April Fool's 2000 in MOAB
Pritchett Canyon Trail
Near Moab, Utah

This trip report  includes excerpts from authors Phil Smith, Johnathan Kazmierczak, and Vincent Nguyen.

All photos and excerpts compliments of "JeepGeek"

The new Guide to Moab, UT Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails describes Pritchett Canyon: "Considered by many to be the toughest four miles in all of Moab.  It's rare not to have at least one or two vehicles with major breakdowns." Well, our group was true to the prediction with three major breakdowns, resulting in leaving one vehicle in the canyon overnight. Hans

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The beginning of Pritchett Canyon

The Trail:

    The Pritchett Canyon Trail (4+rated) awaits the players.  On Saturday morning April Fool's (premonition?)Day 2000, we carefully enter the canyon just off the Colorado River SW of Moab.  Up the canyon trail at 1.7 miles there's a steep descent which is followed by a major ascending rock obstacle. The descent was uneventful except for some undercarriage banging. The Scrambler, with it's loud V8, seemed to have a problem with the ascent. Most everyone else cleared, even if it required two attempts for locked vehicles, but "JeepGeek" needed strapping because of his open diffs.

Making it look easy... Wade powering through the obstacle...

Dave Burling with 39" Boggers making everything look small

    Toward "Rocker Knocker", the green frog decided to do an optional [only for him] riverbed that had boulders larger than his 40" boggers.  Although it took some time, it gave us a photo op, including Dooley standing up underneath the monster Bronco.

"Dave Dooley" checking out the undercarriage

    At the "BathTub", three locked vehicles were successful without stopping, but it was not the case for some others, including Dooley in his custom Scrambler.  Of course the obvious path was not challenging enough. He had to attempt the extreme line, something more in line with the vehicle's potential.  That option resulted in a cracked Dana 44 front axle U-joint and it simultaneously broke at the splines, (had to watch out for the shrapnel on that one).  He attached to my rear frame and winched himself out. The repair took more than an hour.

Jon lookin good out of the "Tub"

Dooley trying the hardest line and breaking his front Dana 44

"Redneck" welder using a bailing wire, 

jumper cables, and a battery.

    While Dean and Dooley were busy with the axle, others were attempting "Rocker Knocker" just up the hill from the "BathTub". To look at it, it seems that you should be able to crawl right up with lockers and Phil did just that.  My failed attempts lead me to the go-around where I tried to break an axle but failed at both.  So I was strapped up the go-around…yes the bypass.  Did I tell you it was a tough trail?  The only other vehicle to successfully climb both levels was the Scrambler, after the repair was completed.  The second level caused a problem for "JeepGeek",  because of his open diffs, but became nauseating to Jon when he broke the rear driveshaft U-joint, sprung the driveshaft yoke and pulled the control arm apart. From then on Jon had front wheel drive only, and had to be strapped up the subsequent obstacles.

Jon taking on "Rocker Knocker"

Dean and Dooley assessing the "Knocker" damage

"Rocker Knocker"

    From the small shelf on Pritchett, it's a pretty view up the narrow canyon. At this point dirt bikers told us that a vehicle rolled it at the "BathTub". Subsequent obstacles up the canyon made it difficult for non-locked vehicles. Lots of scrapping and strapping. The 6 foot "Rock Pile" was too difficult for anyone except Jon.  Someone had removed the "Rocks" from the "Pile", and it was a wall. He was strapped up, and therefore the only one to make it.  The bypass was a difficult one again…to the extent of causing our third major damage, the right rear axle of Wade's TJ.  Although he had a replacement, the ARB locker could not be disengaged to release the broken piece in the housing.

Jon driving up "Rock Pile" in front wheel drive/ Vinny attempts the "Rock Pile" with some help

Hans easily makes it up "Rock Pile"

    So Wade's TJ spent the night in Pritchett Canyon. We did winch him up the obstacle unto the plateau so that subsequent trail riders wouldn't push him into the gully in anger because that was the only way up.

Wade with a broken shaft from the "Rock Pile" Wade pushing the broken shaft with a broomstick

Phil's stretched 2000 TJ ignoring the huge drop off

 to his left at "Yellow Hill" the last obstacle of the canyon

    Sunday morning April 2nd, Wade found the special tool, and with the help of Vinnie [JeepGeek], Phil, and Dave, they were able to repair the Jeep and do the Behind the Rocks trail, which is why Phil came to Moab originally.  He is going to lead Behind the Rocks for the Jamboree later this month, and only used Pritchett on Saturday to get there. Johnathan and I helped Jon repair his drive shaft at camp, and by the time we finished, it was time to break camp and head home, which was another adventure with the snow and ice on I70.

The Trail Quote:

As Phil said it best: Pritchett Canyon,"…more or less kicked our collective butts."


More Photos of the April Fool's 2000 trip:

Here are some other Pritchett Canyon Trip reports:

Pritchett Canyon EJS 99':

Pritchett Canyon EJS 98':

Pritchett Canyon EJS 97':

Pritchett Canyon EJS 96':

Pritchett Canyon Jeep Trail:

Pritchett Canyon by Midwest JeepThing:

Extreme or "Idiotic" Shot of "Rocker Knocker":


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