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RESCUE NEEDED!! Anybody near Ridgecrest/395??

Discussion in 'Southern California' started by The Traveler, Nov 17, 2013.

  1. Jan 20, 2014 at 11:09 PM
    #321
    Mach375

    Mach375 Habitual Violator of Wheeling Rule #2

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2010
    Member:
    #43428
    Messages:
    1,441
    Gender:
    Male
    First Name:
    Sathington "Alowicious Devadander Abercrombie" Willoughby (but you can call me Mud)
    Worse than Hell (SoCal)
    Vehicle:
    '11 DCLB 4x4 TRD Sport
    Too much to list, but enough to get me in trouble. Repeatedly.
    So I promised y'all my narrative of what happened. So here ya go.

    WARNING: This is long. You think this 14-page thread is long? You think your pocket snake is long? You ain't seen long. You ain't seen nuthin' *close* to long.



    Part 1: Prelude

    October was a brutal month for myself and for my wife Genevieve. We both didn't see much of each other all month, with each of us having entirely too much to do to even get much sleep. The whole month I was getting more and more desperate to Get Out. And while the first weekend in November would have been the most perfect time to do so, we both agreed a weekend at home doing diddly squat was what was needed. So diddly squat we did.
    The second weekend of November we as a family went for a quick, two-day exploration of parts of Mojave National Preserve with a close neighbor friend of my son Matthew, who had never done anything remotely close to camping before. The trip was flawless, and she had a spectacular time.
    I still hadn't gotten my weekend Out by myself.
    So when the weekend of November 16-17 came up, Genevieve was highly supportive of me Getting Out on my own. Since I had already done Mojave recently, the only logical place to go was Death Valley National Park. At no point did either of us consider a solo trip to remote and largely inaccessible places of Death Valley an unwise decision. After all, I prepare for any reasonable contingency that can be planned for.
    So Friday night I got some new tires, loaded the truck, and left for the only part of DV I had not yet explored: the southern tip.


