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mmnorthdirections

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I came across this article and my first thought was to get out to all the community to share this LUCKY mans story. Choices are made at times that are not good and things unforeseen can happen, take a step back and reflect (WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE) This man heard some advice and was so focused lost site of safety first! There are so many learning points in this article I could write for pages. PLEASE READ and LEARN from a very LUCKY MAN......... BLESS YOU ALL and BE SAFE!!!!!!
http://www.aspentimes.com/news/22697655-113/man-rolls-truck-250-feet-down-mountain-outside
 

ExploreDesert

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Wow. Luck was on his side especially considering he didn't have a seat belt on and there we're others in the area.

I've put myself in a few REALLY stupid situations in the past and thankfully learned without bodily or vehicle harm. It was those experiences that's lead to my overly cautious approach in my current travels.

Have to be smart and safe out there.
 

Lifestyle Overland

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250' drop, +/-7 rollovers, no seatbelt, chance witnesses with medical training... lucky is an understatement.

I came away from reading this article with mixed feelings. I'm going to play the devil's advocate here, so please keep that in mind as I'm only attempting to explore the root cause and contributing factors.

I think articles like this are good reminders for some, and a discouragement to others. One of the final statements was "A good piece of advice he’ll follow while off-roading alone in the future: Turn around once the road gets to a point when you need to switch gears into 4-low." I think it's worth noting that most of us are just getting started when the transfer case is shifted into low range, so if you're new to overlanding don't take this is an absolute indicator you need to turn around.

Without being a witness or knowing the individual involved it's hard to say what the detailed reasons were for the accident, but let's take it at face value and throw in just a few assumptions for conversation sake.

1) "James Scully was heading up to the Castle Peak and Conundrum Peak trailhead outside of Aspen and said he wanted to get to as high a campground as possible before starting his hike early the next morning. His quest to save his legs from several hundred feet of hiking nearly cost him his life."

Minor point here, but if you're already going to go on a hike up a mountain... what's a few hundred feet extra? It's like driving around the gym parking lot for 30 minutes waiting to get a parking spot closer to the door... only to go inside and run on a treadmill for 5 miles.

2) "Scully was on Forest Road 102 and passed two Denver men, both 19-year-old students at the University of Colorado, in a Jeep Wrangler before quickly approaching a tricky switchback on the four-wheel drive road."

It says he passed another vehicle while "quickly" approaching a switchback. If you've been on many mountain side trails, you know there's not many places to pass, much less "quickly". I'm going to assume he was in a hurry and maybe had a touch of ego encouraging him to get ahead of the witnesses.

3) "The driver of the Jeep, Parker Tinsley, got out to talk to Scully about how to maneuver through the switchback, which was a thin spot with a big snowfield, said the Jeep’s passenger Ben Crabb."

Points to the driver for stopping to inspect the obstacle here. This might have been an indicator that one should turn around, but it's possible the presence of other individuals encouraged the driver to take on a challenge slightly beyond his comfort level.

4) “He eventually got his (FJ Cruiser) up it,” Crabb said. “We started placing rocks on the snow for traction and then we got up that part.”

I'm assuming from the comment that the FJ driver didn't prep the trail, but the Jeep drivers recognized the necessity before proceeding. This might have been a spot to use traction mats for extra assurance if someone had a set.

5) "But that turn was just the beginning. Not much farther up the road, Tinsley and Crabb watched Scully attempt to cross another narrow section of road covered in snow, but this time there was a “harrowing exposure on the left,” Crabb said. Crabb and Tinsley watched as Scully tried to drive through the snow. As soon as I saw it, I thought it was really sketchy, Crabb said."
"Scully said he didn’t think much about the snowbank, because while the dry part of the road was narrow, he figured he would just drive through the snow without incident. His FJ Cruiser was modified for off-roading with a 6-inch lift, 35-inch tires and a snorkel for driving through water, he said."


Again, without being there it's hard to determine the "sketchiness" of the obstacle but if it was apparent to the guys in the Jeep, then it probably would have warranted a closer look before proceeding.

6) Tinsley and Crabb were parked about 40 feet behind as they watched Scully try to throttle over the snow.

Key point here; the FJ driver was attempting to throttle over the snow. When you have a dangerous drop-off near an obstacle on a trail, "throttling" over it greatly increases the chance that once you get "bite" on a surface, you could very well be headed in the wrong direction as the vehicle pivots in the direction of traction. If your foot has the pedal on the floor... your floor may quickly become your ceiling.
 

