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Words and Photos: Mercedes Lilienthal

From slick rocks to off-road-ready 4x4s, Moab, Utah, is a mecca for adventure-seeking enthusiasts. Each year, the Red Rock 4-Wheelers club hosts the Easter Jeep Safari (EJS) – a week-long excursion of sun, fun and heaps of Jeeps. Held April 9th through the 17th, the event showcased thousands of customized seven-slot vehicles, each uniquely built to suit the owner’s needs.

Additionally, Jeep corporate unveiled several new concept vehicles to garner customer feedback and driving impressions from a select few. It’s a chance to peek behind the off-roading giant’s “curtain” to see what they’re thinking of next.

Warn Industries’ Fun Run

Moab’s surrounding area includes a wide variety of terrain for off-roaders to tackle. From its famous red slick rock and hidden sand dunes to dirt-filled tracks and stunning views, it’s a high-desert paradise like none other. Easier trails like Gemini Bridges or Shafer Trail offer newcomers and overlanding enthusiasts expansive views and switchback challenges. Moab’s more difficult trails, however, lead to boulder-filled encounters, winch-ready opportunities, and cliff-side drop-offs like those found on Cliffhanger – a perfect trail choice for a Warn Industries’ sponsored EJS run.

Premium aftermarket accessories and winch manufacturer, Warn Industries, has been a long-standing institution at Easter Jeep Safari. When Jeepers think of EJS and its tougher trails, they typically think of WARN winches. The company and its associated products are a catalyst to help keep off-roaders on the straight and narrow as they navigate unforgiving terrain.

Warn Industries is based in Clackamas, Oregon (just outside of the Portland metro area). Warn has been a manufacturer of premium goods for nearly 75 years and pioneered the electric vehicle winch several decades ago. They have become a household name and a trusted brand to off-roaders and overlanders alike. Boasting 180,000 square feet of manufacturing space and over 300 employees, Warn not only produces a variety of vehicle winches, but also recovery gear, winch bumpers, hubs, and more.

The Expanded Warn Family

As Warn continues its storied legacy, the company recently expanded by purchasing a few key companies: Factor 55, Fab Fours and Fabtech. Factor 55 produces high-quality closed-system winching and rigging products while Fab Fours makes robust bumpers and accessories. Lastly, Fabtech manufacturers high-performance suspension systems. Fabtech, who got into the game a few decades ago by making products for the desert racing crowd, has since branched out to include a wide array of American-made goods for 4x4s, including Jeep, Ford, Toyota and more.

“I really believe in Warn [Industries] because of the family aspect,” Terry Madden says, who is established Ultra4 rock racer and avid WARN products user. “I’ve worked for a lot of companies that are amazing companies, but it’s not the same without the right people.”

To Madden, it’s neat knowing who he’s talking to on the phone and meeting the people that make the products. He appreciates how excited they are to see him when he visits the Oregon-based facility.

Warn Industries, along with its subsidiaries, hosted a media run during this year’s Easter Jeep Safari. Key partners, including Madden, as well as a variety of media, took to the rocks in search of challenges, content, and a cool off-roading adventure.

Cliffhanger’s Cliffside Demeanor

Moab’s Cliffhanger trail boasted scenic views, sandstone ledges and rocky stairsteps, as well as cliff-side obstacles. Cliffhanger is several miles in length, it’s a difficult-rated trail and isn’t one for those afraid of heights. Known as the only vehicle route onto Amasa Back, this remote track is next to Hurrah Pass, Jackson Hole, Kane Springs Canyon, and part of the Colorado River.

Vehicles with high clearance, lockers, and a minimum of 35” tires are recommended. Drivers must be comfortable with off-camber situations next to a cliff. Note: Mountain bikers regularly join parts of the Cliffhanger trail. Several mounting biking and hiking tracks crisscross it: be constantly aware of your surroundings.

Steep boulder-filled inclines and declines greeted each driver as they wound their way through Cliffhanger. Spotters hopped out on a regular basis to help Jeepers carefully navigate each challenge. Winching was a regular occurrence on Cliffhanger, but by doing so, it aided in vehicle and occupant safety. Wrong moves, especially on the tightest cliff-side sections could have resulted in vehicle body damage, rollovers, or worse. A steady stream of passengers dotted the landscape as Jeepers tested their ability on each obstacle.

Once successfully to the top, Jeepers enjoyed vast views of the valley floor, including a large potash mine and the nearby Colorado River. After a brief lunch was had, everyone reversed course and descended in a backward fashion to finish the Cliffhanger trail run. To our surprise, the distant La Sal Mountains were seen from certain vantage points, framing an ideal day of WARN winching, wheeling, and off-roading fun.