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Thread: Mad Torque, Real World Challenge 5, Camelback Mountain PHX

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Old 04-07-2014, 09:23 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Arizona
Posts: 74
Default Mad Torque, Real World Challenge 5, Camelback Mountain PHX

Time to crawl up one of the Phoenix metro area landmarks and one of the most popular hiking destinations here, Camelback Mountain. Located in Scottsdale, surrounded by posh homes, Spas and golf courses, the view here is magnificent. The trail however, is narrow (like 2ft in some cases, with more than 100ft. of drop on one side), steep and brutal, no wonder there were no takers when I posted in the forum if anyone wanted to come with me.

Recommendations if you want to run this trail. If you have a scaler forget it, not enough articulation or clearance. If you have a short wheelbase or high CG rig forget it, its backflip time every 10 ft on the tough sections. 1/10 crawlers would have a very tough or impossible time up here, although in some narrow crevices would be better than the 1/8 because you can squeeze through without getting wedged in. The 1/8 barely made it up some of the man-made step sections, I don’t think a 1/10 could have, in others it simply could not make it so neither would a 1/10. Probably a superclass comp rig would be the best choice for this trail with its larger diameter tires, however you don’t see them anywhere outside of a comp, so I don’t think anyone will try. The surface does not offer good traction in most places, the high foot traffic causes a lot of erosion, so there’s loose dirt everywhere in between and on some rocks.

Cut to the chase, did the Mad Torque made it? No, I had a mechanical failure with about ½ mile to reach the summit. Actually it’s not the Mad Torque’s fault, it was the only non-Exceed part on the rig what broke: the cheap aftermarket Towardpro MG946R servo. It was feeling a bit weird with its pivoting shaft since the last outing (was not 90 degrees to the servo case), but I thought it could make it since it was working strong, didn’t know the trail was so difficult high up and it was too much for the servo.

Well, here it goes in pictures:
The start of the trail at the dead end of Cholla Lane, I started at 11:30am:

First obstacle, all the man made steps to aid hikers go up the trail. In some parts, I actually drove the crawler on the rocks on the left shoulder of the trail, it was easier than going up the steps. The general issue I found here is that there is a lot of loose dirt in between the rocks so traction is not optimal.

First step section done, this is one of the easy parts of the trail, above the edge of the golf course.

One of the trail markers on the way up

In some steep parts of the trail seems like a concrete mixture was sloshed down the trail to control erosion and give more traction. One section higher up the trail seemed like it was probably inclined 35-40 degrees but the good traction made it actually pretty easy to climb. Even with rocks imbedded in the concrete mix were above the surface, the low center of gravity of the MOA design of the Mad Torque kept it going up without backflipping.

Another issue… when climbing this trail is the heavy foot traffic. It would not be more than 3-4 minutes before someone was coming behind me or in front. Then I had to move to the side of the trail and let them pass, and when you want to go you spot someone else or a group like 30 ft. away, so it’s more waiting time.

Hikers were generally interested and pleasant. The “cool!” remarks were endless… a mommy took a picture of the Mad Toque with his kid, another guy took a little video of it crawling on his phone… “it won’t make”, “do you have enough battery?” “are you the same guy a couple weeks back climbing at South Mountain? ”, “has it made it here on its own?” so the chit chat made the progress on the trail even slower sometimes…

Two more reasons why its so nice hiking here:

Sometimes the most natural sections were the easiest ones on this trail

Last edited by 2WheelFlyer; 04-07-2014 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 04-07-2014, 09:29 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Arizona
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Default Re: Mad Torque, Real World Challenge 5, Camelback Mountain PHX

A view of the altitude gained so far

A view to the other side, the Phoenician resort & Spa is below with its pools and golf course. You can also see the trail and the endless procession of hikers going up and down.

A bit higher up, with a formation of three Army Blackhawk helicopters, on their way to the Army headquarters near Papago park.

A view back and down to where the trail starts, right next to the Golf course. You can’t park here, so the first hike is from leaving your car like ½ mile away along Invergordon Road.

A view of the trail ahead:

In some section, the boulders seem to have been moved to form steps, of course suited more to a person climbing up, not a 6” crawler tire. A college girl sitting on a rock watching the crawler struggle a bit and change lines a couple times asked: “you try not to touch it?”… “yeah, that’s kinda like the point… driving it up”

And a bit higher up, here is where the Towardpro steering servo said “no more”:

This is the view from there. I had the stock servo in my backpack but it was already 1pm, the progress on the trail had been slow. My relatives had dropped me off and gone to nearby Scottsdale Fashion Mall, so it would be even later to get together for lunch if I tried to make repairs, keep on going the last ½ mile and then go back down. Decided to call it a day (not true, I used my RC drifter in the afternoon) and just attach the crawler to the backpack and hiked back down.

Conclusions… well the trail is not really suited for crawlers with the heavy foot traffic and dirt covering some rocks and steps. The scale of some steps is not made for a small RC driving through it. I had 1 rollover, (another I catched with my foot before the Mad Torque went rolling down the mountain), 1 backflip, like 6 times it got wedged in and needed to retrieve an reposition, and in like 10 sections I had to simply lift it clear of the big steps because it could not climb… add like 15 putts on the rear axle to help it go up some places or save it from being high centered too. Tough trail, and if you decide to come, bring a good spare servo.

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Old 04-08-2014, 06:08 AM   #3
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Bergen, Norway
Posts: 10
Default Re: Mad Torque, Real World Challenge 5, Camelback Mountain PHX

Nice locations! There looks to be some excellent crawler terrain in USA
I hope to find some mountains here in Norway also, but we have more forest, moss, water etc.
I report back in summer (june, july) if I find any good crawler terrain here where I live.
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Old 05-07-2014, 03:53 PM   #4
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Sandwich
Posts: 25
Default Re: Mad Torque, Real World Challenge 5, Camelback Mountain PHX

Thanks for posting the pictures. I went to school there in Phoenix back 9 years or so ago. Miss the area and Camelback Mountain. I use to hike there every Thursday and Saturday. It was a great work out plus the views are amazing. I bet the terrain for the crawler would get pretty tough after you get past the first hump. If I remember correctly.
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