Lifestyle Overland

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Continued:

7) “Eventually he came to a point where his front tire had built up too much snow. When he accelerated, it caused his left back wheel to fall off the slope,” Crabb said. “At that point, he tried to reverse and cut his car back to the right. That caused his front left wheel to fall off the slope as well.”
"Scully got out of the car to look at the scenario. Crabb said he and Tinsley told him he shouldn’t get back in. They didn’t have a tow strap or a winch, so they suggested he leave the car overnight and come back with help the next day to remove it."


I think it's worth pointing out here that between two "offroad" vehicles there wasn't a strap to be found. This could lead you to believe that either the preparedness level was low, or the experience level was still in the early stages. Either way, a simple strap may have changed the outcome.

7) “We told him it was really risky,” Crabb said. “It wasn’t teetering, but it was steep.”
"But Scully said he was just focused on getting his truck out of the situation. He heard Tinsley and Crabb tell him it was a tough spot, but he was determined to get out of it."
“I’m taking action to get myself out of this predicament I got myself in,” Scully said. “There wasn’t any time to feel any serious emotion. I was just in the moment and I just downplayed it.”



And here is where a bad situation became deadly. If you ever find yourself in a precarious situation on a trail and your heart is pounding in your chest, your knees are weak, and your hands are a bit shakey from a close call... STOP. Just STOP. Walk away, take a breath, eat a sandwich, anything but jump right back in the vehicle. Don't let anyone rush you. Don't let your ego or pride push you into an even worse situation.

Also, take the time to gather advice. You never know who might have a suggestion that will get you out of a situation.

8) "He got back in the FJ Cruiser and tried to back up and that’s when it started to slide down the steep slope to the left. Scully wasn’t able to put his seatbelt on when he got back in because it had locked up due to the position of the vehicle. So there he was, tumbling down the side of a mountain with no seatbelt."

Unfortunately this is a real issue. I've been in situations where I needed to get out an look at vehicle position while it was in a bind, only to return to a locked up seatbelt.
I have begrudgingly backed off of obstacles to release the seatbelts even after making progress due to nearby drop-offs. If nothing else, the fact he couldn't get his seatbelt back on should have been the final warning signal that another method would be needed.

9) “The weirdest thing was I just remained calm the whole time,” Scully said. “The biggest thing I remember was looking up at the ceiling and every time it hit the ground, seeing it slowly crushing in on me.”
When the vehicle came to rest on the driver’s side, he said he couldn’t believe that it stopped. He crawled out the back window and saw Tinsley and Crabb running down the slope toward him.
“They’re seeing cascading blood down my face, and I’m talking about my truck and my gear — I wasn’t even thinking about ‘Do I have any broken bones?’” Scully said. “They were like, ‘I can’t believe you’re alive.’”
Crabb said it took about 15 or 20 seconds for the FJ Cruiser to roll down the hill. He estimated that it rolled about seven times.
“It was like a movie, like slow motion,” Crabb said. “We were both just kind of frozen there, standing and watching this thing roll.”
Crabb and Tinsley ran to their Jeep to get a first-aid kit. Crabb said he changed into better hiking shoes and looked down and saw Scully standing outside of the FJ.
“We were in awe that he got out,” Crabb said.
Tinsley, a pre-medical student, helped bandage Scully up, Crabb said.
He had a couple of gashes on his head and his hair was soaked in blood.
“He was really in shock, shaking a lot,” Crabb said. “He was saying, ‘I should be dead.’”

If you don't have a first-aid kit in your rig, stop what you're doing and order one now. If you have one but don't know how to use it, jump on youtube, sign up for a class, do something to get some training. It might save someone's life.

10) They got in the Jeep and headed down the mountain to get Scully medical attention. They assessed that he wasn’t in immediate danger so they decided to drive him to Aspen Valley Hospital rather than call for help via a nearby camper’s emergency beacon.


Just an observation... You just rolled 250' down a mountainside without a seatbelt... you're in shock... bleeding... someone with "some" medical training patches you up... what are you going to do next?
I'm going to "get to the choppa" or roles-reversed, I'm going to get YOU to a chopper. Not load you up in a Jeep and bounce down an already dangerous trail. He's lucky there wasn't any internal bleeding and that the shock didn't take him completely out.

