Black Bear Pass in a WJ? - JeepForum.com

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post #1 of 16 Old 06-06-2012, 08:41 AM Thread Starter
WJRhoAds
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Black Bear Pass in a WJ?

My family and I are planning to take my brothers YJ and my WJ to the San Juan area in late June. I've been reading about the toughness of black bear particularly the switchbacks. All the pictures I've seen are short wheel bases so I'm wondering how much tougher its going to be with a longer wheel base.

Pictures would be cool if yall have them

ALSO when does black bear usually open for the season? I'm from Oklahoma so I have NO idea.

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post #2 of 16 Old 06-06-2012, 12:39 PM
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You shouldn't have any problem, you'll just have to do multi-point turns go get around them. I've taken toyota trucks and IH with no issues.
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post #3 of 16 Old 06-06-2012, 01:31 PM
jeepster93
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The switchbacks are do-able. Just be careful.
The steps are the challenge. They seem a lot steeper than they are. They're just before the switchbacks.
I have seen stock Nissans do it.
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post #4 of 16 Old 06-07-2012, 06:38 AM
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You'll be fine on the switchbacks.


'04 WJ, 6" Clayton LA's, 242 SYE, 35" BFG MT KM2's, 4.56 gears, & D44a locked
'14 WK2 Limited w/5.7L, ORAI, & Tow Package
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post #5 of 16 Old 06-07-2012, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WJRhoAds View Post
My family and I are planning to take my brothers YJ and my WJ to the San Juan area in late June. I've been reading about the toughness of black bear particularly the switchbacks. All the pictures I've seen are short wheel bases so I'm wondering how much tougher its going to be with a longer wheel base.

Pictures would be cool if yall have them

ALSO when does black bear usually open for the season? I'm from Oklahoma so I have NO idea.
Hey an Okie not from Muskogee. We came from Tulsa, here, small world? Check out bushducks.com, theres a link for the colorado passes on it, and it gives a trail report of all the big ones. http://www.bushducks.com/tripreps/passopen.htm

No one's updated it yet on the page, as it says closed but it does give a phone number to call. Looks fun, just no place for my KJ
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post #6 of 16 Old 06-07-2012, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by streetglideok View Post
Hey an Okie not from Muskogee. We came from Tulsa, here, small world? Check out bushducks.com, theres a link for the colorado passes on it, and it gives a trail report of all the big ones. http://www.bushducks.com/tripreps/passopen.htm

No one's updated it yet on the page, as it says closed but it does give a phone number to call. Looks fun, just no place for my KJ
I called the # early this week and they said they were going to be working on getting the trail ready to be open late next week.
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post #7 of 16 Old 06-07-2012, 09:56 PM
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A friend of mine took his 91 suburban over Black Bear....Had to make a couple of turns to make the switchbacks......noooo problemo
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post #8 of 16 Old 06-08-2012, 06:35 AM
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WJRhoAds:

See post no 8 on this tread.

Explanation and photos will tell you a lot.

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f7/bl...ss-co-1267077/



I am thinking there is a lot less snow than there was last year. In looking at reports earlier this week, everything is already open in the San Juan area with exception of a few trails. (Imogene, Black Bear, Poughkeepsie, Stony). Last year (2011) Black Bear didnt open until the last week of July.

I referenced the post 8 above,

I think that you can get by fine with a WJ. In the post, take special note on the part "knowing your jeep". You will probably be fine.

You may have to take numerous three point turns on the switchbacks after Ingram step.

Have fun, be safe, and enjoy.
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post #9 of 16 Old 06-09-2012, 02:30 PM
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post #10 of 16 Old 06-11-2012, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
WJRhoAds
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Hey thanks guys! I feel more comfortable about giving it a go with yall's input! I'm really hoping its open in time for my brother and I to try and tackle it!
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post #11 of 16 Old 07-17-2012, 01:23 PM
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My wife and I want to do this in a month or so (more me than her) in a 04 Rubicon with 33's, 3 inch. Question; when you do the "steps", are you going up, or down? Those steep downhills look scary enough! I don't have any extra skid plates, should I for this trail?
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post #12 of 16 Old 07-18-2012, 04:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by like2lean View Post
My wife and I want to do this in a month or so (more me than her) in a 04 Rubicon with 33's, 3 inch. Question; when you do the "steps", are you going up, or down? Those steep downhills look scary enough! I don't have any extra skid plates, should I for this trail?
The steps are going down, and they're much easier than they used to be. With 33" tires you wont get anywhere near the skidplates.
It's really not a hard trail, as long as you keep a cool head & aren't afraid of heights!
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post #13 of 16 Old 07-18-2012, 12:23 PM
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The trail is much more mentally difficult than physically. Drive slow and pay close attention. If you want to look at something stop the vehicle.
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post #14 of 16 Old 07-18-2012, 02:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by like2lean View Post
My wife and I want to do this in a month or so (more me than her) in a 04 Rubicon with 33's, 3 inch. Question; when you do the "steps", are you going up, or down? Those steep downhills look scary enough! I don't have any extra skid plates, should I for this trail?
did the trail june 15th of this year there was still a lot of snow on the trail but it was not hard, my jeep has 31s and original skid plate
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post #15 of 16 Old 07-18-2012, 06:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by like2lean View Post
My wife and I want to do this in a month or so (more me than her) in a 04 Rubicon with 33's, 3 inch. Question; when you do the "steps", are you going up, or down? Those steep downhills look scary enough! I don't have any extra skid plates, should I for this trail?
As to clearance, in Ingram Basin prior to the steps, there are numerous points in the trail where you will need good judgement in negotiating the trail to avoid contact with your skid plates. I have 33s, stock lift and less clearance than you.

I went over Black Bear on June 29 this year (2012). I dont think that it was officially open as there was still road machinery present.

After the steps, but before the switchbacks, there was one point where the trail is very narrow, there was quick three foot drop in the trail where a large bolder was sticking up. No way to take an obstruction but head on (note second photo). I hit in a place [on the trail] where I had never hit on the trail on any previous trip. So much so, that I stopped a took a photo. The photos does not do it justice. Note the arrow in the photos.





It was a large bolder sticking up in the middle of the trail, my guess that the snow and snow clearing had eroded the trail away around the bolder. Before then, I have never hit anywhere on Black Bear.

As noted, the county road crews still had equipment lower in the switchbacks and working on the pass at night. I may be repaired now.
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