    Part 2: The Better Part

    Worked an 8-hour shift Friday, got some new tires for the truck, played with and put the kids to bed, loaded the truck, and headed out sometime around 02:00. Grabbed a nap and breakfast at the top of Cajon Pass, stopped in Baker to top off the tank and the cans (this trip saw me with 20 spare gallons on top), and drove the undulating two-lane 126 toward Death Valley.
    Having to get the New off my tires, I got off pavement as soon as I could, taking the Harry Wade Escape Route to shortcut a stretch of blacktop. And I finally came across the route I was looking for: Butte Valley Road- an easy dirt road that cut a westerly line across the southernmost tip of DV. Easy, that is, until one gets to Mengel Pass (often pronounced "Mangle" for obvious reasons).
    Stopped in at a talc mine for a little exploration. I'm guessing this one was highly profitable (well, as profitable as talc mining gets), because the raw ore was as pure and uncontaminated raw talc as one could imagine. I picked me up a few large, ultra-pure-white rocks that left my hands nicely powdered, and loaded them onto the back floor of the truck. A short ways further down I came across the abandoned buildings of the (former?) owners of the talc mine, a little place referred to as Warm Springs Ranch. Rather large property, complete with swimming pool. And yes, the name of the place is quite fitting (though I never did find the soaking pool at the actual springs). On my return trip (oh yes, there will be many a return trip to the area!!), I shall climb to the gold mine to see what the secret surprise is. But this time, I wanted to get further along the trail.
    Awesome scenery, but the real gem of the road was the isolation, solitude, and remoteness -- anyone out there was intending to be lost. Striped Butte was a spectacular landmark along the way, and told me I was nearing the famed Geologist's Cabin (in the interest of keeping this short...er, you can Google them); unfortunately for me, it was thoroughly occupied, but fortunately for the occupants, I stopped in anyway to poke my head in and see what all the fuss was about the place (I filled two of their tires, and couldn't do a damn thing for their third). The cabin is damn near *immaculate* -- you have to understand, this is an abandoned one-room building surrounded by literally NOTHING for hundreds of miles, with no utilities.......and it looked like it was well-lived in and well-cared for, complete with a brand spankin' new roof! But the real gem of the place was the view. Oh, the VIEW!! Only wild imaginations of a tiny cabin on a hill in the middle of an expansive, scenic valley could come up with a close approximation of the view!
    Anyway.
    Moved along to the next cabin (forget the name off-hand), which wasn't nearly as nice, but was a little larger.
    And then I met Mengel Pass. I knew it the instant I rounded the corner. The trail went from Honda Civic to I Really Wish I Had Full Skids And Sliders Even With My 3.5" Lift 33" Tires And 4x4 Low. Boulders as big as -- some bigger than -- my new tires, with plenty of body-banging frame-scraping white-knuckle space between them. And me without a spotter. At least I had aired down......(should I air down some more?). Hiked it, climbed a couple hills, thoroughly evaluated it, and picked my line. Took me about 30 minutes to get up a hill no longer than 100 yards. Never had to back up, never had to move a rock, never had to re-adjust my approach. But I may have spent more time climbing in and out of my truck than I did actually driving it. Front skid plate took a hit or two, as did my frame. But the body and Important Parts managed to escape with nary a scratch. Not for lack of proximity- at many points, I was climbing boulders with my sidewalls while vainly attempting to push (by hand, out the driver's seat window) other boulders a little further from my truck than the mere 1.5" they were giving me. At the top I enjoyed the view, reviewed the maps, evaluated the remaining daylight, and decided to go for Barker Ranch (again, Google it, if you haven't heard of Manson's hideout).
    Weird three-way intersection had me scratching my head, but I picked the right -- er, left -- one, and found myself winding my way deeper and deeper into tighter and tighter brush (though not before proving why I need sliders, this time bruising my driver's door sill on a surprise drop). And then all of a sudden, there it was. Too bad the place suffered a fire a few years back, leaving not much more than the cobble walls, a chicken coop, and some fencing. And Park Service humor (review my FB pics).
    With daylight fast dwindling, I figured I needed to get moving. Being in a tightening canyon made my desire for expansive views somewhat difficult, until I stumbled upon Robertson Mine. I took one look at the STEEP winding shelf road to the top of the mountain where the mine was and knew I had found my spot for the night. Trouble was, it was 1) STEEP, 2) winding, 3) a mine road (i.e. bouldery, crumbling, and strewn with debris), 4) STEEP, and 5) winding. Also, it was steep (~3,000' gain in about a half mile......switchbacked to be closer to 2 miles). And winding. Glad I had 4x4, with low range. Also glad I didn't have anything wider than my Tacoma, as there was a most unpleasant filter at one point: even folding my mirrors in, I had to stay within one inch of a giant truck-sized boulder just so I could keep the other side of my truck 80% on the road -- the alternative was a long, long way down. The reward was a spectacular saddle at the peak, with a nice wide flat spot to turn around, park, and set up camp. I was able to watch the sun go down as the full moon came up, with expansive views both directions.
    That night I had a 2" thick 1.5# angus ribeye, a carton of foil-packet-sauteed mushrooms, foil-packet potatoes, and a quart of Maredsous quadruppel. Nothing like cooking on a campfire in the middle of nowhere to make a very overcooked steak taste like one of the three best that I've ever had! Or maybe it was a quart of my favorite beer.
    Did a quick evaluation of the truck before turning in for the night: I imagined myself showing up to America's Tire on Monday and smugly asking the salesman to explain again why it was I "needed" an extended warrantee for my rather thoroughly mangled (Mengeled?) tires I just got.
    Drifted off to sleep with the moon above me, the Milky Way peeking out later, and thoughts of what cool stuff I would find tomorrow morning in this massive mine tunnel a few hundred yards from me.


