An incident worth talking about. Kinetic Recovery Accident.

zimm

Expedition Leader
I look at this whole incident simply for what it is. A misuse of equipment that demonstrates the "safety" of using lesser soft components for quick recovery encourages speed and creates a process no more safe than a good ol' fashioned winch and bow shackle used correctly.

Recovery isn't just the pieces, it's a process, and it's the process that dictates safety.

Have you ever watched riggers in confined spaces move things like safes, generators, or other heavy pieces? They take their time, examine conditions, formulate plan, have the right equipment in good working order, prioritize safety, and use the LEAST amount of energy necessary to complete the task.

I have a bubba rope, but I've only ever been involved in using a bubba rope once. Getting a loaded straight truck up over a muddy slick rise. There was no avoiding the total energy needed given the conditions and weight disparity. Other than that it's a process where I take the time and I use hand tools, rocks or ramps to create conditions that lessen the stress on a winch and energy in the system, and nothing breaks.

The first soft shackle I have was a handout from lucky8 that was labeled 18000 pounds max break. Since that day its been used as a handhold extension on the fj60 for short people climbing in. I use dyneema line simply because its lighter and I never found a pair of gloves that could resist a steel line fray. I use bow shackles. I know their origin of manufacture and their history. I use straps from rigging/trucking suppliers with proper labeling and 4x the wwl I could load them to. I do NOT put 12,000lb winces on 6000lb trucks. I WANT my failure point to be the WINCH. I can double line an 8000lb winch on my 7800lb loaded lexus, (splitting the load on the line) and if I need more than that, then I'm not using the correct process. Th reason the truck isn't moving is ME, not the available equipment.

Soft shackles are handy and light, but as far as a solution? They are only a solution for a process problem you created yourself, and as this demonstrates, by assuming any components are "safe" you may have just moved your procedural issues further down the line where they become exponentially more dangerous. Soft parts or not.

Just my opinion. Feel free to disagree.
 
Last edited:

zimm

Expedition Leader
What I find hard to understand (leaving aside our desire to own and play with more things and the retailer's desire to sell us more gimmicks) is why we have gotten rid of tow hooks? A tow hook means NO shackles at all, which is less to fail or fly around. And less to fiddle with.
View attachment 822684
Assuming all else equal in the strength department, hooks limit the angle you can pull, and rigging falls off. Personally I'm not to keen on one bolt in single sheer. I'll take a cheap loop welded both ends to the frame any day over that. It does look cool though.
 

driveby

Active member
Interesting discussion on order of tool choice. Reminded me of my now ancient life guard training:

Reach: lay down and reach for the person
Throw: toss a line/ring/recovery to the person
Row: take a boat/sling/and don't get wet yet
Go: Finally get wet and swim
Tow: that one is obvious.


Point being the rescuer's safety is always paramount and only put yourself or the other person in higher risk if there is no other choice. Traction board comment above is a good lesson IMHO. Hard when many of us spend some serious $$ on a winch and fancy cables and a rock on the side of the trail would suffice.
 

dstefan

Well-known member
I look at this whole incident simply for what it is. A misuse of equipment that demonstrates the "safety" of using lesser soft components for quick recovery encourages speed and creates a process no more safe than a good ol' fashioned winch and bow shackle used correctly.

Recovery isn't just the pieces, it's a process, and it's the process that dictates safety.

Have you ever watched riggers in confined spaces move things like safes, generators, or other heavy pieces? They take their time, examine conditions, formulate plan, have the right equipment in good working order, prioritize safety, and use the LEAST amount of energy necessary to complete the task.

I have a bubba rope, but I've only ever been involved in using a bubba rope once. Getting a loaded straight truck up over a muddy slick rise. There was no avoiding the total energy needed given the conditions and weight disparity. Other than that it's a process where I take the time and I use hand tools, rocks or ramps to create conditions that lessen the stress on a winch and energy in the system, and nothing breaks.

