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  1. #1
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    Death Mud...what is it?

    OK geologist folks...curious about what death mud is around Flag...like the stuff you find on Andersen Mesa, Some of the stuff out on the AZT by walnut canyon, etc...
    Basalt?

  2. #2
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    It's clay formed from the decomposition of some rocks (not all), but around here (flag) it's the basalt. In southern AZ on the AZT (las Colinas segment) it's limestone. What makes it nasty is that the clay mineralogy allows an H2O molecule to fit inside its mineral structure, making it absorb water at the molecular level, changing it from anhydrous to hydrous. This causes it to be super sticky, slick and capable of expansion and contraction ( think bumpy I-17 south of Flagstaff).

    Rock man can prolly elaborate, I have a structural background and can talk to you more about Fold Thrust Belts than I can about the crap that ruins my BB.

  3. #3
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    This^^^. Illite becomes smectite when it absorbes that H20 molecule and becomes super sticky. Luckily most of the Dry Lake Hills, Elden, and the Peaks are various forms of dacite and much more rich in quartz and are lacking the clay minerals.
    Last edited by rockman; 08-30-2015 at 06:05 PM.

  4. #4
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    Im not a geologist but a field trained (surface) hydrologist... death mud is just surface material that is about less than .05mm in diameter... if it's mixed with a good amount of sand it's not so bad, but if its silt/clay mixed with gravel, it can be even worse...

    and the material needs to be saturated... not sure what percentage saturated it needs to be for it to be in it's sticky state.. but 100% will surely put it in it's sticky mode.

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  5. #5
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    "quick sand"?
    life is... "All About Bikes"...

  6. #6
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    Quick sand is neither quick, nor sand. Goodnight!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maadjurguer View Post
    Quick sand is neither quick, nor sand. Goodnight!
    Nice troll post...

    Quick sand is deadly and it does commonly have a muddy consistency, though.

    Good day!
    life is... "All About Bikes"...

  8. #8
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    Hey all...thx for the responses... now at least when I'm digging mud out of my fork crown with a stick, I'll know what to call it.
    ...other than a suck-fest.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawg View Post
    Nice troll post...


    Quick sand is deadly and it does commonly have a muddy consistency, though.


    Good day!
    Sand is not mud. I stand by my statement as being factual.




  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    Hey all...thx for the responses... now at least when I'm digging mud out of my fork crown with a stick, I'll know what to call it.
    ...other than a suck-fest.
    Never heard it called death mud before...but I'm sure I still have bits of it still hanging onto all my bikes from years ago.

  11. #11
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    you haven't experienced death mud until your 50 lb bikepacking rig suddenly gains 25 lbs of mud and not only can you not ride it, but pushing it is impossible as well. Then it only gets better when on top of all that, a nice mat of pine needles becomes the rebar in your new set of 4" wide tires.
    Honestly, I've only had ^^ happen once up on Andersen Mesa by Marshall Lake, but holy crap.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    you haven't experienced death mud until your 50 lb bikepacking rig suddenly gains 25 lbs of mud and not only can you not ride it, but pushing it is impossible as well. Then it only gets better when on top of all that, a nice mat of pine needles becomes the rebar in your new set of 4" wide tires.
    Honestly, I've only had ^^ happen once up on Andersen Mesa by Marshall Lake, but holy crap.
    you havent experienced death mud til all that on a fat bike! its cause you're a spode Ray, just a spode!!
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  13. #13
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    he he he....

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    he he he....
    Ray,

    that 12 hr race we did in Mesa Verde, CO was very similar clay to the area you're talking about and it snowed/rained the entire race before they called it. It was unbelievable how sticky that stuff was. Katie's 19 lb race bike was 55 lbs after one lap. The mud would grab the mud on the tires and continue to cake to itself until it would pack in the fork and in the bb area and the wheels would totally lock up. I saw so many people walking into finish area with broken chains. I'll never ride in those conditions again...

  15. #15
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    We might as well list areas to avoid when the surface is saturated. Here are some I know of.

    1) Spur Cross trail
    2) PSP North -- Flat area in the northeast section of park.
    3) BCT between Antelop Cyn road and Mayer trailhead. Otherwise BCT south to Bumblee bee is mostly sandy/rocky.
    4) lesser used roads around Kinnikinick lake (wow, this was the worst).
    5) Browns ranch NORTH of granite and Browns mountains. Otherwise Browns is AWESOME when wet... mostly sandy.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by RajunCajun44 View Post
    We might as well list areas to avoid when the surface is saturated. Here are some I know of.