    Part 3: It Was A Beautiful Truck

    Meaning to get up well before the sunrise so as to enjoy every second of it, I end up instead getting up just before the sky lights up with color. Meh, still purty! Leisurely make breakfast -- nothing better in the morning than eating bacon & eggs & left-over potatoes straight out of the fry pan on the campfire with a colorful sky over the saddle of a mountain in my third-favorite (but most accessible) area to explore! -- pack the truck, then don my headlamp and gloves so I can hike deep into the Robertson cave to see what there is. I end up coming out of the cave with some very interesting ore samples (told later it was high-grade gold ore). Load them in the truck, tuck my mirrors in for the return through the Death Squeeze (that section mentioned previously with the boulder on one side and the dropoff on the other), and work my way down the STEEP hillside.
    At the bottom I continue on through famous Goler Wash, expecting to come upon the road grader at any moment; Goler Wash is known to be a tough 4x4 stretch of trail, but thanks to the recent grading, it's passable by my wife's 2wd Rav4......even the notorious dry waterfalls are nothing more than a shallow ramp. So rather than enjoying what should have been a challenging drive, I switch my focus to enjoying the incredible synclines and anticlines and other awesome geology that only Death Valley can offer (see my FB pics).
    The narrow canyon quickly opens up to the Panamint Valley floor below, and I descend the alluvial fan to the smooth dirt Wingate Road below, skirting the eastern edge of the salt pan on my way to Ballarat.
    I had been meaning to stop into Ballarat for some time, ever since my first trip to DV with Matthew. It is less impressive than I imagined, but still full of character. It's a ghost town with no services of any kind, but there are still a handful of hearty souls who live there (as in, one can count the residents on one hand), preferring the isolation and solitude and wide-open spaces the Panamint Valley offers (yes, I'm a bit jealous). The General Store/Museum is open to anyone passing through, complete with a smattering of emergency supplies passers-through have left (tire patch kits, JB Weld, cold beer & soda ["cold" = 12v cooler powered by solar panels], a smattering of cans and boxes of food and snacks, batteries, etc.), a visitors' book to sign, odds and ends of historical relics, plenty of conservative political cartoons and posters, local posters and pictures, and even a couple of absolutely demolished wheels out front with an admonition to "always bring a spare!" I mill about for a bit, help myself to a Pepsi, and get moving again. Before saying goodbye to Ballarat, I empty two of my fuel cans into my tank, filling it to Full.
    Noting the time (not enough to explore the entire Pleasant Canyon-Rogers Peak-South Park Canyon loop, but too much to head back home now), I decide to head up South Park Canyon a little ways before turning around and going home. I had already passed where it joined Wingate Road, so I knew where I was headed.
    South Park Canyon sounded like a challenging 4x4 trail according to the various research I did prior to my trip, and it turned out to be at least everything I hoped for. It starts off climbing one of the infinite alluvial fans that drains the Panamint Range, through seemingly endless extremely-tight switchbacks. In addition to the switchbacks that almost forced a couple of three-point turns, the trail is quite rocky and bouldery (4wd and higher-than-stock clearance a MUST!), and extremely steep -- I made it even more so by opting to take an extremely challenging shortcut at one point: so challenging, in fact, that it wasn't until my fifth (5!) attempt that I got through it (and it was steep enough that any attempt at turning around was guaranteed to roll me down the entire alluvial fan).
    As suddenly as the fan started from the salt pan below, it ended at South Park Canyon. The trail didn't get any easier at all, just changed in the type of difficulty. Instead of switchbacks and loose, crumbly traction, I was now in a narrow drainage with large rocks and boulders, and several dry falls I had to climb over (usually at the narrowest points, of course). But the scenery matched the difficulty!!
    Presently I came upon a "major" intersection with another single track trail that was clearly some kind of access spur to a mine. Looking at the time, I decided I would explore this spur a short distance, then continue up the main trail to the first cabin, which would be my turn-around point to go home.
    I was back in the switchbacks and loose rock again, with an even-steeper dropoff than when I was climbing the alluvial fan. But the views over the Panamint Valley saltpan were *impressive*! Surprised when my phone -- which I mount on my dash and use on these trips as my truck's gauges, GPS, compass, altimeter, and inclinometer -- starts giving me all kinds of notification beeps and buzzes, I picked a particularly stunning outcrop to park at and take in the view. I figured this is about the only time my entire trip I had cell service, so I upload a status update and some pics to Facebook. I spent more time than I wanted there, making sure all my uploads completed. Jumped back in the truck and continued up the trail.


