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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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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirDancelot View Post
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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