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After receiving almost 3" of rain all day Saturday, the mud was unavoidable. I've never seen so many
Posted by: Birdman86 (3763) on 2015-06-29 16:03:34
In Reply to: Heading to the mountains to go crawling again this weekend. I will try and avoid the mud this time posted by Birdman86 on 2015-06-25 12:27:39

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people have to use a winch. Things were slippery but fine in the rocky areas while it was raining, we even drove a couple streams which was great (See picture one below). Once it stopped raining, the clay turned into 2"-4" sticky paste, with hardpack clay underneath. I could barely walk without slipping. Then a heavy fog began to set in reducing visibility to about 100 yds max. My group ended up splitting up because several of us were getting stuck and were unable to make it up the inclines. About 2/3 of the group turned around and backtracked out while myself and two others tried to finish the hill we were already committed to. Jeep 1 was an LJ Rubicon (silver Jeep in Pic one) with new 37" Mud Tires but a dead winch and was able to make it up on its own, but had to be fully locked and in 3rd or 4th gear to get enough momentum. Jeep 2 was a TJ with lockers but "balding" mud tires with a good winch. He had to winch his way up the entire hill. I was Jeep 3 and my BFG Mud Terrains were at about 60% and I didn't have a winch at all. I was ok getting up the hill with both axles locked but had to stop halfway up because Jeep 2 had gotten stuck and was winching. Once he was eventually fully clear of the trail (about 45 mins later) I couldn't get any traction starting out on the incline. I had to bail out and try to turn around and backtrack out, hopefully meeting up with Jeeps 1 and 2 a few minutes later.

Once I finally got turned around and half way out to our meetup point, I ended up in a bowl of sorts with three steep trails as the only exits, and tons of trees everywhere else. These three trails were a mere level 3 or 4 (10 being hardest and for buggy's only) under dry conditions and could be passed by a stock JK Sport. But by now, the terrain and atmosphere resembled that of Dagobah (see above, add hills). I thought for sure Yoda was going to come out of one of the massive puddles and offer to lift my jeep out of this hellhole. To make matters worse, trail 1 was blocked by an XJ getting winched down, trail 2 had a dead XJ with engine trouble getting winched up, and trail three was inaccessible due to the conditions and side slope approach. I couldn't go back the way I had just come because we almost lost two jeeps going down that previous hill 2 hours before due to the angled steep incline and ruts turning everyone sideways and sliding down, almost rolling (Pics below with Becko JKU). I was officially fucked (pic two and three below). I couldn't raise anyone on the CB as the fog, trees, and rocky hills were limiting comms to about 75 yds max. I was able to walk around and find a spot where I stood on one foot, touched a rock, and got one bar of 1x reception and called one of the other guys. After about 10 mins of broken communication, we were able to establish our positions and arrange a link up. Eventually, they said they made it to the hill where the XJ was being winched. After 10-15 mins of confusion, we realized they were at hill 1, not hill 2 as I thought. There was no way I could make it up hill one without a winch, and there was no way they could make it down hill 1 with only 1 good winch.

It was then decided that I was to make it as far up hill 2 as I could, and then the group who winched down hill one would help me up hill two if needed (by taking hill 3 if I got stuck on hill 2). Jeep 1 and 2 from my group continued on a different path and encountered their own troubles later on. I aired down to 6 psi, lined up on hill two, put it in third gear with both axles locked, and dumped the clutch. The wife had one hand on the dash bar, one hand on the paracord ohshit handle, and with her eyes shut proceeded to scream the entire way up the hill. The trail was so rutted that I was airborne several times, the tool box in the back of the jeep must have bounced off every bit of cage in the back, I'm not sure how it didn't break, and I nearly face-planted into the steering wheel 3 times. Yoda must have been there, because I managed to get my 4900lb tank up this rutted nasty hill lined with trees, without a scratch. About 5 minutes later, one of the guys that drives a Polaris Razer miraculously showed and lead me back to the fire road, at which point I knew my way back to camp.

I had never been so nervous or full of adrenaline as I had been that afternoon. The wife thought for sure we were going to have to sleep in the Jeep that night, but I had faith.

I have new 37" tires and a winch in the mail lol

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