Report From Bald Mountain - 2012 Jeep Wrangler Long-Term Road Test

2012 Jeep Wrangler Long Term Road Test

2012 Jeep Wrangler: Report From Bald Mountain

August 03, 2012

 wrangler_bald1.jpg Have Jeep, will travel. I've had our Wrangler for more than a week and figured it would be an injustice if I didn't let it play in the dirt at some point. So yesterday I convinced a friend of mine on his day off to head up into the mountains with me for some wheeling.

After doing some research, we chose the Bald Mountain OHV route near Shaver Lake, Calif., as it sounded like it'd be a good fit -- not too hard (a good thing considering my novice off-roading skills) but still hard enough that you probably want a modified vehicle and be challenged. And once you're at the top of the mountain, there are some impressive views of the surrounding lands from an abandoned fire lookout tower.

Pictures and observations follow.

(All photos courtesy of Victor Gonzalez)

 wrangler_bald2.jpg Clear skies, open trail. It's a good start.

 wrangler_bald3.jpg I really like the 33-inch tires and 3-inch lift combo we have on the Jeep. It's enough to make a notable improvement in off-road ability without seriously harming on-highway manners.

 wrangler_bald4.jpg Love the Jeep's hill holder function for the manual transmission. It makes climbing so much easier.

 wrangler_bald5.jpg Since I didn't bring an air compressor and it would be a long highway drive back, we decided to keep the stock air pressures unless we found ourselves lacking in traction, at which point we'd air down. Never did have to do that, though.

 wrangler_bald6.jpg I've heard you look twice as cool if you stick your head out the window.

 wrangler_bald7.jpg The top of Bald Mountain is, indeed, pretty bald.

 Wrangler_bald8.jpg Although this picture was taken when descending, this stepped style of rock formations posed the biggest challenge for climbing. As Dan found out in Moab, our Jeep has a pretty meager crawl ratio because of the regular transfer case, bigger tires/wheels and ultra-tall 3.21 gears. The Jeep even stalled one time as it just didn't have enough gearing to keep the V6 revving enough. After that, I decided to carry more speed than I would have preferred to make it over obstacles. We really need 3.73 or 4.10 differential gears in this thing.

 wrangler_bald9.jpg Finally made it to the top.


Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor 

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