The first soft shackle I have was a handout from lucky8 that was labeled 18000 pounds max break. Since that day its been used as a handhold extension on the fj60 for short people climbing in. I use dyneema line simply because its lighter and I never found a pair of gloves that could resist a steel line fray. I use bow shackles. I know their origin of manufacture and their history. I use straps from rigging/trucking suppliers with proper labeling and 4x the wwl I could load them to. I do NOT put 12,000lb winces on 6000lb trucks. I WANT my failure point to be the WINCH. I can double line an 8000lb winch on my 7800lb loaded lexus, (splitting the load on the line) and if I need more than that, then I'm not using the correct process. Th reason the truck isn't moving is ME, not the available equipment.

Soft shackles are handy and light, but as far as a solution? They are only a solution for a process problem you created yourself, and as this demonstrates, by assuming any components are "safe" you may have just moved your procedural issues further down the line where they become exponentially more dangerous. Soft parts or not.

Just my opinion. Feel free to disagree.
I have never agreed more with a post on EP than this one! Excellent layout of the critical issues, especially this statement, which we all should have pasted to the sun visors in our rigs to see every time we're out:
"Recovery isn't just the pieces, it's a process, and it's the process that dictates safety."

Bill Burke used to be the off-road training and recovery guru (at least 15 years ago in the Toyota world) and I had one of his early videos on recovery. The thing that always stuck with me was his harping on doing a Stuck Assessment and then repeating it after every unsuccessful effort — basically what @zimm said, but I love the term.

The other thing I haven’t seen come up in this thread, or missed it if it has, is just how dangerous well meaning and helpful passers-by can be. Sure they can get you out, but they can also ******* you up seriously as the Caleb video demonstrates.

One of the most horrific off-road accident videos I’ve ever seen was a newby driver in a Jeep being mis-directed completely by a spotter at the top of Diablo Drop Off in Anza causing her to not roll but go end over end down the hill several times breaking her back, IIRC (search Heart Attack Hill). There are numerous other examples in Youtube land.

My wife is one of the best spotters going, with decades of experience and she’ll be spotting me sometimes and I’m constantly amazed by the guys who sometimes materialize standing behind her and persisting in trying to give me spotting instructions, often in conflict with her’s and sometimes seriously wrong. I’ve had to get out of my vehicle several times to explain the situation to them and politely ask them to butt out.

One of the things Bill Burke stressed a lot was there always needed to be one experienced person in charge of a recovery and EVERYONE had to take their cues from the leader. Sometimes that can be the passer-by when the stuckee is a newby, but it’s the owner/driver of the stuck vehicle that has to make that assessment actively and grant that authority, not just let it devolve to the pulling vehicle driver. That was a big mistake Caleb made along with failing to reasses after each pull attempt.
 

fourfa

Observer
...a newby driver in a Jeep being mis-directed completely by a spotter at the top of Diablo Drop Off in Anza causing her to not roll but go end over end down the hill several times breaking her back, IIRC (search Heart Attack Hill)

Just to clarify, Diablo Drop Off and Heart Attack Hill are two different obstacles on two different trails in Anza-Borrego. Diablo is NBD really, a little steep but I've watched stock vehicles with no lockers drive up it with a little coaching. It's fun.

Heart Attack Hill on the Pinyon Mountain trail on the other hand is extremely steep with deeply rutted off-camber shelf drops and I'm sure some momentum and a badly-placed tire could initiate an end-over-end roll. Would like to see that video.
 

ChasingOurTrunks

Well-known member
I feel like this would have had a different outcome if two things changed:

1) A little (or a lot) less "send it" on the skinny pedal (as slow as possible as fast as necessary comes to mind)
2) Thread the soft shackle through a smooth-edged D-Ring, and not the sharp holes the D-Ring mounts to.

And that being said I'm grateful he posted the video. Wise people learn from their mistakes, wiser people learn from the mistakes of others, and it takes a particularly GOOD and wise person to share their mistakes so that the rest of us can learn like this.

Zimm, you nailed it - it's a process. I can see how the rush to get back on the trail and all those factors come into play - we've all made decisions in haste and got away with it - but this is a solid reminder to take a breath and remember Zimm's words.