    1) Spur Cross trail
    2) PSP North -- Flat area in the northeast section of park.
    3) BCT between Antelop Cyn road and Mayer trailhead. Otherwise BCT south to Bumblee bee is mostly sandy/rocky.
    4) lesser used roads around Kinnikinick lake (wow, this was the worst).
    5) Browns ranch NORTH of granite and Browns mountains. Otherwise Browns is AWESOME when wet... mostly sandy.
    Here are some more:

    AZT- Las Colinas segment, specifically Greaterville road area north until you get out of the hills heading towards the Cienega
    AZT - Morman Lake segment, specifically Lake Mary Rd north to Walnut Canyon, aka Anderson Mesa
    AZT - San Fransisco Peaks segment, specifically Missouri Bill Hill north to Babbitt Ranch area




  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maadjurguer View Post
    ...
    AZT - Morman Lake segment, specifically Lake Mary Rd north to Walnut Canyon, aka Anderson Mesa
    This segment should be avoided even when dry...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpvet73 View Post
    This segment should be avoided even when dry...
    yeah, kind of a shame is such a bumpy cluster f*ck...get some nice view of Upper Lake Mary and Mormon Mtn off in the distance...but like you say, even dry it's a mess.
    More specifically though, from Marshall Lake going north, there are some great sections of trail. Get's a little chunky descending down the ridge into Walnut Canyon but still fun.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by RajunCajun44 View Post
    We might as well list areas to avoid when the surface is saturated. Here are some I know of.

    1) Spur Cross trail
    2) PSP North -- Flat area in the northeast section of park.
    3) BCT between Antelop Cyn road and Mayer trailhead. Otherwise BCT south to Bumblee bee is mostly sandy/rocky.
    4) lesser used roads around Kinnikinick lake (wow, this was the worst).
    5) Browns ranch NORTH of granite and Browns mountains. Otherwise Browns is AWESOME when wet... mostly sandy.
    5b) Fraesfield at BR.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by seandm View Post
    5b) Fraesfield at BR.
    I don't ride that after a rain...instead I call up all my equestrian friends and tell them to post hole the crap out of it.

  21. #21
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    Deadhorse state Park. Not Thumper if I remember correctly

    Death Mud...what is it?-purge_037-1-.jpg

    Death Mud...what is it?-bw_003.jpg

    Death Mud...what is it?-bw_001-1-.jpg

    Death Mud...what is it?-purge_038.jpg
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  22. #22
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    More BCT to avoid: Top of LPL to the first jeep road crossing (heading north) & the jeep road itself through there.

    Skip the west side of the Highland trail loop (this trail runs south of Ft. Tuthill towards Mountainaire/Kachina Village)

    Highline trail had some sketchy bits between Christopher Creek and the Derrick trail and between Horton Springs & the Fish Hatchery. The latter section was worse.

    If you find yourself riding in Death Valley NP and it happens to rain, you may want to avoid Titus Canyon!

    I think I've had my quota of this crap over the years, sometimes it's just unavoidable.

    Here's some proof:
    Death Mud...what is it?-andersonmesa.jpg
    Anderson Mesa - hard to pick out the tire in this pic.

    Death Mud...what is it?-bct_lpl.jpg
    BCT above the LPL.

    Death Mud...what is it?-highline.jpg
    A 'cleaned' bike on Highline at the top of Derrick Trail.

    Death Mud...what is it?-lascolinas1.jpg
    Las Colinas during the 2012 AZT300

    Death Mud...what is it?-lascolinas2.jpg
    Las Colinas during the 2012 AZT300 (My bikepacking ghetto setup)

    Death Mud...what is it?-lascolinas3.jpg
    Las Colinas during the 2012 AZT300 (Pretty much our thoughts as it took an hour to move 100 yards.)

    Death Mud...what is it?-deathvalley.jpg
    Titus Canyon in Death Valley, CA.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by tpvet73 View Post
    This segment should be avoided even when dry...
    A crappy section of the segments, indeed. Done it. Don't have to do it again.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evil Patrick View Post
    A crappy section of the segments, indeed. Done it. Don't have to do it again.
    Thanks for the heads up man, although I had no plans of riding it either way .
    Nice KOM, sorry about your penis.

  25. #25
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    What I find the most troublesome about the death mud on Anderson Mesa is the pine needles. Once you run through the mud, then track through pine needles your done. I've spent an hour at the Lone Pine in Munds pirating the hose to clean my bike from this nasty mud.

    FYI
    This mud will also destroy a carbon fork. The mud between the tires and fork legs will grind the fork legs flat.

  26. #26
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    Death Mud is something I've seen in Mrwhl's toilet. Doesn't matter that I was the one that dropped those kids off at the lake.
    -- Evil Patrick

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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Evil Patrick View Post
    Death Mud is something I've seen in Mrwhl's toilet. Doesn't matter that I was the one that dropped those kids off at the lake.
    Riding in Phoenix does tend to scare the sh!t out of Tucsonites. Whatever it takes to get that elusive double-dry-dock, eh?
    Nice KOM, sorry about your penis.

  28. #28
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    bump.... look above for places to avoid this weekend

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by RajunCajun44 View Post
    bump.... look above for places to avoid this weekend
    This is an example of how this forum can help noob's like me, I will be sticking to T100 this weekend.

