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Thread: Red Elephant Hill, Mill Creek, Bill Moore Lake - 10/16

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    Default Red Elephant Hill, Mill Creek, Bill Moore Lake - 10/16



    If anyone has noticed - this thread has disappeared / reappeared two or three times today. An oddity with the forum is happening. When I edit the first post, line breaks are stripped (text ends up as one large blob).
    ==============

    I'll kick things off ( it appears Tom's home chomping at the bit for run reports - ;-) )

    We met on the side of the road near the trailhead - a good spot to meet. I don't recall more than one or two cars passing by - a low traffic location. Hugh was there when I rolled up at 9:01am and Schmitty arrived a few minutes later. I recall hitting the trail at 9:30a. A nice BLUE SKY day.

    Three or four jeeps entered the trail ahead of us and we didn't see them again, one side-by-side passed us early, before the difficult parts - passing us later in the day to head out

    The Red Elephant uphill was more difficult than I remembered. There were two areas of interest and we looked at the routes - taking our time (about 30 minutes for each of the difficult sections). We were up top, at the campsite / vista point at 11:31am.

    Mill Creek had some snow which led to a few side slips in shelf-ish areas for some pucker factor (lots of downhill trees for protection). The creek crossings had some ice.

    The Empire Hilton (arrived at 1:04pm) looked somewhat / occasionally occupied. It was sporting a solar charged LED motion detection flood light above the door and some LED string lights across the main beam inside. The bunk beds at the far end are gone. Some roofing work has been tended (new screws visible in the roof inside).

    A couple pickups were encountered at the second creek crossing but they were not seen again. A couple vehicles were seen on an option route to Bill Moore and they were seen as we aired up at the end of the day. While traffic was light - we were held up by one vehicle.

    We made the lake at 2:39pm. Schmitty and Hugh drove on the poser rock and I took photos. We went to the lake (frozen), not much wind, for some photos. One huge bonus - NO MOSQUITOES!!! Yea!

    As we came back from the lake another jeep was in the lot. Three guys out looking around. All of us headed out (3 + 1) at 3:00pm with our group in the lead.

    The long descent down to the lake…. it's on a north face and had packed snow. One track (outside if I recall, more sun) looked reasonably clear and I had the thinking as I was coming down - I'll toss on the lockers to get the wheel with traction to get me up the slope. Schmitty went first while Hugh and I hung back. All of us made it up the first pitch with Hugh and I parking on the flat area after the first pitch. Schmitty kept moving and made it up about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way up the second pitch.

    Rejected, the three of us backed down to the bottom - a good area to recoup as it was wide enough for easy passing and parking. The solo jeep waited at that base for us. We said to them - give it a try - and they did - and were rejected at the first pitch (tires at street pressure). Hugh thought he'd be able to make it - and he did - up to the top.

    The three of us had radios and the solo jeep had a CB, which I also had. The four of us could easily talk. I connected a tow strap (kinetic rope) to Schmitty and thought we'd make it together - nope. About the same spot he was rejected, we were too (yes lockers enabled - though I need to check actuation for the front - I saw the LF tire not spinning when it should have been). He and I backed down to the intermediate spot where I'd toss on a set of chains (front axle, under the weight of the motor). Hugh, parked up top, walked down to me installing chains.

    About the time we went to drive up, we noticed a white toyota pickup coming down the trail. Hugh walked back up to tell them the deal. It appears the white pickup was part of a four or five vehicle party that wanted to get to the lake.

    Knowing three vehicles were trying to get up, they started to winch the white pickup up the trail and I said - it's going to be a while - I might as well toss on the second set of chains. Yes, it was a while before the white pickup was moved. With four chains on, connected to Schmitty, we 4-lo crawled up the trail to near the white pickup - and we waited another couple minutes. Getting moving again, on the upslope, was no issue with good traction.

