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Old 10-07-2010, 02:40 PM  
RaggedOleMan's Avatar

Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 56 | Kudos: +13
What comes first, lifts & upgrades or recovery gear?

I wrote the following a few years back, about 5 months after a "getting stuck" incident in a snow storm. My girlfriend and I knew nothing of "4x4 wheeling" at the time. Just figured we had a Jeep, let's go have some fun....so off to the mountains and snow covered roads we went, armed with stupidity...


While browsing around on the Forum I stumbled across a post that values armor, lift kits etc. above self recovery gear...

For myself, I made that mistake and lived to regret it and would like to know how others feel about it.

On my end, I bought my second Jeep, an 05 soft-top, X and the first thing I bought was slider windows...then a snatch strap or two. The next thing I bought was 32" tires, and later a rear recovery bumper & tire carrier. Next was diamond plating for the rocker panels & rear corners. I had also found a High-Lift jack on one of the trails in the bushes and made it my own...

Well, one day this past winter my girlfriend & I were cruisin' some trails in the mountains around the 5,000' level. Kachess Dam road to be exact...It was 15 degrees & snowing like crazy! There was already three feet of winter snow packed on the trail. We were having a great time until...we drifted ever so slightly off the trail and into a shallow, snowy ditch. That was 3:15 pm on a cold & snowy, Saturday afternoon in early February.

After assessing the situation I got the High-Lift and snatch straps out and commenced to locate a suitable anchor point. Confident I would be successful in getting our butts out of there, I rigged it up and started pumping on that High-Lift jack. Sheesh...the strap just kept stretchin', but, the Jeep never budged one iota. So, I found a different anchor point and got one of my other straps out and tried again. No luck...

It wasn't long before a group of three snow-mobilers arrived on the scene. They acted like I'd shot their dog or something. They were pissed because, they felt we had no right to be on their trail and for us to get stuck was justice to them. We exchanged "pleasantries" and they rode off down the snowy trail...

By now it was 6:20 or so in the evening. The snow just kept burying the Jeep, deeper & deeper. We were soaked and frozen to the bone. So I thought I'd fix a fire to dry out our clothes and then we'd make another attempt. But, the cigarette lighter in my pocket had become wet and wouldn't light the napkins & twigs I'd laid out. So we got into the Jeep, fired her up and turned on the heater.

Well, the Jeep was sitting at about a 20 degree camber and it was uncomfortable as hell in there, but, it was warm. It also played havoc with the gas gauge. I knew we only had a little more than 1/2 a tank, but, the gauge said it was nearly full...

Well, we took turns putting our clothes over the defroster and near the heat vents attempting to dry them out. About two hours later they were done.

We decided to call our daughter to let her know where we were. It never occurred to us we'd be out of cell range until we attempted to call out...it was about that time that one of the cell phone batteries went dead. So, we tried with the other phone and though we had battery strength we couldn't get a signal...

At that point we called 911 to see if that would work. It did. After explaining at length w-t-f we were doing up there in the snow with a storm approaching, the operator finally patched us through to a tow company.

"Robin" was the tow driver who answered the call; "Hi. I just stopped here at the saloon for some supper. I'm not sure where you folks are at, but, my buddy here probably does. Tell him where you're at & I'll come get cha a.s.a.p." We gave the guy directions and then waited for the tow truck...he said he'd be there in about 30 minutes or so.

An hour went by and he didn't show up. So I called 911 again, explained the whole thing a second time, got scolded by the operator as my cell battery went down until she finally patched us back through again.

Turns out "Robin" was on the trail just a few miles behind us, stuck...said he'd get himself out and be here to get us inn an hour or less. The hour went by and no tow truck...so, once again I called 911. Once again I had to explain the situation. Once again I got scolded. Then she patched me through to the Kitsap County Sheriff.

We talked a bit and I had to explain everything again. I was concerned about what them snow-mobilers had said and thought I might be getting a ticket of some sort, too. But the deputy said we were well within our rights to be on that road and that he would patch us through to the driver (Robin) once again.

We got through to Robin all right...he had become stuck a second time and decided to abandon his tow truck and walk out of there...at that point we knew no one would be there to get us that night so we tried to get some sleep.

It was about 11:30 pm when I saw two snow mobiles in my rear-view mirror coming up the trail. I was concerned the earlier group was returning to flip us some sh... Turns out it was a guy about 7' tall & 325 lbs. I kid you not. On the other snow mobile was his girlfriend. They'd both been drinkin' a bit...she was mouthy and trouble and she was pissing her 7' tall mountain man off. Things weren't lookin' good...

Mountain man and his female side-kick tried to push us out, but, to no avail. He said he was going to go home and call some buddies to see if he could round up some help. We said our good-byes and hunkered down for the night.

7:45 am I see headlight's in my mirror again. Mountain man has returned! He's by himself this time, too. He brought us a bottle of water and then told us none of his buddies were willing to come and help out. He went on to say that he's just become a member of Search & Rescue and at his breakfast meeting in town this morning would see if he could round up some help...GAWD...

