Aaron (from the University)
Kent Drummond - 1963 Unimog 404.115
Ron DePugh - 1963 Unimog 404.115
Andy Gerster - 1972 Unimog 416 Doka
John Light - 1972 Pinzgauer 710M
Phil Movish - 1974 Pinzgauer 710M
Dr. Bob Stencel
Josh Valentine, Mel and their puppy Maya - Unimog U1300L
This Mt Evans attempt was number 13, and it was certainly not a lucky one! Maybe we should have taken Dr. Bob's suggestion, and not used that number..
The weather forecast was for mild temperatures, and partly cloudy skies, so Dr.Bob gave us the go-ahead for this attempt.
I met up with Kent in Boulder Friday night, and we stopped for a couple of monster burgers, and then we two convoyed on to Mt. Evans. We stopped off in Idaho Springs for fuel, but when I got back in my Mog, it wouldn't start. No power at all, no dash lights, nothing. I fiddled with all of the fuses, and checked the connections on the back of the ignigtion switch, but that didn't help. I went under the Mog and grabbed the main power cable from the battery to the starter and wiggled it, and that did the trick. The Unimog started right up. On the way up the Mt.Evans road, we discovered that I didn't have any tail lights any more, but I got that fixed in the morning by cleaning the fuse contacts more thoroughly..
We got up to the cabin by about 1030pm, and found Andy, Phil and Aaron already there. We sat around the cozy fire swapping stories for a while, and finally called it a night.
The cabin at Echo Lake, Kent's 404 and Andy's 416. We woke up in the morning with (in Kent's words) 6-8 inches of Partly Cloudy.
Getting ready for the attempt. I fixed my fuses while the trucks warmed up.
While we were warming up the trucks, Dr.Bob arrived, as well as John Light and Josh Valentine.
We lined up at the gate, waiting for Dr.Bob to unlock it. The road was almost dry last night when we arrived. Here are Kent's 404, Andy's 416 Doka, John's 710, and Phil's 710.
Dr.Bob opens the gate.
The line forms up.
Dr.Bob and Aaron watch. They are definitely dressed for the weather.
I joined the line.
John gets ready. He is also well dressed for the trip.
Phil has an insulated soft top on his Pinzy, so the snow is still sticking to it.
Ron and Josh's truck finish out the lineup.
John, Ron and Josh's trucks.
All of that snow fell after we arrived last night.
Kent and Josh's trucks.
Josh and Mel brought their puppy along.
Josh and Mel and their U1300L. Check out the ROPS.
This was the view towards Echo Lake. The weather was really starting to move in.
Just starting up the road, the visibility was pretty good, and the snow on the road wasn't too deep, only about 8 inches or so.
The wind started to pick up more as we climbed.
Then the visibility started to drop off as the wind picked up, it started snowing harder and we weren't even above tree line yet.
As we climbed higher along the shelf road, Andy's diff locks weren't working any more, so we used Josh's buddy bar and hooked the U1300L to the 416. The road here has a bit of a side slope to it, and both Unimogs were working their way closer to the edge.
The view of Echo Lake down below, as we started along the shelf road.
Josh tries to pull Andy away from the edge. At this point, Andy's right rear tire was right at the edge of the road.
The wind picked up some more and visibility got pretty bad.
Here is my Mog breaking through a drift on the way up. I was bringing up the end of our convoy.
I pulled my Unimog ahead of the Pinzgauers, and we attached a chain from my front bumper to the rear of Andy's truck to prevent him from going over the edge. Then Josh and Andy were having trouble making any forward progress, so we connected Kent's Unimog to Josh's, and he pulled, too. When that didn't work, we tried it with my Mog strapped to the front of Kent's Mog, but still didn't get much headway. We didn't try chaining up, but then I don't think anyone was exactly thrilled with the idea of chaining up in 4 degree F temperatures with 30 to 40mph winds..
After much shovelling to clear the snow drifts, we continued on up the road.
When we got to a wide dry place in the road, we decided to park Andy's truck since he was having a lot of trouble in the snow with no lockers.
At this point, we ran into the spot where the state trucks had stopped plowing a week before. The snow was much deeper, and had a hard crust. Kent tried, but didn't make much progress trying to break through it. After a lot of trying, we finally decided to call it quits and turn around.
The Pinzgauers waiting for their turn to turn around.
You could only open a window on the downwind side of your truck or you risked getting the interior filled with snow.
Phil waits at the side of the road for his turn to attempt the turnaround.
This was my view down the road after I turned around and started leading the group. The visibility was so poor that at times I had to look at the edge of the road next to me to tell where the road was, since I couldn't tell by looking forward..
John making the turn-around attempt. The drifts were getting much deeper, making it harder to get back down the road than it was getting up.
Kent and Andy lend a hand at the turnaround.
As I was leading the way back down, we found that the wheel tracks that we had made on the way up had been entirely filled with snow, and the drifts were getting even deeper. I had to turn around at one point, and go back up the road to pull out one of the Pinzgauers that was stuck in a very deep drift. We ran out the winch cable, and I had him going quickly. A winch sure beats digging out of a snow drift.
We stopped here for a break. We had reached a low enough altitude that the weather was much nicer.
It was very pleasant stopping here in the sun.
We stopped and warmed up a bit before continuing down the mountain, and discussed the attempt.
You can tell by the shape of all the trees here that the high winds are a common occurance.
All of the trucks made it back down with no damage.
You can tell by John's coat that some of the blowing snow got into his truck. We all had issues with snow infiltration.. I had snow drifts in mine, too. Wind blown snow like that will certainly show you any drafty places in your truck.
After we got to the bottom, had lunch in the cabin and talked for a while, we all decided to leave. On the way up the driveway to the road, we found one of the University guys had stuck his snowplow truck in the ditch. I offered to pull him out, and as I tried to drive around him, I found out that what looked like a shallow ditch on the other side of the road was pretty deep, too.
So, we pulled out the winch cable, wrapped a strap around a tree, and with Kent's snatch block, hooked on to the hitch on the pickup..
and hauled the plow truck out of the ditch.
With the plow truck out of the way, we moved the strap to a tree across the road..
and winched the Mog out of the ditch.
This Mt. Evans attempt was an adventure, with lots of challenges from the weather and road conditions. We are already planning the Mt.Evans attempt #14, for Halloween weekend, 2006. See ya there!
Map of Mt. Evans attempt #13. Click on the map for a large map.
Thanks to Kent Drummond, Ron DePugh, Phil Movish and John Light for the photos.
v2.3 Last modified Thursday, November 17, 2005 00:39:14
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