11) "Scully, who said he’s lived in Colorado for eight years and often heads into the mountains for various adventures such as climbing, skiing or biking, is feeling especially grateful for running into Tinsley and Crabb that day. His FJ Cruiser is totaled and his insurance company is working on recovering it from the scene, he said.
“I’m getting another FJ Cruiser after it saved my life,” he said. “I rolled it eight times and didn’t get hurt that bad — it’s a pretty good truck.”
It’s hard to explain how he walked away from the crash, Scully said. He said he learned the hard way that he should have parked lower and hiked the extra vertical terrain. He hopes people who read about his experience can learn something, too. A good piece of advice he’ll follow while off-roading alone in the future: Turn around once the road gets to a point when you need to switch gears into 4-low.
He’s also been doing a lot of self-reflecting ever since.
“I definitely feel lucky, and I’m sort of questioning my existence and that type of thing,” Scully said. “It’s just tough to really make any sense of it.”


I know this is a harsh review of the the decisions made by the individuals, but my purpose is to express to new overland travelers who may read this article that there were many mis-steps that led to the rollover. None of this is directed personally at the individual and I sincerely hope one day he can get in involved with a group of overlanders/offroaders that will help him with the fundamentals. Sorry this got a bit long-winded but I felt like it needed to be addressed in detail. We want everyone to enjoy the lifestyle and come home in one piece.

Here's some main points I would hope we walk away from this story with:

1) Keep a level head.
2) Go prepared.
3) Never rush.
4) Be humble.
5) Know your limitations.
6) When all safe efforts fail, STOP.

:END SOAP BOX:
 
Last edited:

Winterpeg

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Yeah, if I turned around every time I put it into 4Lo I wouldn't get anywhere... I spend the whole time in 4Lo typically.

The lack of recovery gear was especially telling.... I'm not saying you need to outfit your rig completely with name-brand high-end gear... but get SOMETHING.

I'm glad everyone made it out alright.
 

Steve

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If you ever find yourself in a precarious situation on a trail and your heart is pounding in your chest, your knees are weak, and your hands are a bit shakey from a close call... STOP. Just STOP. Walk away, take a breath, eat a sandwich, anything but jump right back in the vehicle. Don't let anyone rush you. Don't let your ego or pride push you into an even worse situation.

This is exactly whatI thought when I read the article. Stop! Listen to these guys, or at least think about alternatives. I wondered how much of his next actions were because he didn't want to look bad in front of the other guys.
 

mmnorthdirections

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@stringtwelve Nicely broken down,
Here's some main points I would hope we walk away from this story with:
1) Keep a level head.
2) Go prepared.
3) Never rush.
4) Be humble.
5) Know your limitations.
6) When all safe efforts fail, STOP.

I hope all that read will take away this information as not to scare but use your senses wisely.
Their were so many indicators trying to stop it from happening EXCEPT THE DRIVER!!!!!

@stringtwelve Thank you for adding your experience to this!!!!!
Be safe!!!
 

mmnorthdirections

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@Winterpeg pointed out, Oh.... and 35's with a 6" lift and snorkel but no recovery strap? Recovery gear is your FIRST mod.... or should be.
An FJ with a 6" lift can be extremely problematic if not done correctly with the right components. The off road characteristics due to the change in geometry alone can diminish the FJ's off road capability. I would recommend a lot of research before that kind of mod on an IFS suspension. The FJ does not have the DROOP for it....... Big ? no self recovery equipment on two vehicles!!!!!
This is an awesome learning tool and discussion !!!!!
 

hardtrailz

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Amazing...I keep a strap in every vehicle we own JIC. Even the onlookers were under-prepared sadly. Glad it did not end up with more injuries or a death.
 

Lassen

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Continued:

7) “Eventually he came to a point where his front tire had built up too much snow. When he accelerated, it caused his left back wheel to fall off the slope,” Crabb said. “At that point, he tried to reverse and cut his car back to the right. That caused his front left wheel to fall off the slope as well.”
"Scully got out of the car to look at the scenario. Crabb said he and Tinsley told him he shouldn’t get back in. They didn’t have a tow strap or a winch, so they suggested he leave the car overnight and come back with help the next day to remove it."


I think it's worth pointing out here that between two "offroad" vehicles there wasn't a strap to be found. This could lead you to believe that either the preparedness level was low, or the experience level was still in the early stages. Either way, a simple strap may have changed the outcome.