  30. #30
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    Here's another piece of trail to avoid: AZT - Passage 42 (Kaibab Plateau) between Government Reservoir & Navajo Trail, the 1 mile stretch heading north as soon as you exit the fun swooping forested drainage onto the scrub brush field. Found this out the hard way per usual during the 750.
    Death Mud...what is it?-20160428_122156.jpg
    Ugh.

    Death Mud...what is it?-20160428_130642.jpg
    I don't recall how many times I had to scrape the mud off before I could finally ride out to the finish.
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  31. #31
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    Plus tires for even moar mud!
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  32. #32
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    BUMP...

    Another to avoid: AZT North of Sunflower on Passage 22. Dirt road turns to sh!t about 3 miles north of AZ87. Heard from a friend....
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  33. #33
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    Considering myself fortunate to not have experienced this stuff.
    Why is it called "death mud"?

    And for those who have to deal with it, have you considered trying one of those super-hydrophobic coatings on the parts of the bike that get slapped with the gunk?
    ('wondering if there's enough H2O in the mud to cause it to just slide off like an egg on Teflon...)

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by schillingsworth View Post
    BUMP...

    Another to avoid: AZT North of Sunflower on Passage 22. Dirt road turns to sh!t about 3 miles north of AZ87. Heard from a friend....
    If by "heard from a friend" you mean "I dragged someone along with me when I discovered this" then I agree haha.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by robbnj View Post
    Considering myself fortunate to not have experienced this stuff.
    Why is it called "death mud"?

    And for those who have to deal with it, have you considered trying one of those super-hydrophobic coatings on the parts of the bike that get slapped with the gunk?
    ('wondering if there's enough H2O in the mud to cause it to just slide off like an egg on Teflon...)
    Having recently being introduced to the magic of death mud... It's called that because it will literally kill your ride and your day. I can't imagine anything that it won't stick to. Even if your frame is the slickest thing in the universe, your tires are not and it will build up on them until it creates an awesome mud wedge between your tire and crank/fork/whatever area.

  36. #36
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    Call it what you want: Death Mud, peanut butter, cookie dough, etc. It's the crusher of souls depending on when you encounter it.
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  37. #37
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    Yeah, I got my introduction to it this year as well. Don't care to ever run into it again.
    "You either want to or you don't."

  38. #38
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    I'm not sure if I was the first to coin it, I'm sure others experienced it before me. It'll stop you dead in your tracks in 20 feet or less. Amazing stuff. Some people don't really get how different this is than other mud...until they experience it.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I'm not sure if I was the first to coin it, I'm sure others experienced it before me. It'll stop you dead in your tracks in 20 feet or less. Amazing stuff. Some people don't really get how different this is than other mud...until they experience it.
    Really? You can't actually believe you coined the term but yes, you are correct in that others experienced it before you came along, going back to the primordial ooze.

  40. #40
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    I had my first experience with it 2 years ago on the AZT around Kentucky Camp. It literally took me 2 hours to scrap enough of that sh*t off the tires and frame so I could limp back to my Jeep. That is some nasty sh*t - glad it was a rental bike. ;-)

  41. #41
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    Pro tip based on a statistical analysis of historical data:
    You are 5.6x more likely to encounter death mud if you agree to a ride with Schilling.
    You've been warned.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    Really? You can't actually believe you coined the term but yes, you are correct in that others experienced it before you came along, going back to the primordial ooze.
    I think I started calling it that sometime back in 2001-ish.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    Pro tip based on a statistical analysis of historical data:
    You are 5.6x more likely to encounter death mud if you agree to a ride with Schilling.
    You've been warned.
    I can't really argue this statement. I swear, it's not by design!! phatmike may disagree. Pretty sure I was with you during your death mud experience Raybum!! Can you imagine if the CTR had that crap, I'd still be there scraping my rig...
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  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I think I started calling it that sometime back in 2001-ish.
    That's funny. Just throwing you some shade Jayem. You win, you coined the term.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    That's funny. Just throwing you some shade Jayem. You win, you coined the term.
    I'm not saying that at all, I'm saying I coined it for myself with no outside influence. I'm sure plenty before me said the same thing about it and the name may have been widely known before that. It was a pretty natural reaction IMO.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raybum View Post
    Pro tip based on a statistical analysis of historical data:
    You are 5.6x more likely to encounter death mud if you agree to a ride with Schilling.
    You've been warned.
    And 24.6 times more likely to encounter ridiculous HAB.


    However, you are also 75.9 times more likely to have a “memorable” adventure.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by dtownmtb View Post
    And 24.6 times more likely to encounter ridiculous HAB.


    However, you are also 75.9 times more likely to have a “memorable” adventure.
    One hundred percent ratio so far for me on the memorable! I'll take it.

  48. #48
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    So, who wants to ride this weekend??? I have an idea....
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    The Kokopelli trail in Moab above and below the La Sal Mountain Loop Rd. Is where I first encountered “death mud”. There is a way around the lower “death mud” section which is riding the grass area about 50 yards west of the double track. You ride in the grass until you hit red dirt and you are good to go.

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