JGW (Jeff's Gone Wheeling) @ The Cliffs Insane Terrain 022413
Me and two buddies (shortstax33 and LeadDog) decided we needed to get back out on the trail, even if it was covered in snow. The last time I went wheeling was on October 20, 2012 @ The Badlands...much too long ago. For this trip we decided to hit The Cliffs Insane Terrain, since it's only an hour from home, the choice is almost a no-brainer.
We met up at 9am, aired down and hit the trails.
(L-R: LeadDog, Me and shortstax33)
The park wasn't crowed at all....probably something to do with the snow and it being Sunday.
We weren't 10-minutes into our run and shortstax (Matt) got stuck.
The ice was holding him back....but he powered out.
LeadDog (Chris) and I had an easier time of it, once the ice was broken up.
We decided to take the loop around the park (Trail 1) and see how things were. It wasn't long before, well.....
Matt got stuck in a hole....ice and snow hides them holes well.
Nothing a little winch couldn't handle.
Chris drove to the right of the hole, which seemed to be the logical thing to do.
I guess I don't use logic.
That there, is stuck.
What tread my MTR's have left, couldn't bite into that ice.
So I pulled winch line.
I actually had to crawl over the center console and get out on the passenger side, since that tree wasn't getting out of the way.
Once free of that mess we made our way down Trail 1 with no issues, until we got to Lori's Holler. The staff told us Lori's Holler was probably a good spot to avoid, but what fun would that have been?
I decided to give the Holler a shot.
The first challenge was not to slide down the hill out of control. I put it into 4lo to walk down...well I thought I had. As I started down I popped out of low and had to use the brakes, which isn't really a good thing. I managed to come to a safe stop at the bottom. The next question was, now what?
I put it in 4hi (for real) and tried to power my way up the other side.
I didn't make it.
Backing back down the hill was a bit of a butt pucker. I gave it two more shots....to no avail. On the last try I got to the highest spot I could then started spinning. I wasn't going forward, but I wasn't sliding backwards either. I just stayed on the gas and yelled for Matt.
Matt made his way over, on foot, grabbed my winch gear, pulled my line and hooked me to a tree...all while I was "treadmilling" it right where I was.
Once hooked up with the winch line I just pulled myself up and out.
Matt and Chris decided to turn around and go back to the bypass....now why didn't I think of that?
The next obstacle was a down hill, with no upside.
Matt going down Superman.
Chris and I in line for Superman.
Going down Superman
We found a spot that looked like something we should avoid....you know, fresh snow over what appeared to be a frozen mud hole....a big frozen mud hole. Matt was leading and went around it. Chris was next, and Matt and I thought for sure he was going to bypass it. Matt and I were a bit shocked when Chris gunned it and started going straight at the pending doom. We yelled, he stopped. We told him we would do that, he said "How deep can it be? I said "Four to five feet." Chris said "Really?" I said "Who knows." Chris decided to give it a shot....but much slower.
After one loud crack sound and another spin of the tires.....
Chris had a break through, so to speak.
Ok, it wasn't 4-5 feet deep, but it was deep enough.
Chris was good and stuck. With the ground so slick I needed to find an anchor point before attempting a pull. This is when all the trees come in handy. I hooked up, started pulling, and nothing. Not wanting to burn my Superwinch up for someone other than myself (no offense Chris), I yelled for Matt to hook up his Jeep and which line to Chris as well. We did a two winch pull to get Chris free. It was at that moment that I decided I needed a snatch block...lol.
After that we were back on the move.
Did I mention that it was messy?
We made our way back to the lot and decided to have a little snack. While doing so we met up with a couple from Iowa, in a TJ. The guy was named Josh, but I never heard his girlfriends name. They were alone, so we invited them to fall in with us.
We decided to head up to the RTI ramp.
From here the plan was to go back down Trail 1, until we got to Lori's Holler, and so Josh could see the way around, as this was his first time at the park....well, plans don't always go the way you plan them.
Before we got very far Chris got stuck.
He had to sit there and let several Jeepers go by, while he enjoyed is moment of shame.
Matt backed up and gave Chris a tug, or three, and set him free.
I think Josh was just rubbing it in here.
