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Old 12th September 2009, 17:35   #46
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As I near GV Kere, I see the familiar fork towards Karkala and I practically kick myself. There was no reason to go through Moodubidri, I could have gone from Karkala to Beltangady directly via Naravi and Bajagoli. Having done this stretch numerous times, it should have been the automatic choice. Due to some strange memory lapse, I had gone through Moodubidri and added 15Kms more to the trip. Damn!
LOL.. Not to mention the roads are much better on the Naravi stretch (except Naravi itself). Anyways, lovely pics and the place during the rains is beautiful as ever.

BTW, I think they should rename Gundya as Gundi, given the size of those craters on the road !!
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Old 12th September 2009, 21:35   #47
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As we were still enjoying the nature, someone drew attention to the fact that Viji is not having an easy time climbing the original hill. The original hill was obviously lot taller and had to be climbed in two phases, both are quite steep, but the last part of the second phase is really steep.

He was having trouble climbing the first phase itself, these Michelins I tell ya… Anyway, he reversed all the way back and managed to climb in the 2nd or 3rd attempt. However, the second phase of the hill was turning into a real challenge.

Monsoon Offroading/Trail-driving in Sakleshpur and Bisle Ghat-p9063637.jpg

Monsoon Offroading/Trail-driving in Sakleshpur and Bisle Ghat-p9063636.jpg

A zoomed close-up of the conundrum from the far hill.

Monsoon Offroading/Trail-driving in Sakleshpur and Bisle Ghat-p9063638.jpg

I just wondered why I never switched to the 50-200mm lens when this drama was unfolding, it would have given a very rare peek at the events from a unique angle. The answer came to me a moment later. I would have to be crazy to change lenses while fog and rain was slicing into us. No wonder the thought never occurred to me.

So I decided to head out and test the waters. Ready to leave.

Monsoon Offroading/Trail-driving in Sakleshpur and Bisle Ghat-p9063640.jpg

Monsoon Offroading/Trail-driving in Sakleshpur and Bisle Ghat-p9063641.jpg

Climbing down from the current hill was not a problem, but climbing the first phase of the original hill was not going to be easy. Since I had seen Viji and other making multiple attempts, I knew I had to bring my CJ340 advantages to bear, unleashing the crawling power while keeping the throttle very steady. No sudden revving which could overcome the traction and strand me. Also I kept one wheel outside of the earlier track to avoid slipping. And that worked, I climbed the first phase without a single slip.

Actually I fail to remember who first taught me the just-enough-throttle method of climbing, may be just by watching many other experts. But I have practiced it a lot in my backyard track. Back in May when Sudhir Kashyap was riding shot-gun on the CJ340 in my backyard track, he said “Haana, that’s the way to do it, just enough power, nothing more!” When you are climbing, if you just floor the pedal, you will just spin the wheels.

If I understand the theory correctly, this is how it goes. Torque is nothing but the minimum force required to turn the wheels. When you slowly raise the throttle, if the wheels have traction, the wheel will start turning when enough torque is transmitted, and the vehicle starts moving. However, if you floor the pedal, lot more torque is sent to the wheels. This force may not be enough to suddenly move the vehicle faster up the incline, but certainly enough to overcome the traction between the tyre and terrain. It always takes the easier path.

If the hill gets steeper as you climb, you can raise the throttle slowly to match the increased need for torque, but soon you will overcome the traction of the tyres. Between the increasing difficult of lifting the vehicle up the incline and overcoming the traction of tyres, the latter become easier. Therefore, if you don’t raise the throttle enough, you will stall the engine. If you raise the throttle enough, you will lose the traction and spin the wheels. This is when you need to switch tactics and use momentum. Experts feel free to jump in and correct me if I am wrong.

BTW, I am explaining all this so that it makes the reader understand the challenge we faced here. I needed 2nd low of CJ340 to overcome the first phase without slipping. But the same was not true for MM550s of Viji and Sreeraj. Considering the difference in axle ratio, they probably could have tried 1st low, but that could be too slow costing them on the momentum. I don’t know about Viji, but Sreeraj finally did it using pure momentum in 3rd low, that is using the Gypsy technique. But little did I know that Gypsy technique was the only way to tackle the second phase of the hill.

Monsoon Offroading/Trail-driving in Sakleshpur and Bisle Ghat-p9063643.jpg

Now closely look at the above image. Spidey is trying to climb the final part using the Jeep technique, which is the crawling technique I explained before. Spidey as many here know is more Jeep than the Jeeps and more Gypsy than the Gypsies. It is called the Jeepsy for that reason.

My CJ340 has the highest crawl ratio among Jeeps, but Spidey’ s crawl ratio is even higher thanks to rock-crawler gear set.

Spidey has Mud tyres unlike other vehicles in the convoy.

