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Thread: Mad Torque Real World Challenge 6, Grand Canyon

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Old 12-03-2014, 10:22 PM   #1
Rock Stacker
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Arizona
Posts: 74
Default Mad Torque Real World Challenge 6, Grand Canyon

Since my previous trail adventures I have never touched the mechanicals on the Mad Torque, so I decided to perform some maintenance during the long summer hibernation here in AZ. I removed the rear motor to clean it and the cleaning fluid came as clean as it went in...incredible...these low turn motors are nothing like the motors on my ECX Torments that gush out carbon and dirt after just a couple uses. So I got lazy and decided not to remove the front motor, since its protected by the skidplate, so it would be even cleaner, right? I just checked the metal gears (looking like new and without broken teeth), lubed the gears for the first time ever (made it quieter) and re-set the pinion mesh front and rear. everything else was OK, no lost oil in the shocks; screws were tight, lubed the ball ends and bearings and that was it.

So, now its time to hit the trails again, so I decided to go a little bigger, big like this:

I am pressed for time because I'm traveling with my family. So the plan is to hike down 1.5 miles in the South Kaibab trail in the Grand Canyon with the Mad Torque on my backpack (yes, ON, it does not fit IN lol) and drive it up. I have never hiked this trail before, only the better known Bright Angel trail on the middle section of the Canyon, so I didn't know what to expect. Just checked a couple pics online, and what the heck, let's find out what its like to drive again the Mad Torque in the real world. This time, a very historic place, about 17 million years old. Modern humans have barely been on earth for about 200,000 years, so to give you some perspective, if the Grand Canyon was 1 year old, humans would be like 4.3 days old.

I went through 26 pages of regulations online to make sure there were no restrictions on land RCs in the Grand Canyon. I didn't want to bother anyone since the recent ban on quadcopters, drones and model aircraft. It is Fall, so its part of the high traffic time here in the Canyon, there are roads you can't drive to, only take Shuttle buses. So I left my wife, 2 kids, 2 seniors and a dog above, and boarded the shuttle bus, with some stares from tourists, mostly Asian and European when they saw the big crawler on my pack. I started hiking down and soon passed everyone who was on my shuttle. They probably thought: why is he carrying that thing? The 1.5 mile point is not visible from the rim, so I started hiking down, this pics are already from below the rim:

About 25-30 minutes later, what you see is this:

That little roof has 3 "toilets" inside (if you can call them that). The little tree to the left, is where I would start the challenge.

And here it is, the Mad Torque on the orange silt like dust on the hermit shale layer of the Grand Canyon (286 million years old), its orange color is almost like camo here lol.

Cedar Ridge is the start of the drive up here, it is 2000ft. below the 7,200ft. Canyon rim. The problem is that not only are there a LOT of hikers, but also mules and horses... which leave nice organic deposits behind them so you have to dodge them. By the time I whipped out my camera, turned it on, adjusted the mode, tried to focus and shot the pic this cowboy was already gone...

As you can see, some sections of the trail have been man-made into long stairs, to aid hikers and horses go up. I was thinking I could have a bit of problem with the rounded logs, but the Mad Torque just climbed them and went on. There were 2 spots were the area under the log was severely eroded by water streams when the snow melts in the spring and I had to lift it, but overall it just required like 5 punts in the rear to get over anything else.

A couple was walking down and the girl was really interested in the crawler... she said "I just want to see how it goes up the stairs" and then... "wow, it can really go!" A couple Japanese guys were recording on their phones the MT climbing the stairs too. All in all, I must say the hikers were a lot more reserved here, probably because most were tourists, and did not know to what level to interact with another person here. I got some curious stares, some guys ignored the crawler, others stop to look, some smiles too. More and more stairs... sometimes I had to drive on the edges or out of bounds if the logs were too difficult.

I was also thinking the heavy dust in the trail would hinder traction, but the tires (with stock but star-cut foams) worked really well and always found ways to grip onto something and keep pulling forward. the erosion was even worse than what I experienced at Camelback Mountain, and the silt like orange powder got everywhere, the tires looked orange, not black.

