UNIMOG Colorado
Rocky Mountain Moggers
RMM Trip Report

January 29th - 30th, 2000 - Mt. Herman Road, Rampart Range area, Colorado

Trip report, Rampart Range camping and trailride:

Jim Viets   712M 6x6 Pinzgauer
Al Fink   710M Pinzgauer
Peter Kula   710M Pinzgauer
Bob Fisher   710M Pinzgauer
Marc Lomax   710M Pinzgauer
Doug Lomax   710M Pinzgauer
Marc Cerda   710M Pinzgauer
Per Eliasen   710K Pinzgauer
Michael   Jeep Wagoneer
Mike   Jeep Wagoneer
Duane Russell, Larry Young   Unimog 404 radio truck
Bob Ragain and Kitty   Unimog 404 radio truck
Dan D. and Ron D. both had planned on coming along but had to drop out.

Trip report:

This trip was planned by the Rocky Mountain Pinzgauer group to get the Pinzy and Mog bunch together for a real winter campout. There is significant snow in the mountains so driving and camping would be challenging.

Our group gathered as we headed south out of Denver. The first group met at Sedalia at 1000, Duane and Larry joined us at Jackson Creek Road, then more Pinzy's joined us in Palmer Lake. Thanks to everyone's promptness we stayed on schedule even with a large number of vehicles.

We could not get into the Rampart Range area from the northern entrances due to National Forest Service's locked gates on Rampart Range Road, Jackson Creek Road, and Dakan Road. I had checked that out the week before. The NFS closes the gates "so they won't be bothered by people getting stuck and calling for help "(according to one Ranger I talked to last summer). Of course when people get back in the forest, get stuck, and freeze to death that's bad, too! That happened about 3 years ago in the very area we were going to camp in.

Our route was Red Rock Ranch Road off of Hwy 105, then to Mt. Herman Road into the mountains. MHR is a non-maintained rocky road that goes up the side of the mountain west of Palmer Lake and Monument, CO. The lower elevation part of Mt. Herman Road had had a few vehicles up it ahead of us that morning. Those vehicles had broken tracks through the new snow, or, maybe "over" the snow. There were signs of high speed blasting across the snow with wide tires, with the remnants of the roostertails displayed 3 ft to both sides of the tracks. I tried that with the Unimog radio truck but when I pressed the accelerator the truck said "huh?"

In the lower area the snow was just 6 inches or slightly more. The most recent loose snow was over the top of older snow, and ice with ruts. The Unimogs were just slightly wider than the original tracks and Hammog kept bouncing back and fourth as first one front wheel, then the other, found the botton of an old rut.

About half way up the mountain, the snow was up to 10 to 12 inches deep in most places, with 18 inches or more in some drifted locations.

In one deep area, Michael in his Wagoneer pulled over to let a Jeep pass (not in our group) and ended up in a snowbank maybe 20 inches deep. Snow packed up under the Wagoneer and he was going nowhere. The Jeeper made a U-turn and used his winch to pull Michael back on the road by going through a block strapped to a tree on the opposite side of the road. That was a nice gesture from the Jeeper, and he seemed to thoroughly enjoy using his Warn electric winch and accessories.

The worst place we found had a combination of 12 to 18 inches of snow on top of an ice flow, in a sharp corner, with a downhill slope toward a deep gully. After sliding sideways down the hill toward the gully for about 4 ft it was time to get out and look over the situation. When the tires tried to pull forward they could only slide down the ice. The 'mog got out ok under it's own power after front chains were put on. Duane and Larry also chained up their 'mog, as did several Pinzy's. With chains on there were no more 'bad spots'.

That one bad spot where the Unimog radio truck initially had problems (due to weight and slow speed) was traversed quite easily by the Pinzgauers, especially the 6x6, which made it look so easy. They were able to stay on top of much of the snow, skirt the icy spot and keep up speed around the outer edge. Of course that was after we knew where the ice was and had shoveled quite a path through the deepest snow. Sure would like to have seen this spot navigated by a Pinzgauer before the Unimogs hit it.

The following hill required numerous repeated attempts by several trucks, and a tug with a strap for at least one Wagoneer. Getting the Wagoneer unstuck again and up the hill required a pull by two Pinzy's, including the 6x6, strapped together in tandem. One Pinzgauer couldn't move the Wagoneer.