Spidey has Lock-right locker on the rear differential unlike the open differential on other vehicles in the convoy.

In other words, Spidey has the best chance of climbing this stretch using Jeep technique or crawl technique. But, it failed. Spidey for the first time in this avataar was unable to climb a hill using crawl technique. It even had an experienced Jeep driver driving it, yet the Jeep technique failed. However, Spidey has another technique in its quiver, it can always revert to the native skillset, the Gypsy technique. So that’s how it finally happened, Spidey flew up the hill on pure momentum and cleared it.

After watching it, I was quite depressed. If Spidey couldn’t do it with Jeep technique, there was very little chance I could do it in CJ340. Still, with the spirit of a Jeeper, I first tried the hill in Jeep technique, only to stall it 10 ft away from the top. As I engaged the brakes fully and depressed the clutch to engage reverse, I found the Jeep free rolling back. The brakes were not holding at all. We had driven through many water streams to come here, the drums must have been sufficiently wet by now. Therefore, brakes were not at all effective in a steep incline. Generally one should go back in reverse gear than free roll back in neutral. But I had no choice in the matter. Since the reverse gear does not have synchro mesh, I can’t engage reverse gear when it is moving or rolling back. The gear lever kicks back with a loud kat-kat-kat sound.

I came back and informed Sreeraj that Jeep technique is unusable in this incline. Both Jeeps grimly watch the hill as we walk the track for a final confirmation.

Monsoon Offroading/Trail-driving in Sakleshpur and Bisle Ghat-p9063645.jpg

After couple attempts each, we both were convinced that only the Gypsy technique would work and not the Jeep technique. In most offroad scenerios, the SWB CJ340 holds an advantage of the MWB MM550. But this was not one of them. MM550 can easily outrun CJ340 when it comes to speed. Also, the ground surface was not at all level forcing the vehicles to bounce.

MM550 XDB advantage over CJ340 on this hill climb
  1. Heavier weight helps get better traction.
  2. More powerful engine
  3. MM550 could approach the last part much faster than CJ340 because MM550 would bounce lot lesser than CJ340 during the approach. The reason why I couldn't never gain enough speed in any gear was because of the bouncing over uneven surface.
  4. One can quickly switch gears thanks to BA10. The KMT90 on CJ340 is way too notchy.

In the 5 attempts I made, I was able to switch to reverse only twice on the return roll back. In the other 3 times, the Jeep started rolling back and I couldn’t switch to reverse. I just controlled the steering until level ground was reached and brakes found some purchase.

Finally, Sreeraj was able to garner enough momentum in 3rd low to almost reach the top, quickly switched gear and made it to the top. However, I soon realised I can’t achieve that kind of speed bouncing over the bushes. Therefore, after my fifth attempt I asked to be winched or towed since I was 10 ft away from the top.

At first Viji thought of using my winch, but my remote was locked away in my toolbox that was quite unreachable in the angle I was hanging. Since we had other options like tow rope, we went that way. However, I don’t have any tow hooks in the front. I really need to get a pair of D-rings made. I was finally pulled out using the tree saver on the front axle.

The slope after the final climb. I believe only the Spidey, Sha’s Gypsy and Sreeraj’s MM550 could climb this without help. All the rest were towed or winched up.

Monsoon Offroading/Trail-driving in Sakleshpur and Bisle Ghat-p9063646.jpg

After being towed up the hill.

Monsoon Offroading/Trail-driving in Sakleshpur and Bisle Ghat-p9063650.jpg

The final adieu to the hills.

Monsoon Offroading/Trail-driving in Sakleshpur and Bisle Ghat-p9063653.jpg

Our guide’s ride.

Monsoon Offroading/Trail-driving in Sakleshpur and Bisle Ghat-p9063655.jpg

VIkram Gowda, the man who made it all possible.

Monsoon Offroading/Trail-driving in Sakleshpur and Bisle Ghat-p9063656.jpg

After this we all drove back to Chandan’s resort. Bangalore folks were planning to drive back the same night, I on the other hand had no such illusions. Driving Bisle Ghat at night courting elephants is not my idea of fun. So I drove back to Sanivarsante along with the cousin, and had a good sleep. BTW, while Chandan resort/estate is in Hassan district, Sanivarsante is in Coorg district.

After having Coorg Akki roti (rice rotis) for breakfast, I took off at 9:07 AM on my drive back home. Roads get really bad after getting out of Coorg. First one hour saw me cover only 31 Kms, and the next 29kms took 1.5 hours. Basically, the 60kms from Sanivarsante to Kukke Subramanya through Bisle Ghat took me 2.5 hours to cover, with some photo-op stops. You have already seen the Bisle Ghat roads in the first page, no need to explain it further. I finally reached home at 3:37PM, taking exactly 6.5 hours to cover 232Kms.

Just after entering Bisle ghat.