7) “We told him it was really risky,” Crabb said. “It wasn’t teetering, but it was steep.”
"But Scully said he was just focused on getting his truck out of the situation. He heard Tinsley and Crabb tell him it was a tough spot, but he was determined to get out of it."
“I’m taking action to get myself out of this predicament I got myself in,” Scully said. “There wasn’t any time to feel any serious emotion. I was just in the moment and I just downplayed it.”



And here is where a bad situation became deadly. If you ever find yourself in a precarious situation on a trail and your heart is pounding in your chest, your knees are weak, and your hands are a bit shakey from a close call... STOP. Just STOP. Walk away, take a breath, eat a sandwich, anything but jump right back in the vehicle. Don't let anyone rush you. Don't let your ego or pride push you into an even worse situation.

Also, take the time to gather advice. You never know who might have a suggestion that will get you out of a situation.

8) "He got back in the FJ Cruiser and tried to back up and that’s when it started to slide down the steep slope to the left. Scully wasn’t able to put his seatbelt on when he got back in because it had locked up due to the position of the vehicle. So there he was, tumbling down the side of a mountain with no seatbelt."

Unfortunately this is a real issue. I've been in situations where I needed to get out an look at vehicle position while it was in a bind, only to return to a locked up seatbelt.
I have begrudgingly backed off of obstacles to release the seatbelts even after making progress due to nearby drop-offs. If nothing else, the fact he couldn't get his seatbelt back on should have been the final warning signal that another method would be needed.

9) “The weirdest thing was I just remained calm the whole time,” Scully said. “The biggest thing I remember was looking up at the ceiling and every time it hit the ground, seeing it slowly crushing in on me.”
When the vehicle came to rest on the driver’s side, he said he couldn’t believe that it stopped. He crawled out the back window and saw Tinsley and Crabb running down the slope toward him.
“They’re seeing cascading blood down my face, and I’m talking about my truck and my gear — I wasn’t even thinking about ‘Do I have any broken bones?’” Scully said. “They were like, ‘I can’t believe you’re alive.’”
Crabb said it took about 15 or 20 seconds for the FJ Cruiser to roll down the hill. He estimated that it rolled about seven times.
“It was like a movie, like slow motion,” Crabb said. “We were both just kind of frozen there, standing and watching this thing roll.”
Crabb and Tinsley ran to their Jeep to get a first-aid kit. Crabb said he changed into better hiking shoes and looked down and saw Scully standing outside of the FJ.
“We were in awe that he got out,” Crabb said.
Tinsley, a pre-medical student, helped bandage Scully up, Crabb said.
He had a couple of gashes on his head and his hair was soaked in blood.
“He was really in shock, shaking a lot,” Crabb said. “He was saying, ‘I should be dead.’”

If you don't have a first-aid kit in your rig, stop what you're doing and order one now. If you have one but don't know how to use it, jump on youtube, sign up for a class, do something to get some training. It might save someone's life.

10) They got in the Jeep and headed down the mountain to get Scully medical attention. They assessed that he wasn’t in immediate danger so they decided to drive him to Aspen Valley Hospital rather than call for help via a nearby camper’s emergency beacon.


Just an observation... You just rolled 250' down a mountainside without a seatbelt... you're in shock... bleeding... someone with "some" medical training patches you up... what are you going to do next?
I'm going to "get to the choppa" or roles-reversed, I'm going to get YOU to a chopper. Not load you up in a Jeep and bounce down an already dangerous trail. He's lucky there wasn't any internal bleeding and that the shock didn't take him completely out.

11) "Scully, who said he’s lived in Colorado for eight years and often heads into the mountains for various adventures such as climbing, skiing or biking, is feeling especially grateful for running into Tinsley and Crabb that day. His FJ Cruiser is totaled and his insurance company is working on recovering it from the scene, he said.
“I’m getting another FJ Cruiser after it saved my life,” he said. “I rolled it eight times and didn’t get hurt that bad — it’s a pretty good truck.”
It’s hard to explain how he walked away from the crash, Scully said. He said he learned the hard way that he should have parked lower and hiked the extra vertical terrain. He hopes people who read about his experience can learn something, too. A good piece of advice he’ll follow while off-roading alone in the future: Turn around once the road gets to a point when you need to switch gears into 4-low.
He’s also been doing a lot of self-reflecting ever since.
“I definitely feel lucky, and I’m sort of questioning my existence and that type of thing,” Scully said. “It’s just tough to really make any sense of it.”