    Part 4: Oh. Shit. SHIIIIITTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I come upon an intersection, the spur of which looks damn near impassable, and opt for the easier main trail, which takes me almost straight uphill. The trail cuts left at yet one more switchback.
    Still in 4-Lo from the climb up the hill, I round the switchback from what I realized too late was the wrong approach, cut hard left, and run my passenger steer tire high up the embankment on the right. Figuring it's a small boulder that I'll get off of quickly (and therefore have no issue with!), I push through the tilted turn. And then I realize I'm tilted beyond centerline. I hit the brakes (because really, the natural reaction is to stop whatever is happening that I don't want to happen, and the brake pedal is used to...well...*stop*, right?), and before I can correct that stupidity and hit the gas, I hear the POP of my side-curtain airbags ("SHIT! NO! SHIT SHIT SHIT!!! Not the fucking airbags!!"), the sickening crunch of a window collapsing ("well. fuck."), and the screech of metal against rock ("Oh, c'MON!! Not my beautiful paint! DAMMIT!!! SHIT DAMMIT SHIT!!!!!"), followed by the sound of everything in my cab -- including all the rock samples I had collected on the trip -- emptying out of their respective storage places and onto the driver's side of the truck. What seemed like ten minutes later, I was at a rest, getting a different perspective of the view in front of me, listening to the slow deflation of my side-curtain airbags. I immediately turned my truck off before anything happened to the engine.
    A quick assessment of my predicament told me that my roll wasn't continuing down the hill, and that it was relatively safe to climb out the front passenger window. Nothing quite like boot prints on the ceiling of my truck.
    Once out, I did a rapid assessment of the truck's stability and overall condition -- not moving at all, both good and bad -- then looked for an anchor point I could use to right myself. Once finding two options to anchor to, I then pulled my phone out to take pics, noted the exact time, and jogged the 1/4 mile downhill to the spot where I knew I had good data reception.
    Because the phone was only a few days old (read previous FB posts), I hadn't loaded all my various backcountry apps (GPS, compass, etc.). Thankfully, the data connection I had was enough that I could access the Google Store, and I downloaded a couple of GPS and compass apps. I used them to pull up my coordinates, then got all pertinent information out to Facebook (well, all except the explicit admonition NOT to contact the authorities, which would have run my bill into the tens of thousands of dollars had they found me first). I jogged back uphill (!!) to my truck, unloaded everything off the rack and the bed, and started to lay out and attach my various recovery gear.
    In terms of getting myself back up, my biggest concern was dislodging a particularly large boulder enough that it would destroy my truck, fuel tank first. I surveyed the first anchor point excessively (or I suppose more accurately, *thoroughly*), and determined it to be solid enough to rely on. The rest of the hill was as crumbly a surface as I've been on (think the traction of a classic high-Sierra scree slope, but composed of powder, sand, gravel, rocks, and boulders), but the anchor rock wasn't going anywhere.
    I wrapped my tree protector strap around my roof, and secured it with a 3/4" shackle. I then grabbed the floor mats out of the truck, and placed them on the anchor rock between the rock and my winch extension strap, so as to 1) protect the strap from damage, and 2) allow the strap to slide around the rock and help pull my truck up. I attached one end of the winch extension strap to the tree strap shackle on my roof, and the other to another 3/4" shackle that ran through the eye of my snatch block (a heavy-duty pulley designed to be used with a winch, used for doubling the capacity/power of the winch, or for pulling off-angle [such as I was doing here]) (the winch extension strap was just a bit short, so I used another cheap tow strap doubled-back to extend it to the pulley- hence in my pics the purple strap [winch extension strap] on one side and the yellow strap [cheap tow strap] on the other side). I then walked a good deal of winch cable off my spool, locked the spool, and walked the cable uphill to the snatch block; I ran the cable through the wheel portion of the snatch block, and connected the hook to the shackle attached to the tree strap on my roof.