Monsoon Offroading/Trail-driving in Sakleshpur and Bisle Ghat-p9073657.jpg

Foggy road beckons me.

Monsoon Offroading/Trail-driving in Sakleshpur and Bisle Ghat-p9073660.jpg

Sigh! I like the westerns. But this is nothing like it. No horse, no sunset.

So I just got on the Jeep and rode into the fog...
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Old 12th September 2009, 22:23   #48
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samu i think your tires also gave up on that final climb, you need big fat block threads which will spit out the mud and NOT glaze like race slicks, me thinks.
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Old 12th September 2009, 22:26   #49
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WOW!!!! Samurai San, Enjoyed every bit of it. You are a unique blend of photographer and writer. Looking forward for next meeting!!!

--Sree--
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Old 12th September 2009, 22:29   #50
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samu i think your tires also gave up on that final climb, you need big fat block threads which will spit out the mud and NOT glaze like race slicks, me thinks.
I climbed it on puny NDMS . But as Samu told, it has nothing to do with Tyres, no matter what tyres u have; it was only Momentum, Momentum and Momentum. Nothing else...

PS: Jaggu, you really missed it man!!!!

--Sree--
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Old 12th September 2009, 22:41   #51
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If I understand the theory correctly, this is how it goes. Torque is nothing but the minimum force required to turn the wheels. When you slowly raise the throttle, if the wheels have traction, the wheel will start turning when enough torque is transmitted, and the vehicle starts moving. However, if you floor the pedal, lot more torque is sent to the wheels. This force may not be enough to suddenly move the vehicle faster up the incline, but certainly enough to overcome the traction between the tyre and terrain. It always takes the easier path.

If the hill gets steeper as you climb, you can raise the throttle slowly to match the increased need for torque, but soon you will overcome the traction of the tyres. Between the increasing difficult of lifting the vehicle up the incline and overcoming the traction of tyres, the latter become easier. Therefore, if you don’t raise the throttle enough, you will stall the engine. If you raise the throttle enough, you will lose the traction and spin the wheels. This is when you need to switch tactics and use momentum. Experts feel free to jump in and correct me if I am wrong.
A lesson well explained there Sharath , infact I was in a situation with my Scorp' today wherein I applied accelerator(3/4th throttle) and the vehicle would only go sideways. There was traction however dint help me move forward and the Scorp' would only go left and right sideways.

However to my rescue came a tractor driver who said " saar swalpa accelerator kodi, jaasthi beda" (translates to " sir please apply minimum throttle " ) .Slotted back into 1st gear and applied minimum throttle and the vehicle moved out slowly. Luckily I had a tractor around which could have come to my rescue. A small lesson learnt from an individual who drives a tractor.
This was incline at an angle of about 45 deg's and the soil was really loose.I did the climb and pinched myself for not having picked up a 4x4.
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Old 12th September 2009, 22:55   #52
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samu i think your tires also gave up on that final climb, you need big fat block threads which will spit out the mud and NOT glaze like race slicks, me thinks.
You mean like the mud tyres on Spidey? That too failed with better crawl ratio and full locker on the rear diff. No Jaggu, you have to be there to see it. The Geo AT-S is no race slick, currently it is the most popular AT tyre among Bangalore offroaders.
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Old 12th September 2009, 23:10   #53
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Wow....Wow....Wow.... Fabulous stuff Samurai San. Both photography and the terrain is terrific..... I envy you all guys and at the same time salute the spirit. Personally, the best 4x4 travelogue for me, just for the quality of pictures.

Just love the weather.......

regards
tifosi.
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Old 12th September 2009, 23:11   #54
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Originally Posted by sreerajunnithan View Post
WOW!!!! Samurai San, Enjoyed every bit of it. You are a unique blend of photographer and writer. Looking forward for next meeting!!!
Thanks for that compliment Sreeraj, I read lot of books regularly, so I like writing a bit myself. BTW, where are you hiding all your photos, I just saw one so far.

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However to my rescue came a tractor driver who said " saar swalpa accelerator kodi, jaasthi beda" (translates to " sir please apply minimum throttle " ) .Slotted back into 1st gear and applied minimum throttle and the vehicle moved out slowly. Luckily I had a tractor around which could have come to my rescue. A small lesson learnt from an individual who drives a tractor.
One gets much better understanding of this after driving offroad regularly. And tractor drivers do it everyday.

Last edited by Samurai : 12th September 2009 at 23:12.
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Old 13th September 2009, 01:12   #55
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slightly rocking the steering also helps aid traction as tyres get to grip new terrain. In soft sand you invariably need to do this as a small mound keeps building up ahead of the tyres impeding progress

If a particular climb is proving difficult you may also consider deflating your tyres to about 15 psi to increase the footprint. Care needs to be taken that the surface doesn't have sharp rocks as they would bust the tyre

Last edited by DKG : 13th September 2009 at 01:23.
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Old 13th September 2009, 08:04   #56
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this travelogue is simply awesome and for us non offroaders, this is the stuff that we keep waiting for.
@samurai, awesome blog.Keep them coming.
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Old 13th September 2009, 08:49   #57
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A GREAT writeup Samurai. Makes one relive the moments.

