ALL-4-FUN 2005
Gunnison, Colorado
Friday, July 29th
& 'Warn Night' under the Pavilion...
Near Crested Butte, Colorado

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   On the last day of All-4-Fun 2005, I led a trip with some great people.  Plans were to head NW of the Crested Butte area to check out the avalanche near Schofield Pass and Devil's Punchbowl to see if it was clear enough to pass thru to Crystal Mill.  What most probably thought would be a slow and short day, turned out to be a long and exciting day.  I saw a lot of driver skill and teamwork with everyone pitching in on this trip.  A great day!!  Here's how it went.


  On Friday morning, July 29th, I met up with the group I was leading at 8:15am at Staging Area C.  The drivers for the trip included (about 11 total): Craig E. (XJ), John G. (TJ), Jack A. (CJ), Bob D. (TJ), Fred P. (TJ-Of Clemson 4Wheel), Barry R. (TJ), Jim J. (TJ), and Bernie S. (CJ).  Along with friends and spouses, we all headed out of Gunnison towards Crested Butte at 8:30am.


On our way to Crested Butte...


   We stopped just outside of Crested Butte on the Slate Road to air down.  We picked up 2 other rigs and headed up the easy dusty Slate Road.  They had some kind of run, as we passed many people running down the Slate road (FS 734 Road).  As a side trip, I wanted to check out Poverty Gulch Trail (on FS Road 734.2A) NW of Crested Butte.  Since there were no write ups on it, I led everyone up the 2-3 miles.  Right after we crossed Slate River the trail began, though fairly easy (still no place for a Mini-van).


   Just ahead we stopped for a quick glance at a waterfall.  Water running more then normal with a high snow pack, it looked really nice.  We headed up the trail a little more before a 10-100 stop.  After, it was on up to the upper valley, where an avalanche had came down and blocked the road.  After walking around, we turned around and made it back to the main Slate Road to head up to Paradise Divide.


Poverty Gulch Waterfalls...


Upper road was fairly easy...


This avalanche turned us around...


Even further up the road were more snow banks (in the end of July!)...


   Once backtracking, then across the Slate River and past 2 cows, we turned left and on up the easy but steep Slate Road towards Paradise Divide.  The Road climbs a good 2,000'.  It has a few switchbacks and is a little narrow, but room to pass.  The views near the top towards Yule Pass and 12,293' Cinnamon Mtn. were beautiful with the contrasting wildflowers, green grass and white snow banks.  At Paradise Divide (11,250') we had to many people to explore the road to Yule Pass (if we had to back up or try to turn around), so I headed down into Paradise Basin towards Schofield Pass.


Great views off Slate Road....


...of the upper Slate Valley and Yule Pass.


Looking back on the steep climb up Slate Road...


Paradise Divide--11,250'...


   Down thru Paradise Basin, we took a left off Schofield Pass into the Schofield Valley where we had lunch near the headwaters of the Crystal River.  The weather was nice and sunny as some (kids these days) decided to cool off in the frigid Crystal River at lunch.


Looking back up Paradise Basin as the road weaves thru it...


Lunch for some over the Upper Crystal River...


Lunch Break...


    Now heading on FS Road 315 (in White River National Forest), we encountered the 'point of no return' at the entrance to Devil's Punchbowl and Crystal Canyon.  The sign at the entrance seemed intimidating (though VERY true for what we were to encounter), but after we were able to do what we did, I know I did have EXPERIENCED drivers behind me.  Making our way down some tight willows to the creek crossing, we passed a nice waterfall.  The trail had a little bypass to cross the creek on the right, most took the challenging crossing.


Experienced Drivers here!


Nice wildflowers...


..and waterfalls.


   Crystal Canyon (Devil's Punchbowl) is a steep tight trail with the Crystal River cascading down it.  The trail warrants your attention in 4low, as you maneuver thru the tight shelf road.  Soon, I encountered one of the 1st snow banks created by an avalanche last winter.  It covered and hugged the road.  Not a problem most times, but this was quite intimidating.  The snow bank had a steep slope and the bottom of the slope was a 10-15 foot drop of another snow bank, then another 20' down into the cascading river.


   We looked it over, and we made a group decision (after a meeting) to go ahead and cross down it.  We had seen 2 fresh tracks, so we assumed the trail would be open further down.  Little did we know there was another larger snow bank just down the canyon.  One by one each person inched down the slippery snowy slope.  The challenge was with the drivers near the end with the trail getting a little slippery from previous sliding tires.  With much skill and patience all made it thru.  Well, we are in the canyon now!  Turning around (when we could find it--tight 1 lane trail), would mean winching somehow everyone back up the snow bank.


The 1st snow bank looking down Crystal Canyon...


One by one we slowly crossed...


...some sliding a bit to much.


A nasty drop-off, but not for Bob D...


   Now thru, we headed down the Devil's Punchbowl.  Torrents of water were cascading down Crystal River!  The trail also had some rocks to be moved, and the trail was tight.  We were soon to find out around the next bend that we found the main avalanche closing Crystal Canyon.  I stopped at the head of the snow bank, and walked around the corner to find the 2 TJ's that made the fresh tracks on the 1st snow bank.  I soon found a huge sloping snow bank covering a couple of hundred yards of the trail.  I didn't bring my camera with me so I don't have a photos of the 1st TJ stuck on the ledge of the snow bank hanging.  They were actually 2 TJ's from Southern Illinois with All-4-Fun out on their own.