    So if you're following my routing, I now have a double pull on my roof: a direct pull via my winch cable (routed through the snatch block), and an indirect pull via the winch extension strap that is getting power from the winch cable pulling on the snatch block. Two reasons this works: 1) I'm converting my winch pull from directly forward to sideways, which is the direction I need to pull from in order to flip up sideways, and 2) the frontline power of the winch is less than the sideways power of the *combination* of the winch AND the winch extension strap, the two of which are working together, rather than the winch working alone. If I had simply anchored the pulley to the rock, without anchoring it to the truck, I would have full winch power trying to pull the truck sideways, *while at the same time trying to drag the truck forward* (or the nose of the truck up the hill) because the winch is mounted in my front bumper. (If you would like more info, and I'm doing a poor job of explaining, let me know. I can either draw you a diagram when I see you, or I can look around online for a more clear explanation).
    I then turned the winch on, taking up the slack in the line. Once the line was tight and I heard the groaning of my truck being loaded, I took a deep breath and began pulling my truck up.
    The setup worked beautifully. In fact, it looked like I had done this before and knew exactly what I was doing. The truth is, THIS IS THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE I HAVE EVER OPERATED A WINCH! The truck righted itself without so much as a hiccup. Once it touched down on the slope that flipped it, I opened the driver's door and put the transmission in Neutral, then slowly eased the parking brake off. Working the parking brake with one hand and the winch controller with the other, I slowly eased the truck off the slope and onto flat ground, where it wouldn't fall over again. Once it came to a rest and the winch cable started going slack, I started breathing again.
    Snapped some more pics of the setup I did and the truck on its feet, then began unbuckling the recovery gear. At this point I was rapidly losing light.
    Realizing the winch had drained my battery perilously low, and that a dead battery meant I wasn't going anywhere, I figured I needed to get my battery fresh before pulling the winch line back in. The truck started right up without issue, and ran for a good five seconds before I heard the sickening and terrifying sound of CLANK CLANK CLANK THUNK. And then it was dead, wouldn't even turn over. And then I remembered I should have pulled the plugs and cranked it a few times to get the oil out of the cylinders ("Why oh why was I so focused on getting the battery fresh?!? I have a spare battery with me! Now I'm completely fucked, since no amount of fresh battery is going to fix a broken engine!!!!! FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"). So now that I was completely fucked, I figured it didn't matter much whether I killed the battery or not, so I reeled the winch cable back onto the spool -- or at least, tried to, since I ran out of battery before I got it all the way in.
    Finished packing the recovery gear up. Packed up all my other gear and food and supplies, and made one last status update to fb. Took one last assessment of my situation: stuck, fucked, and out of luck, but with provisions for over a week and a connection to the outside world (and a response from the outside world that a SAR effort was underway to get me out of there). Too exhausted/stressed to eat, I fell asleep in the bed of my truck, knowing I was going to need some sleep so I could face whatever it was that awaited me the next day.

