Step By Step
zSherman Mathieu served as the fearless leader on Calamity. Although he took plenty of friendly ribbing for stacking a few rocks before he tried a couple of the harder obstacles, he quickly silenced trailside spectators by walking up virtually everything. A fresh fuel-injected 360 matched with a built 727 tranny and low gearing helped.
Weve run across Greg McNeil several times over the years, and believe it or not, his mangled 82 Toy looks a little worse every time we see it. Dont let the outside fool you. Theres an injected 4.3L V-6 under the hood hooked to a 700-R4 tranny and NP208 transfer case as well as locked Dana 44s on each end.
Relatively new, Die Trying is twice as long as most other serious trails at 1.4 miles. But what makes Die Trying unique is that all of it can be driven with the right stuff. Most of the obstacles have several lines, depending on the vehicle. Its not a winch-fest or filled with the typical one-line-only obstacles.
We drooled over this super-sano 69 Jeepster. Owners Lyle and Leona Schrader are members of the Mile-Hi Jeep Club, and they wheeled their lovingly restored classic with several other members of the club.
Meet the General Willy E. Lee. Its complete with a rebel flag on the hood and 01 painted on the side. Owner Corey Sell broke it in right. We liked the small 33-inch Boggers (were used to seeing 44s), and the flattie had plenty of guts thanks to an injected Chevy 4.3L V-6.
Rockcrawling Championship veteran Craig Ross led the Die Trying run with his immaculate, 401-powered CJ-5. The combination of a specially prepped 727 tranny, a Dana 300 transfer case, a locked 9-inch in the rear, and a locked 44 up front proved to be the right one.
If you have a chance to spend a couple days in the area and want a little variety in your hard-core activities, we strongly recommend you try your hand at Calamity Canyon. Calamity has several extremely tight spots that may require hanging a tire on the high side of a squeeze, as Chris Walker discovered in his 73 CJ-5.
Although plagued by starter problems from the beginning, Trevor MacPherson piloted his impressive 350-powered CJ-5 through Die Trying with relatively little trouble. Fresh from a complete restoration, some of the CJs goodies include a turbo 350 and a Dana 20 T-case hooked to the injected small-block, a locked Currie 9-inch out back, a locked 44 in front, and 4.88:1 gears.
The first obstacle on Calamity is this deceptively steep rock crevice/shelf combination. Long-wheelbase vehicles were able to walk it with relative ease (if the right line was taken), but shorter trucks often had a problem. A bad line combined with too much throttle on the first attempt got this clean early Bronco into trouble.
As with all Superlift events, the Montrose 4xAdventure offers something for everyone. Those who fear heights need not apply. FW
Montrose, Colorado, is a deceptively large town that has a small-town feel and is nestled on the western slope of the Rocky mountains. Montrose touts itself as the Home of the Black Canyon. (Its the second largest canyon in the United States. Only the Grand Canyon is bigger.) Yet in the four-wheeling world, its gradually gaining notoriety as one of the hot spots in the country for prime four-wheeling.
The hard-core reputation of Montrose is spreading like wildfire in no small part to the Western Slope 4-Wheelers, a small club that has been working closely with the local BLM office (which the club reports has been extremely cooperative) to reopen several existing roads in the rocky, rolling plains that surround the town. Superlift caught wind of all the wheeling to be had around Montrose and decided to put on its first large-scale four-wheel-drive event so everyone could check out the new trails.
The three-day 4xAdventure, held during the July 4 weekend, drew participants from all over Colorado and beyond. Many people claimed this area boasted some of the best four-wheeling in the country, with Die Trying unofficially named the best new trail to be opened in the last few years. Other trails, such as Calamity Canyon, received similar rave reports. In addition, the nearby San Juan Mountains allowed novice off-roaders the chance to creep over breathtaking mountain passes in low range and explore many of the abandoned mining towns dotted along the mountainsides.
The 2000 Superlift 4xAdventure schedule dates hadnt been finalized by the time this article went to print, but the tentative schedule includes Salt Springs, Florida; Attica, Indiana; Montrose, Colorado; and Hot Springs, Arkansas. Reserved spots for all the 4xAdventures fill up fast, so for more information on next years schedule, contact Bob Hazel of Sports-In-The-Rough at 828/261-0221 or Superlift, Dept. FW02, 211 Horn Ln., West Monroe, LA 71292, 800/551-4955, www.superlift.com.