Buck Lake (cliff) Jeep Recovery

So, I get a random phone call late Friday afternoon. I actually missed the call and just listened to the voice message. I didn’t get all of the details but something about a guy, Dan, stuck on the Ellis Peak Trail, a side trail off the Rubicon on the Tahoe side.

I called him back and got the short story. Slipped off to the side of the trail, rocks gave away underneath, slipped farther off to the side. No winch points anywhere to be found. Could I help him out?

An email and a few phone conversations later. I had a friend and fellow Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo, Paul, lined up to take two rigs out (never travel alone) and get this guy a winch point to get him unstuck. Saturday morning 9am we were at the staging area ready to help this guy out.

I should mention that I was running later that expected as I left my phone on the charger and had to go home after fueling to get it. Only a 15-minute dely. I actually picked up the guy where he was staying and gave him a ride to the staging area and then his rig. But wait, he forgot his keys to the stuck rig and we met his wife half way back. Now 30-minutes late.

Paul and I pulled up on the rig which ended up being on the Buck Lake Trail. We got out, surveyed the situation and then I said to Dan, “if you had sent me a picture, I would have brought more help”.

This guys Jeep was completely off the trail on a 45-degree slope. I have no idea why this thing hadn’t tumbled down the hill. Then I heard the story of his wife and two large dogs bailing out the passenger side, the high side, and then the driver, Dan, climbing out.

Paul and I had a plan but didn’t like it. So, we decided to drop back, punt, call in reinforcements and come back the next day.

Note red circle around Jeep hanging on cliff.

More phone calls and emails, this time with pictures. The Hi-Lo’s stepped up and we went back in at 8:30am the next day with six rigs. One of which was a bright yellow, 8900 pound Unimog!

The initial set up, using the Unimog as the anchor and a winch and snatch block on each end to pull the Jeep a little sideways, just pulled the Unimog toward the Jeep.

Both winching rigs had a back up rig anchoring them to prevent them from getting putted forward.

I have to admit it was a beautiful place to spend a day at Tahoe.

To prevent the Unimog from getting pulled sideways, I had to drive up the trail and work around to a position above the Unimog and send down a 200’ winch line extension to secure the Unimog.

A second rig would have been nice to anchor me but all I had was a boulder with a tow strap around it.

That allowed the Jeep to be pulled side ways to get two tires on the trail, sort-of. The lines were reconfigured to pull the Jeep forward. A come-along from the bumper of the Unimog to the rocker guards of the Jeep was used to keep tension sideways.

Three hours onsite and the Jeep was back on the trail. No body got hurt and no further damage took place.

It was a very rewarding day working with a bunch of great guys and helping someone had had only met the day before.

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Rubicon Ronin