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2009 Chile Challenge - Hotter Than Ever

Posted in Events on August 1, 2009 Comment (0)
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Charley Crossley had one of the best chances at scaling Nemesis 2, with his rear steering and stretched wheelbase. The slab on the right side of the photo (under this caption) makes a straight approach impossible without rear steer. The climb is 20 feet tall with loose rocks at the bottom. No one made it up unassisted at the Chile Challenge.

The Chile Challenge doesn't take place in some South American country, it's held every year in the rockcrawling mecca of Las Cruces, New Mexico. The event name comes from the famous chili peppers that are grown and roasted in southern New Mexico. The trails continue the theme, with names like Habanero Falls and Rocotillo Rapids. The hotter the chile the harder the trail. The Chile Challenge is not a Jeep-specific function per se, but like most major 4WD events it is dominated by Jeeps with sticky tires, locking differentials, and flexible suspensions. The event is hosted by the Las Cruces 4WD Club and doubles as the Winter Quarterly Meeting for the Southwest 4WD Association.

Las Cruces translates into English as "The Cross," which is fitting since Las Cruces, New Mexico, is located at the crossroads of Interstate 25 and Interstate 10. I-25 runs all the way from Casper, Wyoming, to El Paso, Texas, while I-10 spans from Los Angeles through San Antonio and Houston all the way to New Orleans. This makes it easy for rockcrawlers from all over the country to make their yearly pilgrimage to Las Cruces every February for the annual Chile Challenge. While much of the country is donning moon boots and snow shovels in February, Las Cruces enjoys sunny skies and temperatures in the 60s. Jp magazine has been covering this event for years now, and it is one of our favorites. The combination of challenging terrain, friendly people, delicious food, and well-built Jeeps is hard to beat. For more information go to chilechallenge.org.

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