moving and didn't exactly know where things were or how it behaved from a 3rd party view. Something that is occasionally helpful.

That all said, there were some very professional teams there that made the day one to remember. Remember to bring the sunblock. Remember to bring a hat. Remember to bring more memory sticks and batteries!!! ARG!!!!!!! To all those who participated, thumbs up! I saw some impressive driving and impressive rigs! Can't wait for next year! Mmmmmmm. Wonder if the new 2.85 gears will let me make it over that one rock??