The pair of big Jeep Wagoneers (mid 80's jumbo size) decided to turn around before we reached the top. They had been dragging diffs and other anatomy for a while, and had to be towed a few times. Nice trucks, but the snow was just too deep without portal axles. Several Pinzy's turned around at that time, too, mostly due to time restraints, not difficulty with the trail.

We passed one full sized pickup truck that had slid off the road and headed down an embankment. This can happen if speed is the only way to get across deep snow. The mishap must have happened the night before because there was no one around, and there was fresh snow on the windshield. It was obvious that they had made considerable effort to pull it out with another vehicle. There were several sets of tracks in the road, and their pulling chain was still attached to the rear bumper and laying across the road. This would have been a good opportunity to tug them out, if there had been someone there. The idea of pulling them out anyway, and leaving the truck up on the road, occurred to us. What a surprise that would be to them when they returned. But then we considered what the consequences would have been if we pulled their bumper off, or worse! We left the truck where it was.

The remainder of the trip went well, but it was getting really cold. We reached the intersection of Mt. Herman Road at Rampart Range Road by late afternoon and decided to pitch camp. That's at 39 03.3 N and 105 01.1 W for any map and GPS tracker types. Elevation was a little over 9000 ft. This is the most-used intersection on either of these roads yet only one other vehicle came by for the remainder of the afternoon, and until we departed the next morning.

For all you ham Unimoggers, 20 meters was lots of fun Saturday evening, then 80 meters for Saturday night and Sunday morning. I used a Kenwood TS-120 transceiver, an RF Communications tuner, and the MIL AB-15 with MS-116 thru 118 whip antenna mounted in an antenna port on the box. An additional 50 ft length of wire was clipped on for 80 meters. There were at least two other hams along, Mark N0JWD, and Doug KA0YAU.

The temperature dropped into the teens just shortly after the sun went down. Some of the guys got a big fire going and it was comfortable standing around it. We had shoveled walkways between the trucks, so getting around to visit each other was convenient.

The outside thermometer had dropped to +2 degrees F by 830 PM when Kitty and I decided to hit the sack. About 1030 the Radio Box's Eberspacher heater shut down and I didn't want to get dressed to go out and restart it. By midnight it was darned cold even in the radio box, but we survived ok under 5 blankets!

Camping in a foot of snow with temps going below zero was kind of fun...with the radio box. As we ate supper at 65 degrees in the radiobox, I really felt sorry for you other guys in Pinzgauers and tents! J Eat your hearts out!

We woke up at sunup to the sound of Pinzgauers running. It must have felt really cold in the tents and rear of the Pinzgauers! Several of the remaining Pinzy people started them to warm up. The 6x6 was a little tempermental but it started just as a jump start was being considered.

HamMog started on the second or third push of the key. The synthetic motor oil probably helped it turn over easily.

Kitty and I cooked breakfast. Several of the others had one thing in mind: getting to town for something to eat, and a restroom :-) Just try taking "a trip to the woods" in up to 24 inches of drifted snow!

Great idea! I pulled my chains off and we all headed for Woodland Park. The remainder of the day would have been driving north on Rampart Range Road, but we could not have taken the side roads I had in mind. There was simply too much hazard from steep downhills and side slopes. There have been ice flows on one of those trails late into the summer.

The trip into Woodland Park was nice, but it was a short 6 miles downhill drive with no challenges except the snow. Kitty and I in the HamMog Funkwagon separated from the Pinzy's when we got to the outskirts of town, and we cut across to Hwy 67 and headed north.

The drive up Hwy 67 between the foothills was really beautiful. The South Platte River was just getting frozen over, and most of the trees were snow and ice covered. A winter wonderland!

The Pinzy's caught up with us and passed before we reached Deckers, CO.

That drive up Hwy 67 and across through Sprucewood to Sedalia was a beautiful drive in the morning sunshine. We passed the Pinzy's again in Sedalia where they had stopped at the general store, so we didn't make bad time coming across the foothills in the 'mog.

We all agreed that this is a really nice area to go wheeling. We must come back to this area again.

This was another fun trip for the Rocky Mountain Pinzy's and Moggers.
Where were you other Unimoggers?!?! We don't want to have all the fun!

-Bob Ragain

Go back to the December 26th, 1999 RMM Outing, Mt Evans Expedition #3, Colorado trip report Go to the Web Site Map Go forward to the February 26th, 2000 RMM Outing, west of Central City trip report
Copyright © 2003 Last modified Saturday, February 05, 2005 02:12:03
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