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Champions of Stuck
Above photos were taken by Joe Ruby KC7GHT, and posted to the Jeeps Unlimited Forum
is "stuck," and then there is "damned stuck." And stranding a Dodge Ram 1500
truck and a Jeep Wrangler on a vertigo-inspiring slope some 12,500 feet high
on Houghton Mountain most definitely qualifies for the latter. This incident
occured on Monday July 31, 2000 when two brothers from Dallas were lured to
their precarious perches above California Gulch by a sheep trail that intersected
a logging road. They came over a ridge and got into steep country, committed
to continue toward California Gulch, and eventually couldn’t turn back because
it just got steeper and steeper. By the time the drivers had realized their
error, it was too late. While not completely vertical, there were spots so
steep than you had to hang on with your hands and feet to reach the vehicles.
Their comments afterward: "We're really not stupid people. It was a momentary
lapse of judgment that got us to where we're at. Too bad we can't rewind"
Both vehicles were unable to proceed forward or backwards without sliding/rolling down the 60-70% slope to the valley road 1200' down slope and 500' vertically below. One of the Hatcher vehicles practically nose-dived 50 feet down the slope before it stopped sliding, and the other made a sickening 30 feet sideways slide. No one was crazy enough to take a full-sized wrecker out onto the slope, so the pair spent the week doggedly trudging up and down the mountain toting heavy loads of recovery tools in an effort to rescue the vehicles themselves. On Saturday, with the help of some fellow off-road enthusiasts and an off-duty BLM employee, the team used a Hummer, a Sniper, heavy anchors, winches, cables and a tow rope to turn, pull and drag the two vehicles about 1,000 feet up a steep slope to an area where they could be driven safely.
News articles about this mis-adventure: