FJ Summit Retrospective

FJ Summit Retrospective

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As I go through all of the photos, articles, videos, and swag that we’ve collected over the years from our trips to Ouray for the annual FJ Summit, I sit with mixed emotions about how the world has changed in the last seven months.

Photos by Angie Williams, Shane Williams, Bob Holliday, Daniel Markofsky, Kathy Locke, Jim Akers, Dennis Lloyd, Jonathan Harris

It is unlikely that anyone reading these words has not been impacted by the worldwide pandemic that continues to change the way we live, work, and play. For Toyota enthusiasts like us, there is no clearer sign of that impact than when the FJ Summit was cancelled. 

2020 FJ Summit Retrospective - The Best View on the Planet

The event that usually sells out in a few minutes was not able to be held this year, due to the limitations required to help slow the spread of disease. While I’ve heard that some enthusiasts still chose to visit Ouray during the original FJ Summit timeframe, many of us chose to explore other areas of our great country, or simply stay safe at home.

2020 FJ Summit Retrospective - Mineral Creek by Bob Holliday

Since we don’t have 2020 FJ Summit coverage for this issue, I thought a short retrospective from past events would be an interesting topic. So I’ll start at the beginning…

If you do a search on ‘the blue room’ (, you can still find the original discussions around the inaugural FJ Cruiser event. While Angie and I attended the very first event back in 2007, at the time we were brand new Toyota enthusiasts, and we had no idea how our passion for our little 4x4 would impact the lives of thousands of future enthusiasts.


2020 FJ Summit Retrospective - Imogene Pass

The inception for our original FJC Magazine, which became Toyota Cruisers & Trucks, happened during the drive home after FJ Summit #1. Angie and I decided that we wanted to do a few minor modifications to our vehicle, but only if it made sense in terms of helping the broader FJ Cruiser community. While the forums were a great outlet for build threads, photos, and anecdotes, we wanted to aim for a more traditional platform. FJC Magazine was born a few months later as a free digital PDF ‘zine’, and we’re still going over 13 years later.

At this point one could say that the rest is history, and even though I won’t bore you with my recount of every single event that I’ve attended or that we’ve covered in our publications, how about a few highlights?

2020 FJ Summit Retrospective - California Gulch

In 2008, we attended FJ Summit #2 as ‘press’ or ‘media’ for the first time. The major thing that changed for us is that we had better camera equipment, we knew a little more about the community of FJ (and Toyota) enthusiasts, and the event was much larger! In fact, I still have a photo of Angie & I in front of the Baja 1000 Millen FJ Cruiser (see Two Roads to Baja for more on that) on a shelf in my office. 2008 was also the first year that Zaxyn Media published the FJ Summit event guide. One of several special publications we produced during our first year as a magazine.

For 2009, the event kept growing - surpassing 200 registered vehicles according to my notes. Angie & I once again lead a convoy from Colorado Springs to Ouray, filled with many enthusiasts that were experiencing Colorado for the first time. FJ Summit #3 was also the first time the event featured ‘Friday Night Out’ as a way to ensure Summiteers had the opportunity to support the vibrant Ouray community. This was also the first year Angie and I lead a trail run, Imogene Pass. Finally, I put together my first FJ Summit video in 2009. Remember, it was a LONG time ago….

2020 FJ Summit Retrospective - Black Bear Pass FJ In The Mist

A lot changed for the Williams family in 2010..we multiplied! FJ Summit #4 was the first for our newborn (now 10 year old) Brenden. Since he was only about 4 months old during the event, he was not able to experience much of the high country. That also meant that for the first time, Angie & I weren’t able to explore together as much as we would have liked. 

Still, the event was once again amazing, despite it being one of the wettest on record. The rain poured for much of the event, and our annual ‘First to run Black Bear’ was not able to be completed that year. After pulling a 3 ton boulder off the trail on the high side, just over the pass, we were stopped in our tracks by a 30 yard long, 12 foot high, landslide covering the trail. The county was able to clear the slide later in the day, but that remains one of the soggiest FJ Summits on record.

2020 FJ Summit Retrospective - Black Bear Pass Rockslide

Beginning in 2011, Angie and I were no longer the primary FJC / TCT Magazine media representative. Many (most?) of our past and current editors have taken their shot at covering the FJ Summit. For several years Angie and I were able to spend a little extra time in the Ouray area before the event began, and also had the opportunity to help with setup and event organization.

After attending the first 10 FJ Summits in a row, our family has chosen other ways to explore over the last few summers. Our team has continued to do great work in covering the event that helped start our publication, and it’s always great to get a fresh set of eyes on the now classic event.

2020 FJ Summit Retrospective - 2017 FJ Summit by Daniel Markofsky

You may also know that Angie and I started creating the FJ Summit Event Guide (originally FJ Summit maps) from the very beginning as well. Over the years the Event Guide has grown just as the event has, and we’re excited to publish it again for 2021!

2020 FJ Summit Retrospective - 2007 FJ Summit Maps

2020 FJ Summit Retrospective - 2011 Event Guide Cover

If you’d like to see more of our past FJ Summit Coverage, you can search the Toyota Cruisers & Trucks site for “FJ Summit”, or visit this link:

Over the years, we’ve been able to put together more than a couple FJ Summit videos. We made a playlist on our YouTube channel so you can check them all out.

We’re positive that the FJ Summit will be back in 2021, and our entire team looks forward to seeing you on the trails in Ouray!

2020 FJ Summit Retrospective - On My Way to Ouray!

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