'96 Okanagan Jeep Jamboree

Author: Robert Bryce

Place: Osoyoos, B.C., Canada, right on the border between the U.S. and Canada

Dates: June 12-15, 1996

Jeeps: ~60-65

Tuesday night, I caught an evening ferry and stayed at the Hansens' residence in North Vancouver. I seem to do that a lot. Anyway, the plan was to head up on Wednesday morning and do a couple days of pre- running before the actual Jeep Jamboree on Friday and Saturday. Pam and I were asked to be trail leaders, even though our entry fees couldn't be refunded.


Dave and Pam Hansen and I started out from North Vancouver at about 7am. After waiting in Vancouver rush hour traffic longer than anyone wanted to, we were off. Dave originally wasn't going to bring his Grand, but Rob Matthews, the fellow who runs all the Canadian Jeep Jamborees, talked him into it. Pam and I cruised steadily to Osoyoos while Dave had to occasionally ran ahead - to keep himself awake, he says.

On the descent into Osoyoos, we stopped momentarily. We managed to pick up Rob Matthews on the C.B. Apparently he was stuck on Mt. Baldy but said we could/should come up once we've set up camp. Well, it took us (me) 2 hours to set up camp (thanx Pam for setting up my tent), switch tires (old 31's have been relegated to highway use only), eat lunch, and gas up. On our way up, we picked up Rob Matthews. He said he had moved about 150 yards from where he was when we last contacted him. Snow!

Well, we eventually caught up to his group. The trail was much the same as last year. Snow banks here and there, etc. Looks like they did some trail grooming. Soon after we caught up to them, we were told to start shovelling. The spot where Rob Matthews was "playing" was starting to collect some water. Shovels were needed to drain it. So while we were shovelling, Rob continued to blast into the snow, gain about 6 inches, get yanked back by Chris Kruse, blast ahead again, etc. After another hour of that, it was decided another plan of attack was needed.

We shortly found out why Rob was wanting Dave's Grand here. Grands make good plows.

We backtracked to the trailhead and proceeded to the end of the trail and attacked it from the other direction while Rob Matthews returned to town to do some business. Chris Kruse led the downhill attack in his 35-inched, locked F&R YJ. Next was Bruce "Hippie Hunter" Hilliard, then Dave in his Grand, Pam, then finally me. It took us a few hours of digging, pushing, dragging, winching and, well, playing, but we pushed the trail through the other way. In the process of doing so, we saw one of Jeep's Grand inventions working, where you're in full-time 4wd low range but only one wheel will turn when you're stuck. And you can't lock it into part-time. Sounds like they have fixed that in the newer Grands. Good thing. This feature didn't help Dave too much. Grand snow plows know how to get stuck!

On our descent, we picked up Rob Matthews on the CB. He needed someone to use their cell to phone into town for a tow truck. His rear axle seized. The story goes that the rear axle was recently completely rebuilt, the Jeep was trailered to the show, and this was the first day for the axle. And someone had forgot to add the oil! The only thing salvagable was the ARB. Over the next 2 days, they rebuilt the rear axle again, in the parking lot. This time, they remembered the oil.


Rob Matthews sent us up Baldy again. He wanted this road good enough for stockers. So we ran up and down the hard section 3-4 times and threw in a truck-load of rocks in the spot that stucked me last year. (Click here for that trip report.) Dave, Bruce, and I went ahead of that group while Pam, Mark (YJ with 35's, rear Dana 60, locked), and a few other trail leaders and participants were behind us. After we piled in the rocks in my stuck hole from last year, we waited...and waited...and waited...and finally backtracked. One YJ's front end vacuum disconnect and died, so they were in the process of hot-wiring it into 4wd using a hose clamp. Trail fixes!

We hooked up with some other guys, "Boom Boom", "Muskeg", and I think Kim. Very tricked out vehicles, a CJ, Willies, and a YJ. They had tried and failed to break open the rest of the trail up the mountain. They got further than Houtan and Mark the previous day, but they told stories of airing down to 4 and 2 psi, winching, 5-foot deep snow, etc.

We didn't get much 'wheeling in that day 'cause of the time piling rocks and fixing the YJ. So later that evening, instead of going to registration, Houtan, Dave, Darcy, and I preran another trail, called Black Mtn. I rode with Dave. Good enough trail. Not too much to report other than Houtan is afraid of cattle.


The first official day of this Jamboree. Pam, and I were "assigned" to Black Mtn. We were to act as trail leaders. I had Cam, the camera man riding with me; we were were able to stay near the front of the pack, out of the dust. That was nice. A few decent hill-climbs. People were having fun. Then we came to the final climb up Black Mtn. Trail leaders made it up ok. The TJ in the group made it up easy enough. So did some of the YJ's. Then came BulletProof. This 35-inched YJ which still had his sway bars hooked up, no lockers. He made a mess out of the hill while proving that 35-inch rubber can make really good shovels when asked to.

While people were eating lunch, a few of us went down this long hill. I said I'd try to back up the hill. Well, that resulted in all of 5 seconds of video tape! No problem! And my truck is open diffed right now. Wheel travel and new tires are both good things!

