This isn't about a climb it's about getting to the climb.
I was planning on doing Crestone Peak and Needle in one long day, driving out from Colorado Springs around 3:00 am and be on the trail by 6:00. When I woke up light was streaming in my window (first sign, I missed my departure time). When I looked at the digital clock that was supposed to wake me up it was blinking back at me. The power went out reseting my clock and alarm.
Since I already made arrangements to get the day off work, I wasn't going to waste it moaping around the house complaining about missing a day of climbing. With a fast pace I thought I could knock out either the peak or the needle. So off I go to the trailhead. An attempt is better than nothing.
I pull off the highway onto the paved side road. I follow the paved side road about 2 miles where it turns into a dirt road. I follow the dirt road for about 2 miles before I have to put my Cherokee into 4WD. After a few sections of 4L and 4 more miles I pull into the trail head. Just as I get to the trailhead my car starts pulling to the left. "Uh oh, this can't be good" I think.
I get out and inspect the tires. Sure enough the front drivers side tire is flat. I decide to change the tire before I hit the trail because I know how tired I'll be when I get back. So I pull out the temporary spare and throw it on. I lower the car down with summit visions dancing in my head. The spare holds the weight for about 2 seconds when I hear, "Ssssssssss" and the spare goes flat.
Now what? I didn't pass any vehicles along the road, there are no vehicles at the trailhead, it's 9:00 in the morning so I doubt anyone will be coming to the trailhead today. I'm up that infamous road without a tire, so to speak.
Options, 1. roll the tire down the road 8 miles and try to get a ride at the highway into town and then figure a way back to my car or 2. drive down on the spare totally destroying it and potentially causing other damage to the Cherokee. Option 2 would definitely be faster. The climbing gears in my head start speaking, louder than most common sense, climb Humbolt in stead and you'll be back to the car in time to get off the mountain and into town for a new tire.
So I sprint up Humbolt and make it back to the car in about 5 hours. Now the adventure begins. I start the descent doing my best to keep the left side of the car in the dirt along the side of the road and away from rocks. I put the Cherokee in 4L and idle down the mountain. Amazingly I scape bottom fewer times on the way down than on the way up.
Long story short, it took an hour and a half to cover the 6 miles to the dirt road. By the time I'm driving on the pavement rubber is flying off the rim like mud and the rim is grinding on the pavement. I'm making so much noise that cows along the side of the road stop eating and watch me go by. By the time I reach the highway the cross section of the rim is flat. The first guy going past on the highway gives me a ride to town where I get a new tire. The garage owner gives me a ride back to my car. (Speaks volumes for the people of Colorado) Once I get my vehicle back to town I get three more new tires and a full size spare. And the Cherokee is none the worse for wear.
That's my misadventure. Any others?
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I'm thinking 'bout getting an XJ-Cherokee. I really liked this story as it sorta sums up the Jeep aura for me. (hey, ya gotta have an excuse for 15 mpg.) What year of Cherokee do you have? Any other crazy experiences with it?
"I would rather be in the mountains thinking about God than in church thinking about the mountains."
My Cherokee is a 96 with 110K. Other than tires, oil, brake pads and a serpantine belt I haven't had to replace anything. My climbing buddies and I have found that a Jeep will go farther and do better than nearly every other SUV on difficult 4WD roads. I've been nothing but pleased with it and will be sad to part with it when I move to Spain this summer.
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