Well, about 15 minutes later a pack of three or four snow-mobilers showed up in my mirror. I was ready for those pricks this time...I got out of the Jeep like Yosemite Sam fixin' for a duel. Turns out these weren't the same guys ...furthermore that they had just come across a tow truck pulling out another tow truck a few miles behind us and one of the tow truck guys told them we were stuck up ahead and to go check on us! These guys gave us their sandwich's & other food items & some water! What a surprise...

They couldn't get us out, but, they and others knew were were up here so "just be patient" they said...

After they left, I called 911. They patched me through to Kitsap County and the deputy on duty told me he would patch me through to the one guy that could get us out with a trac-tow. He said the guys is expensive, but, he's the only one that can get you out...The trac-tow guys said he'd be there in an hour or so.

An hour and a half went by...no tow truck just cold...so, once again we called 911 & went through the un-pleasantries until we were finally patched through to the trac-tow company...

"What's taking so long?" I asked. "Well, it's Sunday morning and I had to get old Tom outta bed. Then old Tom has to drive down here to the shop and load the trac-tow onto the flat bed. He'll motor out to the end of the paved road and then unload the trac-tow. The trac-tow only moves about 5 miles an hour so it'll take him a while. He just left the office so it'll be another hour or so..."

Well, at 12:15 pm he arrived. 21 hours since we firsts became stuck. Old Tom finally arrived & he brought a thermos of hot tea for my girlfriend and I. Within two minutes pulled us out and turned us around...no lecture either... I had to follow him out of there at 5 miles an hour. Took about 40 minutes to get back to the trail head...

There he gave us the bill; $1,008.00...

You can be sure that the next thing I bought for the Jeep was a winch and some quality self recovery gear...and man do I regret buying all that other stuff BEFORE I bought my winch...

My girlfriend and I survived and the Jeep is no worse for the wear. I had to recognize my own stupidity and exercise some humility. A good thing, that...

I welcome your comments & stories...

West Seattle

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Old 10-07-2010, 03:59 PM  

Between Kansas and Illinois
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 31 | Kudos: +10
Sounds like I better be getting straps, jack and wench first lol. Glad to hear you got out with some of your dignity left but a lighter wallet!

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Old 10-07-2010, 04:31 PM  
Junior Member

Springfield, Missouri
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 18 | Kudos: +10
This story is going to make me rethink some of the stuff I was going to do this winter, but I'm glad.

At least you guys had shelter (The Jeep) to stay in.
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Old 10-07-2010, 05:03 PM  
Junior Member

Westmont, Illinois
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 5 | Kudos: +10
I have a bunch of recovery gear but no winch....looks like its time so save some green to pay for one
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Old 10-07-2010, 05:29 PM  
wade42470's Avatar

Middlebury, Ct.
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 58 | Kudos: +11
Images: 2
If your going to be playing like that without another vehicle with you then a winch and anchor are a must! Tiers and lift are a big help for clearance but only go so far. Try deflating your tires next time also. I used to keep a small compressor that ran off a cig. lighter just to air up after tough ones like that and deflating your tires will usually do the trick. If you cany afford a winch then at least get 2 come-alongs.
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Old 10-08-2010, 07:53 PM  
Junior Member

souderton, pa
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 24 | Kudos: +10
a chain with the high lift jack would have helped.you probably been able to pull ur self out. did any one try using there snowmobiles to pull you.i mean you had more than one strap so you could have used more than one snowmobile.
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Old 10-08-2010, 11:47 PM  
Junior Member

Tacoma, Washington
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 15 | Kudos: +11
Holy cow thats quite a story. Thats why I try never to go alone anymore. WE got stuck the first time out and I had to walk out a couple of miles to find someone to help us out.
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Old 10-08-2010, 11:53 PM  
NickCJ7's Avatar

Middleburg, Florida
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 59 | Kudos: +11
That's the benefit of doing a frame up and having another DD. I'll get all that done before the CJ7 gets taken out. But there is always the chance of something coming up that no matter what you have you might be out of luck.
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'83 CJ7 (Family/Daughter Frame up Project) - '89 Mustang GT (Modded and FAST)
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Old 10-15-2010, 07:45 PM  
Junior Member

ladera ranch, ca
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 8 | Kudos: +10
motorcycle ramps work great throw them in the back and go. dig under the tire a little for each tire put a ramp under each tire go foward or back which ever you choose to put your tires on the ramp and go I used that when I got stuck in death valley with no other vehicles in the middle of a dry lake bed(not so dry) no place to anchor to they helped me get enough momentum to drive out.
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Old 10-18-2010, 12:02 AM  
Senior Member
rnemovr's Avatar

sharana, afghanistan
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 151 | Kudos: +14
wise man once said "a lift and tires will only get you farther from help" meaning you will still get stuck, just farther in away from friends to help

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