3 Tips for Making the Most of Moab

Justin Andrew has only missed Easter weekend in Moab four times in the last twenty six years. Yeah, he’s kind of a fanatic! Here is his advice if you are new to the sport of rock crawling.

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Far too often, drivers will attempt to scale an obstacle with too much speed, momentum, and wheel spin. This results in broken axles, drive shafts, rollovers, etc. While there certainly are obstacles that require this style of driving, that is the exception, not the rule. When rock crawling, you want the torque and slow speeds of driving in 4-low. Let your your tires grip and claw the rock to pull you up and over trail obstacles.

Going slow and with judicious use of the skinny pedal allows you to maintain control, and prevent breakage. More throttle and spinning your tires on the slick rock will produce loss of traction and hopping. Hopping is the up and down movement of a vehicle when the tires are spinning. The shock loads that hopping causes takes its toll on your drivetrain, and can often result in broken parts, and a broken ego.

Only Bite Off What You Can Chew

Remember, there’s always another day. You don’t need to go from novice to expert overnight. The most experienced off-roaders started out just like you. Check out trail descriptions before heading out. This will help you understand what you will be encountering while on the trail. If a trail seems too technical for your experience or your equipment, avoid it until you are comfortable with it.

Going on trails that you are not prepared for can lead to vehicle damage, anxious nerves, and maybe even an unenjoyable time. Off-roading is a great family-friendly activity. You don’t want the stress of tackling a trail that’s too difficult to ruin your trip.

Pack Out What You Pack In, and Stay On The Trail

There is quite a bit of opposition threatening to take away backcountry access to motorized vehicles. Do your part to make sure access to your favorite trail stays open and enjoyable for everyone. Pack out what you pack in. Pick up what others have left behind. Be prepared to clean up leaking oil, coolant, and other engine fluids. Leave no trace that you have been there.

Stay on the trail. Cryptobiotic soil is seen everywhere in the Moab area. This crusty, black-looking soil takes years to form and prevents erosion. “Don’t bust the crust!” The crust is key to helping the desert retain water, prevent erosion, and fix nitrogen for other desert plants. Additionally, please stay on designated routes. Alternate route making and widening of trails doesn’t go unnoticed. If you cannot scale an obstacle, winch up it, pile rocks on it, use a designated bypass, or even turn around, but do not make a new trail that goes around the obstacle.

Following these simple rules of common courtesy will help keep Moab open to off-roading and rock crawling and enjoyable for enthusiasts for years to come.

– All photos courtesy Justin Andrew

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