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..The original hill was obviously lot taller and had to be climbed in two phases, both are quite steep, but the last part of the second phase is really steep.
I have to mention the GREAT performance by the 1.0 Gypsy driven by Siddu. To climb the first hill he took a start from the 3rd hill and climbed the hill in some 60-70 speed. If his alternator wire etc had not konked off, he would have climbed the first hill on his own.

Quote:
Spidey is trying to climb the final part using the Jeep technique, which is the crawling technique I explained before. ...

Spidey for the first time in this avataar was unable to climb a hill using crawl technique. It even had an experienced Jeep driver driving it,

...Spidey flew up the hill on pure momentum and cleared it.
He he. Vijay was trying to crawl in 1st L here. No way that would work on the final part. in 2nd L with momentum is went up like a gypsy should :-)


Quote:
I believe only the Spidey, Sha’s Gypsy and Sreeraj’s MM550 could climb this without help. All the rest were towed or winched up.
Sree's MM550, in the final 3-4 mts had to be pulled up with 'man power' else it would have rolled back again

Quote:
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samu i think your tires also gave up on that final climb, you need big fat block threads which will spit out the mud and NOT glaze like race slicks, me thinks.
This part required momentum -- nothing else. Siddu was on MRF Zigma and he almost came up till the last 5-6 mts using just momentum from the 3rd hill
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Old 13th September 2009, 09:19   #58
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I have to mention the GREAT performance by the 1.0 Gypsy driven by Siddu. To climb the first hill he took a start from the 3rd hill and climbed the hill in some 60-70 speed. If his alternator wire etc had not konked off, he would have climbed the first hill on his own.
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Sree's MM550, in the final 3-4 mts had to be pulled up with 'man power' else it would have rolled back again
See the contrast. The first one would have made, because its Gypsy. The later wont, because it was a jeep. Hehe

Yes. Sree was at the "luckiest" point where we atleast had some place to stand and give those much required man-power to his jeep.

Man, I was sitting inside the 1.0 gypsy and recorded both the climb in video. Its been put up in the other thread. See that to know how much bumpy the ride was
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Old 13th September 2009, 09:57   #59
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slightly rocking the steering also helps aid traction as tyres get to grip new terrain. In soft sand you invariably need to do this as a small mound keeps building up ahead of the tyres impeding progress
DKG, the lack of traction here is more due to the angle of incline rather than terrain it itself. You have to consider here that all the offroaders present were quite experienced, especially in this kind of terrain.

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If a particular climb is proving difficult you may also consider deflating your tyres to about 15 psi to increase the footprint. Care needs to be taken that the surface doesn't have sharp rocks as they would bust the tyre
The surface did have rocks, many of them hidden under the green bushes. I did consider deflating, but I had't carried my inflater this time. But unlike in sand, here you have to consider the chance of sidewall damage, which is very difficult to fix. I have a sidewall damage on GV tyre, so I know. However, after seeing that even mud tyres didn't prevail, there was no point thinking in terms of traction.

Let me repeat what every participant is saying, this hill climb needed pure momentum, no amount of traction would have helped in the last part.

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this travelogue is simply awesome and for us non offroaders, this is the stuff that we keep waiting for.
@samurai, awesome blog.Keep them coming.
Thanks, but this travelogue already ended.

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Originally Posted by khan_sultan View Post
A GREAT writeup Samurai. Makes one relive the moments.
Thanks, actually I aim for that effect. When we read this after a year or two, it can really make you relive it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by khan_sultan View Post
I have to mention the GREAT performance by the 1.0 Gypsy driven by Siddu. To climb the first hill he took a start from the 3rd hill and climbed the hill in some 60-70 speed. If his alternator wire etc had not konked off, he would have climbed the first hill on his own.
It was a very risky move considering the unseen imperfection of the surface, there were many rocks hidden under the foliage.

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See the contrast. The first one would have made, because its Gypsy. The later wont, because it was a jeep. Hehe
It is all part of the greater conspiracy against Jeeps.

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Man, I was sitting inside the 1.0 gypsy and recorded both the climb in video. Its been put up in the other thread. See that to know how much bumpy the ride was
That was one awesome video, I wonder how any speed was achieved with so much bouncing.
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Old 13th September 2009, 12:45   #60
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One query,
What tyres is Vikram Gowda on? His pick up seems immensely capable with that snorkel and those tyres.

Cost factor will help too.
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