Matt decided we'd do Trail 3....which was really Trail 13, which should have been an omen right there. I mean why would you even name a trail 13?
The very first obstacle on 13 was a down hill, with a right hand turn around a tree, then a climb with a slight left. Matt questioned it, but we went anyway...there was another clue.
Matt negotiating the tree.
Matt getting on the gas and up the other side.
Getting pitched a bit sideways on the way up.
Josh was a bit concerned about the tree, but he missed it.
Me just sitting on the trail.....I can't take a photo of me going around the tree.
We all made that without much drama, and pressed on.
We ended up going down a hill, through a creek and to a dead end. There was nowhere to go..............but up. We weren't sure where we were going to go to go up, and after much looking and thinking we picked the biggest hill we could find, of course....which meant we had to turn around and go through the creek again.
Matt coming out of the creek.
Now, about the hill. It was a pretty long climb, with a pretty deep rut on the passenger side. I went first. It took me three tries, but I made it. I was in 4hi, locked front and rear, with the throttle pinned, but I made it.
Matt was next. He tried, and he tried, and he tried, but no luck.
Finally we tried to old "treadmill" trick that I used in Lori's Holler. Matt made it as far as he could and then winched himself up. We used a tow strap for extra length on the winch line. It took a bit of doing but he made it.
Josh got further than Matt, but again winching was needed.
Josh making his way up.
And then there was Chris. Chris didn't make very far at all. This was going to require some rigging. We hooked up at least two snatch 'em straps, attached them to Josh's winch and as Chris drove up the hill as far as he could he held the throttle and treadmilled it, until I hooked him up. In the end it required both Josh and Matt's winches to get Chris up....but we did it. Sure we could have turned around and went up where we had come down, but what fun would it have been to go back the way we came? I don't know if anyone got any pics of this situation, I know I was too busy.
Thankfully once we were all up the hill the trail actually led us back to Trail 1....we weren't sure that was going to be the case, after all Matt said we were on Trail 3, not Trail 13.
Chris going through a small gully on our way back to Trail 1.
Once back to Trail 1 I led us back to Lori's Holler. We weren't going to drive though it, we were just showing Josh where it was.
Once we got to Lori's Holler we found a Land Rover stuck at the bottom. The couple, husband and wife, had just bought this thing a couple of weeks ago, it wasn't brand new, just new to them. They were royally screwed. Street tires may look good at the mall, but they weren't doing them much good in the holler. We decided to be good Jeepers and pull them out....backwards. this took 3 snatch 'em straps and three jeeps. Matt and I winched and Josh was an anchor point, and ended up winching me while I winch the Rover. It took some doing but we got them out. I was covered in mud, as was the inside of my jeep by the time this recovery effort was over. All of our recovery gear is in need of a bath too. I didn't get any pics of this recovery either, I wasn't about to touch my camera with my muddy hands.
We told the Rover couple to follow us, and we'd make sure they got back to the lot. I ended up pulling them out of one more moment of stuckness....that's a work right?
We made it back to the lot at right around 3pm, aired up said our good bye's and hit the road.
The Rover couple did say thank you, and even mentioned that their next vehicle would be a Jeep. :D
Here's how my Jeep looked at days end...you can see the Rover in the background too.
I'll be uploading many many photos and some vids to my website, and when I'm done I'll post a link.
Hopefully the other's will post any pics and vids they took as well.
I had a great time today, all the winching was actually fun.
PS: It's late, and I'm tired, so if I screwed something up, I'm sure Matt, Chris or Josh will let me know.
Here's the link to all my pictures and vids: The Cliffs 022413
Thanks, as always, for the pics! Even my ice fishing adventure!
There are certain rules to be followed and keeping the camera safe is one of them.
It could be an expensive error to not follow that rule!
I'll try and get my pictures posted up tonight.
Excellent video! But none of my plunge into the depths. :doh:
Nice report Jeff!
Tonight after work I spent $13 to wash the Jeep and $2.50 to wash my boots. The interior is going to take a full day.....a warm day, so I'm not sure when that'll be.
Yeah...sorta passed out lol. Apparently I needed some sleep, I'll work on it tonight again lol.
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