    At no point was I ever worried about my own safety. My three biggest concerns were, in order: 1) I don't have the money to pay for any of this, 2) I promised Matthew I was taking him to Disneyland for his 5th birthday the day ofter tomorrow, and I'll never forgive myself if I can't keep that, and 3) My truck. Turns out, my wife and I were of one mind on this. In fact, my personal safety never even made the list of worries or concerns either of us had, or if it did, it was well past #1,000.


    Part 5: HOME!

    I slept like the dead that Sunday night, and woke up the next morning with the sun. I tried to sleep in a bit, but knew I had to get moving if I wanted to get back to the family in time to take Matthew to Disneyland.
    Having gotten word from a friend the night before that a couple of guys were headed up to meet me and help get me out, and would be there between 09:00 and 09:30, I wasn't in as big a hurry as I probably should have been. So I leisurely packed my 75L pack with two gallons of water, food for three or four days, warm clothes, first aid and other emergency gear, and my sleeping bag. Once done with that, I emptied my truck cab of anything remotely valuable or irreplaceable and began loading everything into the camper shell (the truck had a broken window, and the shell was intact and lockable). I was about five minutes from stepping off to head down the mountain and into the ghost town of Ballarat when I heard what was the unmistakable sound of not one, but two vehicle engines straining under the effort of climbing through difficult terrain. I was cautiously elated.
    Having heard the same sound the night before by a single passer-by, I had to temper my joy until I actually saw a vehicle traversing the very trail I was on.
    And when I did, I was ecstatic and relieved......relieved like I've never been before. I knew at that moment I was going home, and so was my truck. The time was 09:20.
    A red Jeep rounded the corner first, and paused for a minute or two. I could see the long radio antenna, so I assumed he was communicating with the other vehicle, letting him know I had been positively ID'd. The Jeep worked its way up the bouldery incline, and parked on the hairpin switchback. A few minutes later a near-bone-stock silver Tacoma pulled up behind him. Chris (the Jeep) introduced himself, as did Bill (the Tacoma). Said they had been told of my predicament by fellow PanamintValley.com forum member Dave Druck. I was told they knew the area like the back of their hands, and that this particular mine I was headed to was called Suitcase Mine, and that it was an old small gold mine......I was also told it was about the only trail his wife/girlfriend put her foot down about never visiting again due to its treacherous nature.
    Chris drove his way around to the front of my truck so we could try jumping it. Despite two paralleled sets of jumper cables, my truck's inability to start almost stalled his running engine. Internal damage about 95% confirmed at this point. So the only option left was to get my truck turned around and headed downhill.
    Chris's Jeep was used regularly for SAR operations, so this was nothing new to him. We got me hooked up, and after a few attempts, we got me facing mostly downhill. Because the Jeep was outfitted for crawling (5.30 gears, or thereabouts), he would do the heavy lifting of getting me off the mountain (it was a four cylinder, btw!) by towing me uphill when needed, and getting me unstuck if needed. Other than the Jeep doing a bit of a sideways slide down a steep dropoff, getting down was without incident. Not to say it was easy -- I was driving a 5,500# loaded truck that was built around operating with power steering and power brakes, without any amount of power, over boulders, rocks, ditches, and dry falls that were challenging *with* power......it felt like I was wrestling The Hulk. Once down, Bill and his Tacoma took over towing me to Ballarat, since his truck was much more streetable than the Jeep.
    As soon as we came to a stop in Ballarat (so Chris and Bill could air up their tires), I was greeted by a voice asking, "Are you Shane?" The voice came from a friendly CHP officer in an Expedition, who informed us that there was an official SAR effort underway on my behalf, and that the helicopter we saw while we were getting me turned around had been sent all the way from Fresno. This concerned me, as I was a bit worried I would be footing the bill. We all chatted for some time, before I indicated my desire to get home. Bill hooked his tow strap back up to my truck, and was kind enough to tow me all the way to Ridgecrest (a couple of hours). He parked me at a mini-mart near his house.
    I proceeded to spend the rest of the evening attempting to locate a flatbed trailer and a truck to tow it, and ended up finding two of the most generous friends I've ever met willing to do so. Brad (BeeRad) and Matt (The Traveler) borrowed a friend's truck and the Rebel Offroad trailer (Matt's work) and came to my rescue, finding me around 23:30 (about seven hours after pulling into Ridgecrest). I managed to get about two hours of sleep.
    The next hurdle was getting my truck onto a trailer not really designed to be driven onto by my particular setup. We made it work, using my winch to pull me up, charging my spare battery every 30 seconds or so. By about 01:15 I was on my way home to my family. (It was on the ride home while I was checking my messages that I discovered HBMurphy had already contacted me about having a low-miles motor available for me. I now have that very motor, and it had only 5,000 miles on it!).

    We pulled in front of my house right around 09:00 Tuesday morning. I've never hugged Matthew like I did that morning.
    By 10:30 we were on our way to Disneyland for his fifth birthday (and that includes getting my truck off the trailer and parked, and a shower).
     
  2. Jan 21, 2014 at 12:09 AM
    #322
    The Traveler

    The Traveler [OP] Formerly REBELTACO

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    I don't own a Taco anymore.
  3. Jan 21, 2014 at 1:29 AM
    #323
    cholzer

    cholzer Well-Known Member

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    Chris
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    OME 886 coils, N140S struts, N182 rear shocks, OME carrier bearing drop kit, Westin ultimate push bar, DERP'D black front grille and badges with white devil horns by Andres, custom fab'ed hi-lift jack mounts and 48" hi-lift jack, Clarion double din DVD/NAVI head unit, ECGS front diff bushing, map lights on with dome light Mod, throwout bearing upgrade by URD. Future ECGS 3rd with 4 10 gears
    I have to say there are some really cool people on this forum and I'm glad to be a part of it.
    Mach 375 your trip sounds like it was pretty amazing from the views to the rescue thanks for sharing it
     
  4. Jan 21, 2014 at 3:45 AM
    #324
    Mach375

    Mach375 Habitual Violator of Wheeling Rule #2

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    Sathington "Alowicious Devadander Abercrombie" Willoughby (but you can call me Mud)
    Worse than Hell (SoCal)
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    '11 DCLB 4x4 TRD Sport
    Too much to list, but enough to get me in trouble. Repeatedly.
    Yeah, well, YOU didn't need to read it, did you? :D
     
  5. Jan 21, 2014 at 4:02 AM
    #325
    Delmarva

    Delmarva Mayor of TW

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    A good read... although the circumstances sucked... :eek:
     
  6. Jan 21, 2014 at 4:28 AM
    #326
    The6pharaohs

    The6pharaohs WTF just happened?

