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TOPIC: Sherman Pass 10/27 Report

Sherman Pass 10/27 Report 5 years 4 months ago #8238

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As much as I tried, I still didn't manage to leave "early" like I had planned. I was originally trying to get out the door by 18:00 but that didn't end up happening. After a few last minute things around the house were sorted we finally got on the road around 19:00. This worked out well since Garrett was also running behind schedule as well. We met up in transit on the 210 and made due north for the grapevine and Bakersfield. After an uneventful drive (other than a little carsickness on my wifes part)we arrived at the house in Kernville around 22:30 with Chris waiting in his defender in the driveway. Alex, Chris, Jefferson his friend Keith headed up earlier in the day to get camp setup and grab a bite to eat. Jefferson and Keith were camping at Headquarters Campground north of town, Alex had gotten a Hotel and Chris, Garrett and myself were staying at my wifes uncles house. After getting everyone in the house and settled we called it a night and went to bed.

The next morning those of us at the house got up and got ready to head out around 9:00. Brad drove up from his place in Bakersfield that morning and was at the house in by around 8:45. I got a text from Cody who was heading up that morning from LA stating that he was running a bit behind due to a truck fire on the grapevine. About 9:15 Cody got to the house and we all got in our trucks, headed to the gas station to top off and headed up to the campground to pick up Jefferson and Keith. We hung out for a few minutes while Jefferson and Keith got everything stowed and were off to the trailhead by around 9:45. The drive to the trailhead was along the banks of the Kern river for a major portion of it. For those who havent been to the area, the Kern river canyon is breathtaking in its own right with flowing rapids, sheer cliff faces, and fall colours in the trees at the bottom of the canyon.

About an hour after leaving the campground we arrived to the trailhead. Everyone aired down and we had an quick trail meeting of sorts. The trail is quite steep and gains lots of altitude quite fast. Things went smooth till we got to the first rocky section about a mile up. Myself, Alex and Brad cleared it all fine. Cody attempted it and didnt clear it due to his transfer case not dropping into 4 low. To add insult to injury Cody managed to slice the sidewall of his passenger side rear tire on a rock. We got the tire swapped out for his spare and tried to get his truck to shift to 4 low to no avail. It appeared that the lockout solenoid was not disengaging and preventing him from engaging 4 low. After a few more tries Cody decided to head back down the mountain and head to the campground to set up his campsite. We probably could have winched him past that spot but not much further up the trail it would have been impossible for him to continue due to him not having low range.

We got everyone else past the point where Cody was at and then got him turned around so he could head back down. Our group of 8 was now at 7. Another half a mile up the trail we came to a really steep long loose climb. Everyone made it to the top, but at the top Jefferson lost steering. What had happened is the splines of the u-joint at the end of the steering column shaft where it connects to the steering box had stripped giving the column no grip on the steering box shaft. After working on it for about an hour Jefferson was able to push the u-joint a little further down the shaft and get it to grip. With the truck fixed we were now underway.. or so we thought. At the next turn steering let go again.. After discussing our options it was decided that Jefferson and Keith would stay and see if they could manage to get it sorted while the rest of us continued on. We pushed Jefferson's truck into the elbow of the turn where he was at by pushing the wheels to get the truck to slot into a place where they could work on it and Chris could get by. We continued up the hill for quite a ways to a spot where it was safe for Keith to turn around and head back down and assist Jefferson.

Our merry group of 8 had now dwindled to 5. Undeterred we soldiered on, climbing further up the mountain through the burn area on the sherman jeep trail until we started to come to a point where the fire hadn't reached and began to drive through a meadow and then into a pine forest. In this forest we reached the junction of the north meadow trail which we followed south to a T junction where we went right and headed for the summit of Sherman Peak. Through the forest as we climbed towards Sherman Peak you could see patches of snow left from a small storm that had went through the area on Tuesday evening. We finally reached the summit of Sherman Peak at 9909 feet where we stopped for lunch and to enjoy the views of the surrounding area:

After lunch we decided since we were running behind schedule it would be best to take the bail out trail through north meadow down to the main trail as it was already 15:30 and would take at least another two hours to finish the rest of the trail, getting us back to Kernville around 18:00 or later. We headed down the north meadow trail and came upon the old Embree mining cabin along the trail. We got out and explored the area and the cabin. Someone had installed solar panels on the roof and had rigged lights inside the cabin for anyone that wished to stay there. From the ridge line behind the cabin you could see down to the spot where Jefferson's stricken truck still sat, with no sign any people or of Keith's truck in sight. We assumed they hadn't found a suitable way to get the truck down the hill and went back to camp to come up with a plan.

At this point we climbed back into the trucks and headed down the hill for pavement and back to the campsite to check on Jefferson. Upon our arrival Jefferson's wife told us they had driven down to Lake Isabella to get some parts to fix the truck. We headed down the road and passed Jefferson on his way back to the campground. They had gotten a cordless drill and a couple of bolts and the plan was to drill through the u-joint and steering box shaft to pin the two parts together and allow Jefferson to drive down the mountain in the morning.

We arrived back at the house around 18:00. Garrett's son was being fussy and anticipating a long night he and his wife decided to make for home. After saying our goodbyes we got to cooking. Cody had went by one of the mexican restaurants in town and picked up refried beans, rice and tortillas to go along with the chicken and carne asada we had brought to grill. After a few beers, food and good ol BS'ing Alex headed to his hotel, Brad back to Bakersfield, and Cody to the campground.

Sunday morning Chris and I got up and headed up to the campground to go make sure Jefferson got his truck off the mountain one way or another. When we got there his wife told us they had left a bit earlier to get started before it got too hot. We looped around the campground and found Cody breaking camp, we stopped and chatted for a minute before continuing up the canyon to the trail and to where Jefferson's truck was on the mountain. Upon our arrival we found Jefferson and Keith hard at work drilling through the assembly to make a hole where they could pin everything and get his steering working. After a while of Chris and I standing around "supervising" Jefferson got it sorted and back in working order. We cleaned up and got all the trucks turned around and heading back down the hill. I mentioned this trail is steep, well going down is actually IMHO a little more dicey feeling than going up. At the turn where Jefferson's steering let go I had to re-position my truck for a better line as it was getting a little bit too tippy on the line I was at. After a slow decent we were back to pavement, aired and up and headed back to the campground. Chris and I said our goodbyes to Jefferson and Keith and headed back to town to pack our things and head for home.

Although things didn't go to plan, still had a good time with everyone. Got to run some challenging trails and get up into the high country which always reminds me that I need to get up there more often. Thanks again to Alex, Brad, Chris, Cody, Garrett, Jefferson and Keith for coming along. If you guys have any pics please post them, I didn't have a chance to shoot that many this time and my go pro was being stupid and decided to foil my plans for a nice time lapse video of the run..
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Sherman Pass 10/27 Report 5 years 4 months ago #8240

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Good report, Jake. Too bad I miss those fantastic views from the peak.

Here's a link to the pictures we took...


Look forward to the next adventures.
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Sherman Pass 10/27 Report 5 years 4 months ago #8249

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Good Job Jake, thanks for putting it together.
Scott Horsley
SCLR President 2012-2014
2006 LR3
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