Black Bear Pass in a Mitsubishi Delica L300 :: Video

Mitsubishi Delica L300

Well, it’s official I bought another Mitsubishi Delica L300 and have subsequently been on a YouTube binge checking out where these vehicles take their owners and gleaming inspiration for my upcoming build. One of the first videos that popped up is not only one of the best Delica adventures I’ve seen but also one of the gnarliest nail-biting overlanding videos I’ve watched period.

Mitsubishi Delica L300 on Black Bear Pass

In this week’s video Kyle Garrity ( Instagram: kylegarrity and kyles_car) tackles the infamous Black Bear Pass in Colorado. I will preface this article with a warning about planning and preparedness. Kyle discloses in the introduction: “We filmed almost everything at the beginning thinking it looked cool and was a little tough, totally unaware of what was coming.” On this occasion, they met a trail angel along the way to spot them but without this assistance, the adventure may not have ended well. As an avid traveler myself I’ve been in similar scenarios where I’ve taken on a little more than I can chew. In these instances, I luckily returned unscathed but it’s our responsibility as a community to take accountability for these oversights and educate others who may not be so lucky. With this in mind, please plan your routes carefully. Fortunately, Kyle crushed this demanding trail, learnt some valuable lessons, and demonstrated that the L300 is a very capable vehicle.

It takes a little over 2 minutes for this video to grab hold as the couple navigates their first tricky obstacle and the L300 precariously lifts a wheel. Partner Ale spots and films while letting out audible deep breaths that add to the tension. Shortly after they meet their trail angel in the form of a heavily modified Jeep Wrangler driven by “Nick and friends.” It’s at this point that Kyle acknowledges that “without him spotting me and being there for moral support things might have gone totally different.” The Wrangler drives ahead and showcases the effectiveness of aftermarket modifications as it makes light work of the challenging terrain. Shortly after they watch as the Jeep traverses a particularly off-camber section and Kyle nervously commentates: “Oh Jesus, ohh Jesus, ohhh Jesusss, I’m supposed to do that?! Nick jumps out of the Wrangler and offers calm advice, which sees the Delica navigate the rocky ledge with little effort (a reminder to stay cool and that oftentimes slow is fast). The duo then tackles the infamous “Steps,” which was genuinely terrifying. It’s unusual that a camera does justice to the real-world steepness of a descent but as the Delica repeatedly lifts a rear wheel you’re able to see how difficult it is even for the spotter to walk down alongside. The final switchbacks are similarly hair-raising but as they rejoin better-maintained roads the relief is tangible, and so completes this epic journey.

Kyle Garrity

There are a lot of take-homes in this week’s video. First and foremost, I (and I’m sure Kyle) don’t advocate that anyone tackles a route such as Black Bear Pass without a suitable vehicle, training, or alone. This film illustrates how crucial an experienced spotter is for navigating technical terrain and the exponential risk of attempting a route such as this solo. The adventure also captures the camaraderie within the overlanding community which has undoubtedly been instrumental to the huge uptick in enthusiasts in recent years. Kyle does an amazing job throughout keeping the vehicle under control and exercising calm and collected decision-making that ultimately ensured their safety. Finally, to arguably the star of the show, the Delica L300. The little Mitsubishi in largely stock form illustrates it’s a bonified go-anywhere rig and I’m sure with aftermarket upgrades it would give most 4WDs a run for their money (reference the adventures of Martin VanMan and DelicaWorks Intl for more).

Delica in Colorado

Want to learn more about the Mitsubishi Delica L300? Check out our piece on The Space Tractor.

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No money in the bank, but gas in the tank. Our resident Bikepacking Editor Jack Mac is an exploration photographer and writer living full-time in his 1986 Vanagon Syncro but spends most days at the garage pondering why he didn’t buy a Land Cruiser Troopy. If he’s not watching the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, he can be found mountaineering for Berghaus, sea kayaking for Prijon, or bikepacking for Surly Bikes. Jack most recently spent two years on various assignments in the Arctic Circle but is now back in the UK preparing for his upcoming expeditions—looking at Land Cruisers. Find him on his website, Instagram, or on Facebook under Bicycle Touring Apocalypse.