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Climbing Guide - How To Drive It

Potato Salad Hill
Christian Hazel
| Brand Manager, Four Wheeler
Posted August 1, 2008
Contributors: Pete Trasborg

Wheeling Spots

One of the perks of our jobs as magazine editors is that we get to travel all over to go wheeling. From the Maine woods to the New Mexico desert, from the volcanoes of Hawaii to the bogs of Florida, we've covered this whole country in an effort to bring you a glimpse of wheeling across the USA.

We've seen guys take lines they couldn't possibly get up and make it; we've also seen guys try to take "the line" up a given obstacle and roll it, or grenade something by being just a little bit off of where they should have been. Sometimes it is hard, if not impossible, to roll up to a brand-new-to-you obstacle and pick the right line the first time.

Well, we figured that as part of this Stuck and Broken blowout, we'd show you some of the more famous obstacles we've seen. And to keep you from getting either stuck or broken if you should ever run those obstacles, we'd show you the line you need to take in order to drive them, along with some information that might prove to be helpful.

Potato Salad Hill
Every time we go to Moab, Utah, we end up at Potato Salad Hill. The hill isn't really a trail-it is just, as its name implies, a hill that loosely resembles a certain picnic treat. With all the small bumps and undulations like the lumps in a real potato salad, it is easy to understand the name of the "trail."


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At first glance, it can be hard to see why so many roll so spectacularly down the hill. It isn't really off-camber and there aren't any particularly big climbs to it, so what's the deal?

The deal is that the bumps right at the top, while not huge, are spaced just far enough apart to make it so that a normal 90- to 100-inch wheelbase Jeep is trying to climb a ledge with the front and rear tires at the same time. While that is happening, there is loose dirt that causes you to use more throttle to try to climb to the top. And if that wasn't enough, the top of the hill has just enough slope so that while you are spinning your tires, your Jeep is working its way to the left. There is only about 5 or 6 feet of lateral play up there before you get into the tipping hazard area, and there really isn't a good way to back down once you've slid that far over.

Potato Salad isn't a huge deal. If you keep your head on your shoulders, think it through, and ignore the crowds egging you on, you can back down before it gets to the point of no return. But once they are up there near the top of the hill with one more bump to make it up, many drivers focus on getting to the top and not on where they are on the hill, thus getting into trouble and rolling back down.

While the rule of thumb is that the longer the wheelbase, the more likely you are to make it up, we've seen everything from stock flatfenders to Samurais make it look like child's play, while the long wheelbase pickup right behind ended up on its lid at the bottom.

Keep it to the right up at the top and you'll do fine. There are several different approaches if you are in a normal Jeep, but really only one safe way to get up over the top. If you are in a buggy or something with a stretched wheelbase and bigger tires, you have some leeway, but if you are in a normal Jeep and want to stay rubber side down, follow the arrows.

GPS CoordinatesN 38.56329 W 109.51490

Devil's Crack
Moab Rim Trail in Moab, Utah, offers some of the most scenic backdrops for photos with the famous Colorado River in the background and Poison Spider Mesa rising out of it. There are a few obstacles going up the rim that are must-have photo ops with the killer background. Then, the plateau at the top of Moab Rim Trail offers some high-speed fun sections, some technical stuff, and awesome views of the town of Moab, both during the day and at night.


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