Trip Report Pritchett and Coyote Canyon


Well-Known Member
A few weeks back I was chatting with Tim Saunders and it came to light that I’d never done Coyote Canyon. He responded with a screenshot of the permit calendar and we set a day for this weekend. Due to the 7 rig limit on the permit, it was a pretty exclusive trip with vetted vehicles and drivers. The field was STACKED. We had a great time.

Friday morning we started Pritchett around 9ish. Pretty early on Tim found a clearance issue with the new shock tower spreader he had just installed. It was a little tight to the motor and when it torqued over under power, one of the intake cover mounting bosses contacted it and broke off, introducing a massive vacuum leak and unmetered air into the engine. The IAC couldn’t compensate and it was barely running. Outcome a pair of pliers to hold the boss and a Leatherman to cut it down. I pulled out my super glue from my tire repair kit and we were off to the races again.

About the time me and the few right behind me hit the courtyard area we heard on the radio one of the rigs was overheating. We waited a bit and they ultimately decided to head back out to troubleshoot the issue. When the remaining couple of rigs caught up the remaining 6 of us carried on. The next slow down spot was the drop in just below Chewy. Apparently it is now called Down and Dirty. The traditional line driving a bias down into the wash on the far right is probably possible but would be very uncomfortable. It washed out last fall at the very bottom and there is a 6-7 foot deep hole now. Sad to see that there is a bypass that goes even further to the right to drop in. It may or may not be legal. We assumed not legal and took the new and approved line 50 feet to the left of the old main line. It’s a steep drop that is a little uncomfortable to line up to and start descending. The group made it through without much drama. We waited briefly at Chewy for a couple sxs to finish winching up after which the group drove up and we were clear within 10 mins or so. It wasn’t long before we caught up to the utvs again and they let us pass. They were cool guys. We made quick work of the playground below rocker knocker and moved on up the hill. I made a feeble half hearted attempt at the more traditional line on rocker knocker and when it didn’t immediately work, resorted to the old stand by straight up shot. Matt Hornback attempted the straight up line a few times but ultimately decided on the traditional line. The rest of the group also ran that line.

The broken stairs were uneventful and onto axle hill. As I crested the top my brake pedal went to the floor. I pumped the pedal and it didn’t come back. As the rest of the group came up I popped the hood and looked into the problem. I quickly found a leaking fitting in the front axle branch. And it wasn’t loose. Sigh. Derrick Olsen happened to have a quart of brake fluid. I filled up my very empty reservoir and decided I wasn’t going to continue up to the top of yellow hill. The group made quick work of the son of rockpile and yellow hill and got the obligatory photo at the top. The plan was to turn around and run back down the canyon. While I waited for the group to return I got my Jeep turned around. By the time they got back down to axle hill those utvs were winching up axle hill. Once they cleared I lined up, locked it in 1st gear and grabbed all the cutter brakes that I could. It was a relatively quick and slightly out of control descent but otherwise harmless. At the bottom I remembered I have a 3 speed tcase. Since swapping in the 6 speed trans I have only used the 2.4:1 low range. The descent would have been much better had I been in the 4.3:1 range. I swapped to that and the remainder of the trip down the trail was much more controlled and required only feathering the cutter brakes rather than pulling on them for all I was worth.

When we got back to town I went to car quest to buy a flare tool and also a new line just in case I couldn’t flare it. The flare tool ended up being junk and the new line ended up leaking and wouldn’t seal. So back to car quest to return the flare tool and buy another line. The 2nd line was perfect. No leaks. Bled the front circuit and I was back in business. Onto the diner for dinner and make sure everyone else was ready for coyote canyon the next day.

We met at the parking area just off 191 at 9am and got unloaded and headed towards the trail. We lost one in the group from Pritchett because he wasn’t on the permit, but gained another.

We started up the trail and were making great time. Competent drivers that know their rigs really makes for some ability to chew up terrain. In short order we were at the hardest obstacle. Tim was leading the group and started into it. As he was cutting hard driver there was a small pop and all of a sudden his steering got really easy. Uh oh. The steering knuckle where the drag link connects failed. Less than ideal. We decided to remove the drag link and he’d carry on with Bluetooth steering linkage. Because he has hydro assist he had directional control at the limits of the steering locks. We got him through the z turn obstacle and somewhat off to the side so I could navigate the obstacle and get I front of Tim to be an easy winch anchor should the need arise.

We carried on and only needed to winch Tim once. Not bad considering that Tim had little better than suggesting the direction his tires should go. The descent back into the wash was relatively drama free. Good trip. Good times. And I think coyote is probably my favorite trail in Moab now. Enjoy some photos.

One comment on this photo, it was nice of the group to leave an empty spot for my Jeep. The joke was that was so they could tag me in the image give me a #dnf 😂😆
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