Patriot - Matt Nunn Independence
4WD Road

by Adam Mehlberg

Patriot - Ryan Boddy

It was going to be a nice day. Sunny and warm. The morning sunrise as I drove from Longmont to the Independence Extreme 4x4 area was agreeing with the weather forecast. I arrived at 7:30am, the planned starting time, but no one was around yet.

It was peaceful at the start of Patriot without the vehicles. I decided to do some documenting of the obstacles and GPSing of the routes. As the morning continued, I finished the first part of Patriot and the Freedom route out before Patriot gets tough. It was getting warmer, but still no vehicles, so I worked my way to the intersection with Liberty, and then followed Patriot to it’s exit.

Perfect timing. As I finished up the last obstacle I heard the engines warming up. Back at the entrance to Patriot I found Matt Nunn, Richard Boddy and Ryan Boddy starting the day. I switched from documenting to photographing these extreme obstacles.

Patriot - Richard Boddy

Shortly we were at the Freedom intersection where everyone was considering the best line to use to get to the bottom. Patriot’s obstacle just after the Freedom intersection is a 4'6" step that measures 55 degrees using a 6' rod. While the drivers were still looking over the choices Jeff and Cory arrived, as did some other 4X4 adventurers. Matt was first to head down. His first line wasn’t looking good, so he tried a more direct approach to the step and nose dived over. That was actually the easy part. The very next obstacle has a tilt to it. Matt made it off this obstacle, but bashed his front fender into a large outcropping putting himself in a tough spot to make the sharp left turn needed to get past the outcropping.

Patriot - Ryan BoddyUsing a winch anchor he used the foot of travel he had and the side pull of the winch to maneuver his front end around. A few more loud impacts to his rear bumper and he was at the bottom. Richard was next. His Toyota being shorter gave him more room at the outcropping. He was able to get around it with little extra help. He was down to the bottom in no time. Ryan’s Toyota pickup made it down the step, past the outcropping and over the rock pile to the bottom in no time.

Patriot - Matt NunnJeff was in another Blazer, he had the same troubles at the outcropping that Matt did, but by now the spotter were getting the correct lines figured out. Cory’s Jeep made it down and our group was ready to head to the start of the climb up and out of Patriot. It was about 11:30am.

Matt had our first breakdown on the next obstacle. It is a large rock slab at 33 degrees with a 2' step at the start and about 7' of width to work with. Too far left, rock wall, too far right, big hole. Matt was doing good when we all heard that dreaded KerPow! Front axle shaft U-joint. Matt got up to a level spot using his winch and began removing the shaft. He of course had a spare, so it wasn’t long until the group was moving again. After working our five up to the next level spot we took some time for a lunch break.

Patriot - Richard BoddyThe next obstacle is called the Air Hole, or A-Hole for short. It’s a 34 degree incline with a 22" step, the problem is the right turn you have to make while climbing with only 6'8" of width. Most the boulders in the road are over 2' tall. Matt worked the approach a few times and then got the right line. Richard made quick work of it, as did Ryan. Some of the rocks took a bit for Ryan to maneuver around.

While Jeff and Cory were doing the Air Hole, Richard was dropping his bend drag link. Using a piece of angle and a welder that was a few vehicles back, Richard was mobile once again. Matt and Richard finished the climb out to the top first. It was about 5:30pm. Nine hours to travel just over half a mile. You got to love rock crawling.

Just past the Air Hole, Jeff cracked his front hub. It held together until the climb out, when it went. By this time our rock crawlers were all about getting done, so the cable was thrown down to haul him out.

As they were finishing up I got my gear and walked Liberty taking GPS coordinates and measuring the obstacles. By the time I got back everyone was back at camp getting dinner on. We had Birthday fajitas for Ryan’s birthday and celebrated a hard day of rock crawling.

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