Many of these rocks were big enough to hit the radiator or differentials and cause serious damage to the vehicles.
BHPian Dr.AD recently shred this with other enthusiasts.
Since I got my Thar about three months ago, I have done plenty of drives including some mild off-roading. For example, I did some mild off-roading in Coorg including climbing up the Mandalpatti Peak. I also did some mild off-roading near Lonavala. By mild off-roading I mean something where I use 4H, but beyond that I can just drive on without any special help from spotters or any extra planning. On the other hand, I was eagerly waiting for an opportunity to do “hard-core off-roading”, where I would use 4L, would need help from expert spotters, and would need to carefully plan each maneuver. The adventure of doing this kind of off-roading in my own Thar was something I was looking forward to since I got my Thar. Thankfully, sometime ago, I got an opportunity of doing exactly that; proper hard-core off-roading in my own Thar and experiencing that adventure.
Sometime ago, one fine day, my close friend @robimahanta (aka “Robi”), who is an expert off-roader, asked if I would like to join for an off-roading excursion, along with a couple of other close friends. This was exactly what I was waiting for since the day I got my Thar, and I happily agreed to join him. A couple of other close friends joined immediately and in no time, we had a plan for an off-roading day out!
The team of four (four cars and four drivers) that got assembled for this was: @robimahanta in his Thar Petrol 4×4 AT, @megazoid in brand new Jimny AT, @Jkrishnakj (aka “KJ”) in his brand new Jimny AT, and yours truly in his Thar Petrol 4×4 AT.
The off-roading location chosen was a small hill called “Achalu Betta”, around 70km away from Bangalore. It is a lovely small hill, with picturesque landscapes all around. Atop the hill, there is a small temple. The path to drive up is a 3km of total off-roading track. It is mostly rocky track, with plenty of rocks and boulders, and some loose soil in-between the rocks. There are also many deep ruts and sharp steps on the rocks. This track would be extremely difficult when it rains and the loose soil turns into mud. Thankfully, it was reasonable dry when we drove up. Even then, this was a challenging track in its own right.
We had a nice combination of two Thars and two Jimnys. We would get to see first-hand how these machines perform at each obstacle back to back. Further, Robi and megazoid are expert off-roaders as well as spotters. And KJ and I are relative newbies in this game. Thus, we also had a nice combination of two experts guiding us and doing spotting for us, and two newbies who got to learn a lot in this hands-on experience of off-roading with the experts.
Well, enough of that prologue. Let us get to the actual drive and let the pictures tell the rest of the story now.
Regular road drives or off-road drives, early morning start is crucial (we usually start before 5am). This time too, an early morning meet after 5am start (My black Thar on the left, megazoid’s White Jimny in the middle, and Robi’s Thar on the right; KJ joined us a bit ahead in his Nexa Blue Jimny):
The four cars lined at the foot of the hill before starting the climb:
This order of the cars was chosen carefully. Megazoid, the expert, was leading the group in his White Jimny. He was also the expert spotter for everyone. And the other expert, Robi, stayed in the rear to watch and help the team from the rear. He was also the only guy with a winch on his Thar. That winch is in the front of his Thar. That means he was better positioned to rescue cars in front of him (if required), than cars behind him. This was also one reason he stayed in the rear of the convoy. And sandwiched between these two experts were the two newbies (myself and KJ). We ended up with the nice order of “Jimny – Thar – Jimny – Thar” in the convoy.
All of us had walkie-talkies and we could talk to each other from our cars. There were a lot of helpful tips and guidance, as well as some tactical suggestion for each obstacle given on the walkie-talkies. Of course, as the going got tougher a bit ahead, the spotters got down from their cars and literally guided the other cars to crawl over the obstacles, and often walked next to the cars giving instructions to the drivers. It was a great learning experience for me for sure!
The Thar and Jimny waiting at the start of the trail (At this time, we did not know what lied ahead and never knew of the difficulties of the trail ahead. That was surely a surprise for us):
The white Jimny in front was going to lead us on this tricky trail:
I watch from my windshield as the white Jimny traverses the trail ahead of me:
And in my rear view mirror, I could see the Blue Jimny waiting its turn:
As the track got tougher, the expert driver and spotter, @megazoid, got down and started guiding us. He did an amazing job in explaining the technical aspects of off-roading and helping each car maneuver carefully over the tricky sections:
The Jimny totally at home in such surroundings and terrain:
Another windshield shot of the leading Jimny ahead of me:
Soon, we encountered a really steep rock with a huge step to climb on, and we got down to inspect the difficult trail ahead:
And this is an example of another lesson we learned. @megazoid told us that it is always the right practice to walk the trail before driving on it. And I could see the value of that tip many times in this trail. We got down, walked the trail, and discussed how to drive on it. We discussed where each wheel would go, which rocks to avoid, and how to avoid any underbody damage. Here, a good knowledge and understanding of one’s vehicle is equally important. Many of these rocks were big enough to hit the radiator or differentials and cause serious damage to the vehicles. We had to plan our path specifically for each vehicle so that the chances of underbody hit were minimized.
The White Jimny crossing the tricky terrain and we followed it right after:
As I got back in my car, the view of the track ahead (the elevations and the heights of the stones are hard to judge in the photo; that sharp jump ahead was quite tall and it was tricky to climb the car up that step without hitting underbody):
The convoy after conquering one tricky section without any underbody hits:
Another view of the convoy on that trail:
Robi’s Thar carefully watching other cars from the rear:
My Thar enjoying the day out on the trail:
The trail turned left from there, and looked like this in my windshield:
A bit ahead, we reached another tricky section with plenty of big rocks, and @megazoid stepped out again to do spotting for us and guide us to carefully crawl over each rock without hitting the underbody:
KJ and his Jimny enjoying the trail and the adventure:
@megazoid spotting for Robi on the difficult stretches of the trail:
Robi’s Thar conquering the trail in style:
Another photo of Robi’s Thar:
A couple of photos of my Thar shot by Robi (thanks to Robi for these pictures as I was driving the Thar):
Another photo of my Thar on one of the smoother sections of the trail:
@megazoid’s Jimny finding the path ahead:
Somewhere at the mid-way point, a quick group photo (left to right: KJ, @megazoid and Robi) with the smiles telling the story of how much fun we were having on that trail:
Continue reading on BHPian Dr.AD’s off-road excursion for BHPian comments, insights and more information.
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