Colorado 2018 Hammerdown Trail Week

Colorado 2018 Hammer down tour of Southern Colorado trails.

Troublemaker Brad Schultz and I drove 1,050 miles non stop to Silverthorne which is close to Breckenridge, Colorado.

Each day we were up before or around 6:00am to beat the Denver crowds which never materialized. Chowed down on an excellent complimentary breakfast, grabbed a couple of the complimentary lunch to-go bags and we were off wheeling non-stop until around 4-5 every day.

On the first day we heard “the noise” that turned out to be the Rzeppa joint disintegrating on the front driveshaft where it connects to the transfer case. The local Jeep dealer wanted over $1,000.00 for the part but Brad found a used complete shaft from a takeout at one of the local 4X4 shops called Specialized Truck and SUV in Frisco, CO. Great bunch of guys!!. Brad and a little help from yours truly got it installed in less than an hour.

We used the third edition of Fun Treks Guide to Colorado Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails exclusively, and also used their $56.00 I-Phone GPS app that contained GPX files of every trail in all of their books. It also gave driving instructions to all the trail heads and trail ends. Damn useful book and App!!

Being flatlanders we sucked air all week at anything above 643 foot so no rock stacking for us. 

We completed in no particular order, Shrine Pass, Slide Lake, Wurts Ditch, No Name Gulch, Mosquito Pass with an excellent side trip to the local mines and museum in downtown Leadville. We completed Argentine Pass and McClellan Mountain with a side trip to Santiago Mine which was closed despite the sign saying the restoration was complete. We ran into some locals on a tricky narrow shelf road that decided they weren’t going to pull over onto any of the 3 passing areas so we had to back up the trail for just about a quarter mile. We climbed Keystone Gulch, Sante Fe Peak which really got our attention with big rocks on the very narrow and off camber shelf road at the very top. Deer Creek, Saints John trail, North & Middle Fork of the Swan River, Red Cone which had magnificent views and great trail system, but the so called scary downhill to Webster Pass was overly hyped up and a bit of a let down. Half of Webster Pass, Georgia Pass and a side trip to across Glacier Peak to get to the also hyped 150 yard hill called either SOB Hill or Number 10 Hill. This hill required good tyre placement and a little spotting for the first 50 yards but the rest was just a gravity affair. Going up would be a different story and would demand lockers at both ends. If wet I think there could well be breakage. There was an abandoned Polaris Razer at the top of the hill. Lastly we did Boreas Pass which although a two wheel drive road was interesting as it was an old railroad line. 

Traversing the switchbacks on McLellan Mountain was amazing as at one time this was also a railroad line and once upon a time had the highest altitude post office in the USA at the top. The switchbacks were definitely harder to get around than Black Bear Pass down in the San Juans.

It was a great trip in The AEV JK350, she held up well, probably better than us. After bouncing around for 8 hours a day for five days standing and walking was a bit like trying to stand in a canoe on a windy lake. It takes awhile to find your land legs as we were not to keen to walk much in the higher altitudes. 

Thanks Brad for coming along and sharing the ride, the driving and the repair.

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Looking back at the trail heading up to Red Cone

Red Cone Summit

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First day repairs of the front driveshaft

Drop off on Santa Fe Peak - Not much room for error

Santa Fe Peak Shelf Road at over 13,000 feet

No sudden right turns allowed!!! Shelf roads at 13,000 feet

Plane crash on Mosquito Pass

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Plane crash on Mosquito Pass

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Heading down to Leadville on Mosquito Pass

Nor something you see everyday

Don’t get out of the Jeep

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There was once a Post Office right Here

McClellan Mountain Peak

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This trail was once a railroad

Cruising through the Aspens

Idiots trashing the mountainside

and this is what happens

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SOB Hill (Number 10 Hill)

SOB Hill (Number 10 Hill)

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No idea what this sign is meant to indicate but it was the last trail of the last day so seamed appropriate

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