I know this is a harsh review of the the decisions made by the individuals, but my purpose is to express to new overland travelers who may read this article that there were many mis-steps that led to the rollover. None of this is directed personally at the individual and I sincerely hope one day he can get in involved with a group of overlanders/offroaders that will help him with the fundamentals. Sorry this got a bit long-winded but I felt like it needed to be addressed in detail. We want everyone to enjoy the lifestyle and come home in one piece.

Here's some main points I would hope we walk away from this story with:

1) Keep a level head.
2) Go prepared.
3) Never rush.
4) Be humble.
5) Know your limitations.
6) When all safe efforts fail, STOP.

:END SOAP BOX:
You're absolutely right! I just got back from a quick weekend trip. I'm a "newbie" when it comes to driving 4WD roads, but I'd say an advanced over lander. I came across a 4WD road/trail and thought I'd try it. About 150 yards up a 1.6 mile trail I said to myself that's far enough. Turned around and headed back to that which I am more familiar.

Why?

1. Low level experience
2. Traveling alone

Realistically, what other reason do I need for stopping?

My Jeep is a good vehicle, lots of capability in it. But it relies on me telling it what to do.

Bottom line is, I have some of the tools, but I don't know how to use them yet!
 

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Some people pointed out an interesting point: Did he push on so as to not look bad in front of the other drivers. Makes sense, "Ah, those kids don't know what they're doing blah blah blah."

Something else could be, "Ah, those kids in a Jeep...I'll show them what an FJ can do!"

And this thought does exist. Just look at postings here or other blogs or at YT videos like Jeep vs Range Rover vs FJ or what have you. People trying to say one is better than another and the marketing from manufacturers adds to the delusion.

Every person and every piece of equipment has strengths and weaknesses. Learn what they are so you can travel to fantastic remote locations safely.
 

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I live in East Tennessee near Windrock offroad park and it is crazy the number of ATVs, UTVs and 4x4s that are pulled out of there in pieces because people are pushing things way beyond the limits of equipment or skill. Personally I can afford to be that cavalier with my equipment.
 

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For some reason I can't access the article but maybe from @stringtwelve 's comments I can get the gist of it.
A couple of comments to your comments...
If I were the observer/witnesses as explained, I would not be anxious to put a strap from my vehicle to a vehicle that was so precariously perched as this one seems. Don't be in a hurry is the best advice in this scene.
Second, a helicopter ride is not the safest way to transport in most cases. I wouldn't second-guess the rescuers in this case, to bring a helo in creates a much higher level of risk and takes a lot of precious time. If they controlled bleeding and determined that transporting him was expeditious, it was a good call. That said, it could have gone the other way quickly if internal bleeding was an unseen issue.
Thanks for this and all the thoughts here, this sport has inherent risks, some are willing to take a higher level of risk than others. Be smart about the choices placed before you. I don't like to hear about this kind of outcome, but under the circumstances it turned out as good as it could have with the fj driver as a survivor.
 
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WOW no use him ever buying another lotto ticket all his luck is gorn


Oh.... and 35's with a 6" lift and snorkel but no recovery strap? Recovery gear is your FIRST mod.... or should be.
Very true then get some proper training on how to use it correctly
 

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I know this might not be popular, but I want to address the "safety first" mentality.

Overlanding is about being safe-ish. Let's be honest, if any of us put safety first, we would never be more than five minutes from the local ER. What we do is risky, but with risk comes reward; we can mitigate that risk with skill, thought, and the right gear - but we still accept that risk. We go out into places where vehicles can be damaged, we can be injured, and bad things can happen a very long way from help. There must be a reason for us to take on this risk, and that reason might be different for different people. Why do people climb mountains, jump out of planes, or sail out of sight of the land? Because it is there, for the thrill, to see what might be over the horizon. All of these apply to any sort of adventure mankind undertakes. Maybe the places we go are not marked with "here there be dragons", but by going a place I've never been I make that place more real. How real is a place on a map or a photo on Instagram? By putting my finger down on the map and then going and standing on that spot, I make that place real to me in a way it could never be by any other means. The act of getting to that point makes me real; and that's what the adventure, the risk, the test is all about. The risk is what makes overlanding what it is and that means safety doesn't come first. It also means that because safety doesn't come first, we have to be more aware of our risks at all times; we are much closer to the edge than most people and we have a smaller margin of error. With that must come mindfulness of the edge and how close we are to it, when we lose that focus, when we rush, that is when we find ourselves on the wrong side of the edge and all that risk catches up to us.

There is a reason I have that quote in my signature, to remind me of both the risks and the rewards of adventuring.