At times when there were more hikers coming I reduced the speed, because I was walking in a little dust cloud like 10ft. behind the crawler, so I let the dust settle a bit when people were approaching. A Japanese lady was also amazed I was driving it up the stairs at this point. A German guy said: "haw much battary you gat?" "only 2" (I actually needed only 1, I can go 2 miles on 1 pack).

This was near "Ohh Ahh" point. 3 beautiful girls were hiking down and were amazed when they saw the Mad Torque, one said: "did you build it?" "no, I just run it all over Arizona lol" another said: "is it recording?" (I wish...the Mad Torque must have had a nice viewpoint) "no... just driving it up"....

When there were no log stairs, the trails was very easy (even considering the inclination).

A view of the altitude gained so far, time for a sandwich and some Gatorade. The crawler is going up faster than me, so I had to stop for a bit and get my breath back.

There is a switchbacks section in the trail. Here you can see up and see the all the hikers zig- zagging up the rock wall:

So I started driving the Mad Torque up, more stairs, you can see that here we are in a different layer, called Kaibab limestone (245 million years old) so the orange dust is wearing off and is being replaced by brown dust.

Here is a view near one of the switchbacks:

And here is the view looking down, so you can see how the trail goes:

And... we made it up after threading up through a group of young hikers sitting by the side of the trail, who curiously watched it go past.

Last edited by 2WheelFlyer; 12-03-2014 at 10:43 PM.
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Old 12-03-2014, 10:36 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Arizona
Posts: 74
Default Re: Mad Torque Real World Challenge 6, Grand Canyon

Here is the MT at the entrance of the trail, after taking a nice and easy Saturday stroll in the Grand Canyon. As for me... I'm sweaty and a bit tired, with orange talcum powder on my shoes and pants. Trail was uneventful for the crawler.

Like a happy lizard basking in the sun, just before boarding the shuttle bus back to the visitor center ( the bus driver said: "what the hell is that?")

So... back at home, damage assessment for this run: Scratches on the body side and top from a roll over where it landed on its tires and kept going. Some more scratches on the links and bottom chassis plate and that is all. Aftermarket Solar servo (only non-stock part) is working perfectly. Heavily caked with orange dust (more than what the pic shows)... I almost don't want to wash off the Grand Canyon dust... maybe I should clear coat over it? lol

And now it has a little cousin, in case I can't go and hit the big trails with the big boy, I can drive in my backyard course the little guy...

I'm disappointed that I could not do my next planned run the day after the South Kaibab trail, but I was traveling with Family and they were very understanding and patient the day before, so I decided to devote to them my time on Sunday. I'll be back to do it some other time, its like 90 miles south of the Grand Canyon...

Well, one more for the books, been there done that. See ya next time...

Last edited by 2WheelFlyer; 12-03-2014 at 10:39 PM.
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Old 12-05-2014, 06:23 PM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Littleton
Posts: 68
Default Re: Mad Torque Real World Challenge 6, Grand Canyon

Thanks for sharing! You got some good pics in there.
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Old 01-04-2015, 10:16 PM   #4
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Big D
Posts: 21
Default Re: Mad Torque Real World Challenge 6, Grand Canyon

That's is a great practice area!
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Old 01-05-2015, 01:16 AM   #5
Quarry Creeper
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Jackson
Posts: 288
Default Re: Mad Torque Real World Challenge 6, Grand Canyon

Those are some really nice shots!
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Old 01-06-2015, 02:42 PM   #6
Rock Stacker
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Arizona
Posts: 74
Default Re: Mad Torque Real World Challenge 6, Grand Canyon

Thanks guys, with such a beautiful place I think its hard to actually take bad pics... In some I was walking and shooting, not waiting enough to focus or hold steady, I was thinking more about the crawler and not about the camera. I'll try to get some better ones next time.
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Old 01-13-2015, 12:46 PM   #7
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Canada
Posts: 6
Default Re: Mad Torque Real World Challenge 6, Grand Canyon

wow, love seeing your trail runs/pics
i've got 2 MT's and they dont see anything like the trails youve run on !
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