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    Great story. Thanks for sharing
     
  7. Jan 21, 2014 at 4:35 AM
    #327
    Airdog

    Airdog Well-Known Member

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    E&G Grill, Alpine MRX-F65 Amp, Alpine SWS-10D4 Sub, Image Dynamics CTX65cs component speakers, BHLM, TRS Bi-xenon Morimoto Mini Stage III Kit (D2S)with Halo's, LED's Fog, parking, DRL and License Plate , ProComp Wheel Series 7089, Hankook AT 315/75/16, Total Chaos Stock Length LCA, Icon 2.5 Extended Coilover Resi's, Icon Tubular UCA's, Icon 2.0 Rear Resi's, Maxtrac Spindles 4 inch lift, OME Dakar Leafs w/D29xl extra Leaf, AP U-bolt Flip Kit, Extended Brakelines, Pelfreybilt Front Plate Bumper, Pelfreybilt Rear HC Bumper, Pelfreybilt IFS Skid, Pelfreybilt Mid Skid, Rigid Industries 20" LED lightbar, BAMF Behind the Grill Lightbar, Relentless Bed CrossBars

    Guess you need to write for the twits on the forums. 150 characters or less. Goddamn kids these days ;)
     
  8. Jan 21, 2014 at 8:36 AM
    #328
    92shawman

    92shawman LensCap

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    Lots...see build
    pssshh, wimps. :p
    Set aside like 25 minutes to read it, if you're interested. It's a really good read and is written very well!
    The tl;dr version you guys already know from the rest of this thread: he was out on his own for fun to get away (sounded like an awesome trip, too), rolled, righted himself, blew the engine, people came to escort him down, Matt came with trailer, he was home in time to take his son to Disneyland for his birthday.
     
  9. Jan 21, 2014 at 9:41 AM
    #329
    jkirkpatrick

    jkirkpatrick Well-Known Member

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    Good read!
     
  10. Jan 21, 2014 at 1:06 PM
    #330
    bjmoose

    bjmoose Bullwinkle J. Moose

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    Thanks for posting. In the spirit of learning for me, and others, can I ask a few questions?

    I'm interested in your assessment of the relative difficulty/treachery of the goler canyon road/mengel pass route vs. the one you ultimately stranded on the "suitcase mine" trail. Your description prior to the rollover didn't seem to make one seem all that much more treacherous than the other?

    In various other places you talked about self-spotting by getting out and walking surveying a section before driving it. Did you do that on the final climb you ended rolling on before you drove it? If not, why not? Would that have helped?

    In a couple places you mention being concerned that SAR would end up costing you out of pocket. Did the friendly CHP officer give you any more info on whether that was a legitimate fear or not?
     
  11. Jan 21, 2014 at 9:26 PM
    #331
    Mach375

    Mach375 Habitual Violator of Wheeling Rule #2

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    Too much to list, but enough to get me in trouble. Repeatedly.
    I had heard of Goler and Mengel well before I checked them out for myself, so I had a good idea of what to expect in terms of difficulty.
    Mengel lived up to its reputation. It's only about 100-200 yards, but combine the uphill aspect with the size and spacing of the boulders, and it was quite the challenge. Extremely careful line selection and wheel placement allowed me to get through without sliders, but I wouldn't really try it again without them.
    Goler was a disappointment. The grader had just been through (as evidenced by the equipment tracks visible in the soft sand), and so all the fun had been scraped out of it. Even the dry falls were nothing more than shallow ramps. But the scenery was about the best I had on the trip (one must like geology in order to appreciate the scenery. The incredible folding of the rocks is impressive! Many faults through the area).
    South Park Canyon I really didn't know what to expect, other than that it was difficult. It's not really comparable to Mengel, the two being in different leagues. But it was quite a challenge getting to where Suitcase branched off. The switchbacks alone were enough for some to have to do multi-point turns. The one bypass I took gave me the biggest challenge I've had yet: five or six attempts to get up the nearly 30% incline on a crumbly alluvial fan, with no option to turn around, and backing out would be damn near impossible. Once off the alluvial fan, the canyon was pretty, and challenging (tight, lots of dry falls). It looked like it was going to get tougher past the Suitcase branch, but I never got to find out -- I will this year, one way or another!
    South Park Canyon is actually the southern leg of a loop trail that starts at Ballarat and heads up to Rogers Peak via Pleasant Canyon. I was taking it in reverse of the direction people normally travel it (typical of me). From my research, I would say the entire loop is not for the faint of heart, or for anything but a well-built rig; if South Park Canyon was any indication, my research was spot on. The only thing that makes the Butte Valley route difficult is Mengel -- it is otherwise a fairly easy trail with spectacular scenery and spectacular isolation. The loop through Rogers Peak is, from what I can discern both through research and my experience with South Park Canyon, tough going the whole way, and on par with Mengel in terms of difficulty (but for 100% of the route, not ~100 yards).
    The Suitcase Mine spur was your classic mine spur trail: narrow, twisty, rocky, unmaintained, very loose, with sheer cliffs on one side and sheer dropoffs on another, and little room to maneuver. But it hugged the west-facing cliff overlooking the Panamint Valley, so the view was jaw-dropping. Traction was around 60%, with plenty of basketball-sized rocks strewn about just waiting for your tire to chuck them out. The particular spot I rolled was a particularly tight switchback, one that I should have done Austin Powers style.