I've said before that the most important bit of recovery gear is your Coffee kit - use it first to make a cup, take a breath, and figure the plan.

Sincere kudos to you Metcalf for sharing this and to the creator of that video for sharing his learning with us.
 

dstefan

Well-known member
Just to clarify, Diablo Drop Off and Heart Attack Hill are two different obstacles on two different trails in Anza-Borrego. Diablo is NBD really, a little steep but I've watched stock vehicles with no lockers drive up it with a little coaching. It's fun.

Heart Attack Hill on the Pinyon Mountain trail on the other hand is extremely steep with deeply rutted off-camber shelf drops and I'm sure some momentum and a badly-placed tire could initiate an end-over-end roll. Would like to see that video.
Thanks for that. Thought they were the same. Found the vid, and it is indeed Pinyon Mountain.

You can see the well meaning, but bad spotting directing her to go passenger up the embankment causing the initial roll. Or maybe he was trying to warn her, but regardless had no idea how to communicate or spot properly.

 

fourfa

Observer
oof yeah, very educational. The trail looks even worse now as another 12 years of erosion have rutted it out more and more. I saw -30° on my own tilt gauge last fall, which can combine with a lot of roll if your line is wrong (like that vid). That's one situation where long wheelbase and rear weight bias add a little passive safety. But your point stands, move a little and reassess. Sometimes reassess after every inch.
 

dstefan

Well-known member
oof yeah, very educational. The trail looks even worse now as another 12 years of erosion have rutted it out more and more. I saw -30° on my own tilt gauge last fall, which can combine with a lot of roll if your line is wrong (like that vid). That's one situation where long wheelbase and rear weight bias add a little passive safety. But your point stands, move a little and reassess. Sometimes reassess after every inch.
And especially don’t blindly trust random spotters or would be rescuers!
 

IdaSHO

IDACAMPER
Trust has a whole lot to do with it. And I'm one that has serious trust issues.
Combine that with being a bit old-school, I'm surprised an incident like this hasn't surfaced sooner.

Kinetic pulls in so many ways make my hair stand on end.
Hopefully this reels in a lot of folks that carry little concern about safety during recoveries.
Its serious business.
 

rgallant

Adventurer
I have thought about this for a while, I think part of the problem is a mental disconnect in that people think a hard pull is required. If you think about it, we all know a winch is a slow pull, a tug should be the same thing, a slow pull to assist the stuck vehicle in getting some movement. A bit of jerk sometimes helps, but a bit of shovel work and a traction mat/board is more effective than the jerk.

If you try to research how to correctly use a kinetic rope you get some lovely things like "hook it up and just gas it" and my personal favorite "The more rope you have, the farther you can reach, the faster you can run, and the more energy you can build.", that last one with any warning about the impact of all of the energy on any other component. All that kind of misinformation can lead to results in the video.
 

ChasingOurTrunks

Well-known member
If you have a hard shackle tab, why not just use the hard shackle to connect directly to the rope/strap? No soft shackle needed.

100% correct, the ropes in this type of situation would connect without a shackle. No secret 4x4 logic on my part, just poor logic when I wrote my original post.

When I wrote my prior post I was thinking specifically about how most aftermarket bumper manufacturers cut their shackle mounts out of a thick chunk of plate and drill a hole in the middle, welding it to the bumper with sharp edges still present, and that those sharp edges + rope = disaster. The OEM recovery points on my vehicle are rounded with smooth edges and would be a better bet than the recovery points on the bumper if all I had was rope; I think if someone is using a soft shackle its the same idea as using a rope to haul something up or down a cliff - one has to be sure there's no spots that will act like a knife under load.
 

VinceAtReal4x4's

WInch and 4x4 rescue specialist
  • Use a winch when you can.
  • Don't buy Chinese made recovery gear (which is what failed in this video)
  • Use the proper piece of equipment for that particular recovery.
  • Commercial grade and labeled metal hardware can be better suited than soft in some cases, like in this one. (a Crosby bow shackle would not have broke here)
 

Forum statistics

Threads
185,853
Messages
2,878,921
Members
225,393
Latest member
jgrillz94
Top