    Up top I radio'd to the solo jeep that I was coming down forward and would need to turn around. They were at the base and when I got there (this hill event started an hour+ earlier) I said 'we'll be at the top in three minutes - and we were. The chains were the ticket.

    The solo jeep had aired down after their first attempt and after getting to the top they thought they might have been able to make it solo - perhaps. Up from the hill at 4:56pm and past the folks wishing to get to the lake late in the day, we made quick work of getting down to Empire. We were off the trail just before sunset.

    The gent driving the solo jeep invited us for drinks so we met in Idaho Springs and enjoyed some conversation for a bit (Thanks!). Overall, a quite enjoyable day.

    My comment from the planning thread:


    Jim previously posted:
    "I'll toss in the tire chains - just to ensure they won't be needed."

    Ha!

  2. The Following 3 Members Say Thanks to Jim For This Post:

    open_circuit (October 18th, 2021),rckymtnt4r (October 18th, 2021),Tom (October 18th, 2021)

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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Mill Creek, Bill Moore Lake - 10/16



    Wow, sounds like a great run with some nice adventure too.

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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Mill Creek, Bill Moore Lake - 10/16



    It was a fun day leading the charge. The obstacles on REH getting up to the saddle were eye-opening but a welcomed challenge.

    Driving the open-diff on 31s TJ up this section was a bit challenging as the belly and rear skid wanted to catch rocks. The slightly wet rocks and leaves added to the challenge. Major thanks to Hugh and Jim for being expert spotters.

    Hugh's TJ on 33s with a front locker handled the obstacles with ease despite not having the front swaybar disconnected.

    Jim's brute of a YJ walked up it with no trouble at all.

    Mill Creek area was a bit snowy with some slidey bits as Jim mentioned but we cruised it so fast, even stopping to check out the Hilton, we were on the tail of a Tacoma and Gladiator for a bit. But as soon as the trail smoothed out a bit they were gone. The last I saw of them was the tailgates as we took the fork in the trail towards Bill Moore Lake.

    I don't have much ton contribute about what has already been said about the fiasco on the hill... those who were there had a few laughs.

    Challenges were had, things were learned.

    If John (the fella we met at the lake) reads this: Thanks for the round!

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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Mill Creek, Bill Moore Lake - 10/16



    These three pictures are what folks want to see - the white toyota and the slippery slope (at least the top of it).








    The full photo set is at this link with highlight photos in this post:
    www.JimWilliamson.net/automobile/2021-10-17--trail--red-elephant--mill-creek--empire-hilton--bill-moore-lake/



















  6. The Following 3 Members Say Thanks to Jim For This Post:

    open_circuit (October 18th, 2021),speedkills (October 18th, 2021),Tom (October 18th, 2021)

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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Mill Creek, Bill Moore Lake - 10/16



    Hilton looks lots cleaner than the last time I saw it. Definitely looks occupied imo.
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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Mill Creek, Bill Moore Lake - 10/16



    Tom previously posted:
    "Hilton looks lots cleaner than the last time I saw it. Definitely looks occupied imo."

    https://www.frontrange4x4.com/forums...106#post338106

    This was last summer when I was there. It was fully of stuff then. Looks very organized and cleaned up now.

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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Mill Creek, Bill Moore Lake - 10/16



    Jim, great write up on a great run. REH was definitely the most technical trail that I've done and I'm glad we could squeeze it before any more snow fell. The stripped/seized sway bar bolts will be cut off and replaced soon as that made for a pretty rough ride on the hill.

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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Mill Creek, Bill Moore Lake - 10/16



    Andrew and I were up there that same day. We got to the top of the downhill to the lake and said not today. I picked up a rock slider from a Rzr over by the cabin. Must have been your tracks we were following thru the snow.
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    Default Re: Red Elephant Hill, Mill Creek, Bill Moore Lake - 10/16



    GaryG previously posted:
    "We got to the top of the downhill to the lake and said not today.


    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain"


  12. The Following Member Says Thanks to Jim For This Post:

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