   This guy was in a big pickle!  Stuck and no way to winch to anything.  We knew we had to help, and get him back on the snow bank.  After they tried a few things, we used manpower to hold with tow strap and 10+ people to the roll bar to pull it back on the snow bank.  Some 2 hours or so later, they were on dry land (the trail), and we again decided to traverse the long sloping snow bank nice and slow.  If anyone slipped just a few inches, it could mean winching and time.  I went 1st, and I had a lot of confidence in Fred Perry of Clemson.  Kudos to him for spotting everyone thru the toughest part!  Once I made it thru, one by one each driver skillfully came down and stayed on the trail!  Nice Job!!  We made it!  It was now on to the prize---the Crystal Mill then back to Gunnison for Warn Night.  At this time, it was already 5pm!


Avalanches fill the 'Punchbowl'... the Crystal River cascades down the steep tight canyon!



The 'Avalanche'

*Note-5 foot drop off on left side...



Clemson's rig crawling thru...


...along with Bob D., great job spotting Fred!!!



Our last Rig with Craig E (XJ) negotiates the avalanche!!

(Here you can see by the scale how large it was!)



   The Crystal Mill is one of the most photographed in Colorado.  It's probable well know nationwide and internationally.  Used to generate electricity in the late 1890's, it is protected and preserved today.  If you ever get close to Marble or Crested Butte, you should take a trip and see the Crystal Mill, its worth it!  The trail down from the Mill to Marble is a nice moderate to easy stretch.  It's pretty rocky in parts, not big rocks, just a lot of them keeping your speed down.  We finally reached Marble (home of the quarry up the valley of most of Washington DC's monuments and more).



Crystal Mill



A must see...



Cascading waterfalls as we headed down towards Marble...


   Once reaching Marble, we bunched up and we were on the move with a mission to get back to camp somewhere around 7-8pm.  I took us over 9,018' McClure Pass, then down to 6,400' at Paonia Reservoir.  Now we headed back thru County Road 12, and then back up and over 9,100' Kebler Pass to Crested Butte.  We got cell reception, and were able to reach Harold Ogden of Warn to save some burgers and hold off on the giveaways til we arrived.  Finally, we arrived at 7:45pm in camp!  What  a trip!!  Fun Fun!  Thanks all who helped--you too Fred!  Now for some burgers!!


Chair Mountain as we descended McClure Pass...






               Chair Mtn.                 Crystal Mill         Snow Bank


                                                                              Snow Bank



                                                                            Yule Valley











                                                                              Crested Butte-Start/Finish







Interactive Photo Map Of the trip...

(Click on links to photos on this page, then x to close window)

Thanks to Bob D. for this GPS map...




   At 6pm, Warn Night had begun.  Warn cooked up some hamburgers and hotdogs for all, and also provided refreshments (soda & beer).  They also booked the same band that has followed All-4-Fun for years, as they started up around 7pm.  I got some burgers, then took the Jeep and Molly back to camp, fed her and put her to sleep.  Back to the party!


    Thanks to Chevette for her hard work this year as All-4-Fun Chairman, and the rest of the committee members.  Without the participants, we wouldn't have this event, so thanks to you for coming and supporting it, along with the many Vendors!!


Thank's Chevette!


A toast to a 'FUN' week!!


The crowd listens to a great band and reminisces about the great times in Gunnison...


   Warn Night is sponsored by Warn Industries.  During intermission, Harold Ogden of Warn handed out some Warn products. A big THANKS to WARN for their great support of All-4-Fun!  The band (which played last year in Georgetown, and previous years in Silverton, Salida, Central City, & Fairplay in 99') played on till 11:30pm Friday night!


Live band, and 'dirt' dancing...


Thanks to Harold and Warn!!


   Well, well, well,,,,,,,,the week is over.  By early Sat. July 30th, the sites were almost empty, as happy and content jeepers would make their own treks back home out of the Gunnison River valley, till they return for their annual migration in a year back to Colorado and another FUN--ALL-4-FUN 2006!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


An appropriate end to a fun week!!


As Molly slept all the way home...


   I hope you enjoyed my Event Report for All-4-Fun, sorry for taking so long,,,,8 pages (reports and web creating) and some 350 to wade thru and edit took many, many free days to finish.  You know what, I'm in the end glad I could record and preserve this year's All-4-Fun in Gunnison, as I've done since Fairplay (99'), for everyone to remember and for those who need to go in 2006.......


"See ya on the trail"


Bill Hallinan HoboJeepers



Other Crystal Canyon/Crystal Mill websites/trip Reports:


Rumblebee's Trip thru just days before us:

HoboJeepers Taylor thru Crystal Canyon Trip 2001:


Crystal Canyon/City by Colorado Byways:

Crystal Canyon Trail by Grumpy:

Crystal Ghost Town History and Photos:

Crystal Mill and Photos:

Marble, Colorado:




Other All-4-Fun 2005 Trip Reports

Sat: Registration/Set-up Sun: Alpine Tunnel/Hancock Pass

Mon: San Juans-Engineer Pass/Animas Forks  Tue: San Juans-Black Bear/Imogene Passes

Wed: Family/Vendor Day  Thur: Italian Creek/American Flag Mtn.

Fri: Poverty Gulch/Devils Punchbowl/Crystal



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