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Old 07-18-2021, 06:13 PM #1
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"this easy, that easy:" more Black Bear Pass rollovers

I just got a pic of a white 4Runner rolled on Black Bear that I had not seen before. I am not sure how old it is, but while googling it, I found that a Ram rolled there just a few days ago. So a good opportunity to chat about the BBP. We did it in 2020, but not this year.

The 4R on the pic I got is in the section before the rocky switchback that features some tippy spots. There is another 4R and what looks like a Renegade past the rolled vehicle. If you watch this video at 5:30 you will see the spot where this 4R rolled. What is especially sad is that this is actually a very easy spot for a 4R. Note that the Cherokee on the video is doing an awful job (especially at 6:00) and yet getting away with it because of its very low center of gravity. But while cars can sometimes get away with it, look at that Mercedes at 8:30!

Black Bear Pass - Wrecked Mercedes - 4Runner Rollover Aftermath - YouTube

Now, here you can see how the same spot should be driven, found this on youtube. Look at 16:10 to 16:30 4wd Action @ Black Bear Pass 4Runner TRD Off-Road - YouTube (footage is a mess though as segments are totally out of order). Note how the wheels are always positioned so as to keep the vehicle safe. It drops straight down the big rock and presumably does not care if hitch or spare scrape (I personally scraped the hitch protector and the spare, so what?). You cannot be afraid of the big flat rock in a 4R. You SHOULD be afraid of getting tippy and doing what the Cherokee did.

Interestingly enough, the white 4R on the pic I got as well as the blue FJ on the viral litebrite video had already driven a worse spot, which can be seen here at 8:00 to 8:40; what makes it nasty is that there is no way to drop straight. The first 4R on the video drives it really well: 4wd Action @ Black Bear Pass 4Runner TRD Off-Road - YouTube . Yet people who drove the harder spot, rolled on the much easier one down the trail. Presumably they either paid no attention or got afraid of the big but smooth rock. Having many options on that wider spot may have played against them as well.

So people on forums should be more careful when they write "this is easy, that is easy." This trail is not about lift or tire sizes. the Telluride side of the pass has no big-time obstacles but is UNFORGIVING. The trail will test your knowledge of offroading concepts AND your knowledge of your specific vehicle and its strengths and weaknesses off-road.

Now, here is the Ram rollover from just a couple days ago, July 15, 2021:
Rollover Crash Closes Black Bear Pass In Telluride

This looks to be obvious: yet another case of a driver who got afraid of the drop off and so climbed the wall on the inside thus rolling the truck (a Wrangler did that a few years ago).

Also, a week ago we saw a 4Runner off the end of a spur of Governor Basin. Looked like they should have been able to recover on their own, but while they must have spent a pretty penny on the red offroad rescue truck, they at least avoided the rollover.

On the opposite extreme, we saw like 1 4Runner at the end of Yankee Boy with 8-10 parked along the difficult rated yet mild for a 4Runner trail. So, some people stop when they see minor rocks on a trail that has no exposure and where rolling would require a big driver error, while others go for the Black Bear, where rolling a 4R requires just a basic but common error (steering the wheels the wrong way as you get scared).

If you drive BBP without a solid grasp of offroading concepts or full understanding of your specific vehicle, you will end up as the next flipped Toyota, scared of rocks, the next FCA product, scared of drop-offs, or the next damaged Mercedes, fearlessly taking a car on an offroad trail. BBP likes to punish those who “disrespect it.”
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Old 07-20-2021, 09:25 AM #2
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It looks like there was an extra 180LBS pounds of a roof mounted RTT underneath that 4Runner.
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Old 07-20-2021, 12:15 PM #3
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It looks like there was an extra 180LBS pounds of a roof mounted RTT underneath that 4Runner.
Huge deal right there. Went out on a trail with a tippy spot last weekend with a big group of yotas. The RTT 5th gens looked really sketchy and had people holding the roof while they crawled through. I felt pretty stable.
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Old 07-20-2021, 12:21 PM #4
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Yeah, that's the one that was discussed last year. If I recall correctly, it climbed the wall on the right trying to stay out of the drop off on the left. It is an easy mistake to make in that spot.

The white one I had in mind had nothing on the roof (just a rack I think), nor did some of the other ones.

