Part 6: Elk Ridge to Beef Basin


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The Trip

We had a nice camp on Elk Ridge although the evening's social hour was stopped short by rain.  Next morning, the weather was cold but clear; we were at 8500' altitude.  Our training topic for the day was extrication equipment.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

The quad copter got a nice shot of our group campsite on Elk Ridge.

Chris displayed various kinds of extrication equipment including tow ropes, straps, safety rated shackles and pulleys for wire rope.

Crosby is the de-facto standard for lifting shackles.  This one is rated at about 35,000 pounds.

This rope is rated at 74,000 pounds.

A safety rated pulley.

A different style of pulley.

Chris started the briefing on extrication equipment.  The briefing covered basic equipment, hardware ratings and do's and don'ts of equipment selection.

Our guide had a set of these MaxTrax flotation plates that he kept on his Land Rover.  This set was cracked because he used them to extract his 40,000 pound motor home.

We broke camp and headed down Elk Ridge toward Beef Basin.

We went through Big Notch and got a nice view of the peaks of the Abajo Range.

We all dismounted at Big Notch for photos.

The notch provided great views of the Abajo Range and the nearby canyons.

The canyons were both rugged and colorful.

On top of the mesa past Big Notch we stopped to regroup.  The mesa had nice pine trees and plenty of great spots to camp.

We got all the trucks to the side of the road to let any potential oncoming traffic pass unimpeded.

We found a nice meadow on the mesa and assembled for a group photo.

Given that it was Memorial Day weekend, Rob brought his flag and pole.  L to R: Mark and Gail, Vince, Bill Burke, Chris and Ann, John, Brad and Oksana, Bill and Kathleen and Rob,.

Oksana was nice enough to take a photo of me next to Thor.

Further down the trail we got a view of Cleopatra's Throne in the distance.

The trail went past both large and small cliffs.

Kathleen was riding with Rob and took this photo of Thor going past the red rock cliffs.

We began our descent into Beef Basin.  The exposed formations in the center of the photo are part of Salt Canyon.

Brad and Oksana negotiate a tight switchback on the Beef Basin trail.

Salt Canyon with the La Salle range in the distance.

The harsh environment killed this Juniper tree, but it also preserved it after death.

The group continues the descent into Beef Basin past huge cliffs.

Looking back from the descent we could see the complex erosion patterns in Salt Canyon.

We passed this nice hoodoo en-route to our camp in Beef Basin.

A final view of Salt Creek Canyon before we cross the ridge into Beef Basin.

Bill Burke, our guide, found a nice camp spot with enough room for all the trucks and we set up for the night.  The winds were calm and the temperatures mild.

The extraction training was very useful and demonstrated the need for fully-rated equipment for these heavy rigs.

Tomorrow, we head out of Beef Basin to the canyon overlook for Salt Creek.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2014, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.