Returning to the trailhead, we came across a tempting mud-hole, but we decided against it since we couldn't raise Rob Matthews on the CB and it was on private land. But upon reaching the trailhead, many of us still didn't have our fill of 'wheeling for the day, so we headed back up the trail to a known "ok" mud-hole. I promptly got stuck. So did the next 4 or 5 guys who tried it (lost count). One guy claimed that *only* reason why he got stuck was earth got in his way. Uhm hm. So a few of us decided to attack the mudhole from the other direction. First was a TJ. Yes, I am proud to report that TJ's, even the 4-cylinder ones, can indeed fly when asked to! He still got stuck. Next was a nicely done YJ who made it using the speed approach. Nobody else seemed to want to try it, so what-the-hell, I will again! 2nd-gear, half-throttle. Caught the first portion, climbed out, apparently caught a bit of air myself, dived into the deep section (18 inches of soopy mud) and ... kept going! No locker! Made it! That felt good. But in the process, I managed to lose my under-bed spare tire. Ah well, casualties.

After this, we took some group photos and returned to camp, 'cause we were all starting to get hungry. A second group tried that hole after us, but only one YJ did, he got seriously stuck, requiring winching, and they gave up after that. And they call themselves Jeepers!

That evening, a few of us still wanted to play so we returned to the mudhole we had originally passed on and played a bit. Houtan ended up with one very muddy YJ after that. We were all fairly modified so nobody got stuck.

Home-made margaritas ruled the night. Thanks, Hippie Hunter!


Decent breakfast. Rob Matthews comes around to our table and says "Rob, we need your truck". Apparently, there was another hole which had developed on Baldy and they needed something to haul the rocks down to it. So who else to ask, but the guy with the only Comanche there?

6 of us headed up and threw 2-3 truck-loads of rocks into the hole. That took all of 1.5 hours. What were we gonna do for the rest of the day? Well, I wanted to continue up Mt. Baldy. The rest of the road up hadn't been opened up, and I wanted to see what was stopping them. So did Buddy (the ARB rep), Tony who runs the Perry Sound Jamboree (sounds like fun - the Jamboree, not the person!), and Kevin, in a relatively stock YJ.

So up we went. Snow got deep. Then deeper. Then shallow. Hm. That's where the last guys stopped. We kept going...and going...and going. ~2 hours later, we were within a 15 minute hike of the top. Buddy had broken most of the trail for Kevin and I. Tony did a superb job of spotting. I took the lead for a short section and was able to punch through another section of deep snow. Buddy took the lead again, climbed a short waterfall section, and ran into deep snow. It was 5 feet deep from there to the summit. I pulled up next to him, about 10 yards past the waterfall, and parked for pictures.

Pam adds: Boys will be boys. While Rob and his group went up the mountain to play in the snow, the rest of us - Darcy and Colette in a CJ7, Hippie Hunter and Karen in another unique CJ7 and Dave and I - went to find some mud and do some exploring. We were looking for a specific mud hole which Darcy remembered from the year before. We managed to find a good mud hole on the Lamont Trail but another group lead by Ed and Marilyn Wilson were busy having a go at it. It was fun to watch this group in the mud as for many, it was the first such experience. Many of them got stuck, and had to be tugged or winched out, depending on the situation. After they finished, we decided it was time to play. At one point in this mud hole (it's very long), there was a large hole to make things interesting. We all managed to walk through with no problems, keeping the vehicles relatively clean. Dave decided he wanted to drive my Jeep through the mud. He went back through the mud hole with no problems and turned around to come back to where we were waiting. He tackled the mud hole with gusto! No longer was the Jeep relatively clean; there was mud (chunks of it) inside and out. When he hit the large hole, the front end was in the air. We have pictures to prove it! There was no way I was getting in a muddy passenger seat, so Dave had to sit in the mess he made. We then headed back to the campsite and called it an early day. We were able to have showers and get cleaned up before the rest of the groups got back to camp.

Buddy and I hiked ~10 minutes to the top for pics. While driving back down, we met up with Houtan and about 8 "adventurous" participants. They continued up to the base of the waterfall, but no further either. But while they were playing, going uphill from us, a rock slide formed on the road right behind them. How did that happen? I dunno. I saw nothing. Really. I had nothing to do with it.

I talked to the participants later that evening. They had fun on the mini (very mini) Rubicon rock slide (which I wasn't involved in creating... really!) Unfortunately, Houtan had a stressful day and didn't enjoy it at all.

Margaritas ruled the night again.


When we left for Vancouver, Rob Matthews was assembling another group to finish breaking open the trail up Mt. Baldy. He had a number of TJ's from Chrysler showing up on Tuesday, and he wanted the road open. We returned to Vancouver in "limp-mode", since Pam didn't have any rear shocks. Somehow, she managed to break both rear shock mounts off the spring pads during the weekend. [Pam adds: The first one went on Friday. We removed the shock and carried on. The second one went (presumably in the mud hole) on Saturday. We also removed the second rear shock and carried on. It made for a bouncy ride, especially on the trail.]



Robert Bryce ([email protected])