I am no fan of stuff on roof, but the issue on BB is not exclusive to top heavy rigs. The issue is going without sufficient understanding/experience.
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Old 07-23-2021, 04:39 PM #5
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I've probably done Black Bear close to 30 times over the years (twice going up). A buddy of mine and I did Poughkeepsie Gulch/Hurricane Pass/Corkscrew Pass/Black Bear Pass last summer in our FJ's (I've done Black Bear a number of times in my 4-Runner as well). We didn't use a spotter at any point so I don't consider any of them to be particularly challenging (Poughkeepsie can present a challenge to a lot of folks). We saw a Mercedes parked at the bottom of the falls beside the steps. It was abandoned. I have no idea what it was doing there since I can't imagine someone coming down that far in it and coming up the switchbacks would be illegal (and against traffic). There is one of the switchbacks that usually has loose dirt at the apex of the turn (backing up is required to make the turn) and can be a problem if someone attempted it without 4-wheel drive. Other than that it's pretty much a piece of cake.
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Old 08-01-2021, 08:39 PM #6
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Pulled this on vacation and immediately thought of this thread.

Driving a perfectly flat and narrow ledge at the very end of an easy trail outside of Breckenridge, let the ledge get to me and drove up way too far on the wall side. Got way tippier than needed, not enough to panic, but definitely enough to get my attention. The ONLY thing 'hard' about this spot was occurring within my own head.
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Old 08-04-2021, 02:21 AM #7
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Thanks for that spot and picture. I did not know we can attach pictures LOL.

But, yeah, that's exactly the point. I like to tell my wife that I17 north of Phoenix is more dangerous (the downhill section) than the Black Bear Pass. She always seems to think that I am joking.

I am not. It is just that the new things and experiences have their way of messing with the human mind. The one thing that scares me every time is interstate traffic that moves between 60-stop-80-stop-60. But because people are familiar with that, it is considered "normal" while driving a bigger rock or the like is considered "scary" and it thus prompts people to do, well, truly scary things.

This is why driving stuff like the Black Bear should be done with a solid grasp of fundamentals and some experience.
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Old 08-26-2021, 03:40 PM #8
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Yup...

Overturned vehicle temporarily closes Black Bear Pass | News | telluridenews.com

I have to assume it's only a matter of time before this gets closed.
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Old 08-26-2021, 04:14 PM #9
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what's happening these days is that a lot of people are going out and buying top trim 4Rs and Jeeps and think that makes them an off roader when it doesn't..While they may have "capable" vehicles, they don't necessarily have the skills/experience to use them correctly, so that false sense of "I can do anything" gets them into trouble..that's just my two cents..I've been into my fair share of tight spots with my offroad rig and fortunately never rolled, but I've come close and seen it happen..
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Old 08-26-2021, 05:56 PM #10
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what's happening these days is that a lot of people are going out and buying top trim 4Rs and Jeeps and think that makes them an off roader when it doesn't..While they may have "capable" vehicles, they don't necessarily have the skills/experience to use them correctly, so that false sense of "I can do anything" gets them into trouble..that's just my two cents..I've been into my fair share of tight spots with my offroad rig and fortunately never rolled, but I've come close and seen it happen..
Yea, you see it on track as well.

Someone's first sports car is a 2 yr old Corvette, they head to the track and think the car is the only part of the equation. They try to pace or outrun a much more experienced driver in a Miata and a loud crunch sound rings across the track...
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Old 08-26-2021, 06:59 PM #11
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The Sheriff up there wants novices to stay off that trail.
This 3rd Gen was built to off road but the driver wasn't.
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Old 08-27-2021, 07:52 AM #12
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I know accidents happen but these people are screwing it up for folks who know what they're doing..I agree with @Sp00ner , only a matter of time before it gets shut down.
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Old 08-27-2021, 08:30 PM #13
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I know accidents happen but these people are screwing it up for folks who know what they're doing..I agree with @Sp00ner , only a matter of time before it gets shut down.
Yea, it's not a good look, and it's pretty shitty for the people that have to clean up the mess, even worse if/when someone gets hurt or killed.

Personally, it will probably never impact me, as those sheer drop offs are just not my thing. It's not enjoyable at all to me, but I know lots of other people love that route.
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Old 09-28-2021, 10:54 AM #14
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Black Bear Pass devours the new Ford Bronco.

It was not the capability of the Bronco but a mistake by the drivers, who took the wrong turn and went up the one way. Tried to turn around and rolled off the cliff. They wre lucky they wre at the bottom. It's impressive that the Bronco took severe damage but saved the woman and the dog in the vehicle.

Woman and dog injured after rolling off Black Bear Pass
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Old 09-28-2021, 02:13 PM #15
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