    I did on the uphill approach to my rollover spot, because the incline was so steep. But I did not survey the switchback where I actually rolled, because from the cab it looked rather tame. I don't think it would have helped: I rolled it not because of misjudging the line or the difficulty, but because I stupidly entered it wrong (I knew it at the time I was doing it), and then even more stupidly pushed through. I knew I should have stopped and multi-pointed it, but for some reason I still don't know or understand, I didn't. Stupid mistake is all, not a lack of reading the terrain.

    No. I didn't ask, and he didn't say. I did mention about how I was concerned about the cost had the helicopter found me first, but he didn't respond in any manner indicating whether my concerns were valid or not.
    I have read enough stories of people getting rescued by government agencies and getting billed for the rescue. This is usually the case when the rescue was avoidable in the first place (ignoring Road Closed signs, getting caught in a flash flood when all signs were apparent it was going to happen, driving the wrong vehicle in the wrong place, and an infinite number of other scenarios) -- I certainly felt this was the case for me. And I'm sure the great state of California would see it that way, too.
     
  12. Jan 22, 2014 at 9:40 AM
    #332
    bjmoose

    bjmoose Bullwinkle J. Moose

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    Thanks for the clarifications.

    But sorry, "Austin Powers Style" ? :confused:
     
  13. Jan 22, 2014 at 10:08 AM
    #333
    Mach375

    Mach375 Habitual Violator of Wheeling Rule #2

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    Too much to list, but enough to get me in trouble. Repeatedly.
  14. Jan 22, 2014 at 11:26 AM
    #334
    Fernando

    Fernando Mud Slinger

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    Good read sir! Glad you made it out safe....Im glad there are still good people in this world
     
  15. Jan 23, 2014 at 7:14 PM
    #335
    Mach375

    Mach375 Habitual Violator of Wheeling Rule #2

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    Too much to list, but enough to get me in trouble. Repeatedly.
    For those in SoCal, I plan on going to the weekly OC meet tomorrow (Friday) night, in case anyone wanted to see firsthand the damage. I'll even bring the two pistons with me (and the motor, unless I can get it out of the bed before then).
     
  16. Mar 22, 2014 at 12:31 AM
    #336
    Mach375

    Mach375 Habitual Violator of Wheeling Rule #2

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    Too much to list, but enough to get me in trouble. Repeatedly.
    Huh. I never really looked at this.
    Yep. That is precisely spot-on where it happened. I can see the wide, sweeping right turn where I first had data service, the steep climb from that to the switchback, and even the near-impossible short spur to the left. And of course the hella tight switchback that got me (where the map point is).
    Yes, it's as hairy as the satellite imagery looks!

    Btw- the anchor rock for my self-extraction is the light brown speck surrounded by slightly-darker brownness directly above the "56" in the latitude coordinates of the first image.
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2014
  17. Mar 22, 2014 at 1:28 AM
    #337
    cosmicfires

    cosmicfires Well-Known Member

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    Fine account of an adventure. Good you got out with minimal damage all things considered.
     
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