Wow, that melted out from two weeks ago, not too surprising; I guess there was no worry about skiing the steep part! lol
Is that picture more sketchy in person? This looks less sketchy than the Grey's and Torreys drive (which I managed in a STICK SHIFT Outback, albeit with lots of sweating and cursing of the people ahead of me stopping on uphills) or Rollins Pass. But ... looks can be deceiving.
That section is about the norm although some of the switchbacks are a bit more chewed up. You could high-center in a couple spots with 4WD if you really tried, but the worst spots are a couple holes in scattered places along the way and a water hole/mud hole depending if you go left or right at one spot. Poor tires could get you stuck there.
Depending on your vehicle and desire to get next to the outside edge you might have trouble making some of the switches in one pass. My Tacoma's turning radius isn't great, but it makes it up easily by hugging the outside edge at the beginning of each switch. The hardest part about this ride is not letting your beer go flat; rocking rolling roads are bad for carbonated beverages.
It is about equal to Rollins Pass if just a bit more risky with aforementioned holes and water/mud hole.
I'm curious to know how @NayBreak fared at the water/mud hazard. I've not seen anyone go through it so don't know how deep it might be. It has changed a bit since I last drove that far; it looks deeper. As my truck isn't lifted a am concerned about high centering on an unseen rock or center ridge.
That surprises me that they bailed, though as you mentioned if your not used to trail running the trail could be a little uncomfortable. I am amazed that they didn't have the common sense to not park in the switch back though...
I appreciate the efforts to stay on trail. Far too many trails have been closed from people forming illegal circumvents of obstacles
So while I realize this is a bit off topic, but since this thread gets all the CO traffic ....
If you have bootfitters in the Denver metro area (besides Larry in Boulder who is closed currently) that you have had good experience with I'd appreciate a PM. Starting the boot project now in case a summer deal from a good fitter is to be had.
Glad you clarified because I was about to say someone should lose their man/woman card for bailing and leaving the Jeep where they did. That is not a difficult trail. I totally agree with being smart enough to stop if feeling uncomfortable. I'm pretty sure I had those feelings when hitting Black Bear the 1st time and only time. Not to digress or hijack but since you are a wheeler you might find this interesting.
Not necessarily getting stuck in harder places is kinda of the point. If your wheeling its to see how difficult of terrain you can conquer. The couple were a little foolish to go out alone but according to reports the bank collapsed under them so not entirely their fault.
We'll go get people, especially if kids or weather or injuries are involved. The vehicle might be another story. Off-road wreckers am expensive!
Black Bear has a pretty severe pucker factor.
Perhaps an intermediate step to closing the pass would be to simply paste some tow truck bills at the entrance on top of Red Mountain. I think a big pile of 5 digit extrication bills would deter quite a lot of the unprepared.
On the flipside, there is a youtube video of a guy rolling over BBP in his Subaru Forester. He had a little freakout in the scree field that leads into the switchbacks, but otherwise, no sweat.
Yeah. Aside from the engine braking aspect, a Subaru isn't the worst choice because there isn't huge technical aspects- the biggest challenges are the very limited shelf width in a couple of areas and the VERY limited space in several switchbacks. This is a conversation that mimics the exposure discussions of ski terrain.
If somebody put a gun to my head and forced me to negotiate the pass in a 1996 Outback or a Hummer H1, Outback all the way. Many people that venture onto the pass with fullsize trucks need to back down some switchbacks.