It happens to us all. No matter if you are the most careful and calculated wheeler on the planet, sooner or later Mother Nature (and sometimes human nature) gets the best of you. It might be a harmless-looking mud puddle or a stump that appears out of nowhere, but it's almost guaranteed that with time comes a great whoops! We just hope that when that spectacular whoops! happens, you are ready with camera in hand!
Here's a collection of some of the best trail mishaps and off-road aerobatics we've seen. Think you have something better? Email us your high-resolution image (minimum 1,600 by 1,200 pixels or 2 megapixels) and a quick explanation of how it happened to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mail it to Whoops!, 4-Wheel & Off-Road, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245.
The ground looked solid, but at 22 tons, the earth gets soft quick!
We went wheeling at our local spot and ended up sinking my truck in the swamp. After trying to free it for 24 hours we finally gave up and called a towing company to come pull us out.
My buddy got his Titan stuck in this same spot so I figured I would show him how it's done in my Durango. This was my first time being stuck, but I am sure it won't be my last!
Well, I found out where the balance point is!
After sinking my Ram past the axles in mud, we got on the phone and started calling for help. Unfortunately, it took two weeks before we could find someone capable of pulling the truck out. As much as I hate to admit it (I'm a Dodge guy), a Chevy 3/4-ton equipped with a 9,500-pound winch was what ended up coming to my rescue.
Wheeling in Oklahoma was a blast. I usually enjoy running doorless on my '89 Jeep Cherokee, but after almost rolling I think keeping the doors on might be the safer route to go. Thanks to my brother for his help in keeping the Jeep from going over completely.
When wheeling just outside of Las Vegas in the mountains of Pahrump I learned a few valuable things about spotters and rollovers.
(1) If you get in a tough spot and start teetering and your spotter volunteers to help you, make sure he got his cojones out of his girlfriend's purse before going wheeling. Otherwise you run the risk of him prematurely jumping off and springing you onto your roof.
(2) If you don't get off your roof ASAP then all of your oil leaks out, guaranteeing you a roundtrip ticket to town sitting side by side with said spotter in his Jeep. Sound easy? I'd like to see you try and hold your tongue!
(3) If you did not install your own aftermarket suspension, make sure none of your hydraulic shocks have been installed upside-down. They don't work so well like that.
My girlfriend thought a little snow wheeling would be fun. Too bad we hit a spot of ice on the road and our snow wheeling outing landed us in a ditch! Luckily help arrived 30 minutes later and we were back on our way.
Rocks don't always skip over water!
The 351ci and 39.5-inch Boggers were just not enough for this mud hole!
This is the reason why I no longer run all-terrains!
I Can Do Too
So my friend went in with his Jeep, and anything he can do I can do better.
Sgt. Byron Thomas
Do you ever have that sinking feeling that you're going nowhere fast?
Side-hilling on sand dunes can turn into a tippy situation in a hurry.
I was just wheeling down by the river and found a patch of water that was a little deeper than I was expecting!
We went out to do a little power testing after installing a new exhaust on my Super Duty. Turns out that it did give the truck a little extra pep, but that didn't help much once the 37s sank into the dirt!
I was out at the Cliffs in Marseilles, Illinois, when I spotted an innocent-looking mud hole. It ended up being a bottomless pit and took a couple of built Samurais to pull me out.
This happened on the first stop of our Jeep club's Poker Run. The pit was worth an extra card. This card eventually helped me complete my flush and netted me Second Place and a prize!
After a few of us locals drove out to the woods to pull out a vacationer from Minnesota, we headed back on a different path. The Alaskan wilderness soon swallowed my '04 F-350. As night fell we broke two winch cables attempting to unearth my 1-ton. We decided to leave it overnight and came back the following morning with a few more Jeeps and a fresh set of cables. We had it out in under an hour.
Deep In Thought
It turned out that this Kentucky mud hole was a lot deeper than I thought!
She's A Keeper
After several days of pouring rain, Red (my fiancé) decided to go "check on the mud hole" in my '99 Jeep Wrangler while I was at work. As it turns out the mud hole was just fine, but apparently hungry for Jeeps. I had to leave work to go pull him out with his ZR2 Blazer!
Always be careful when attaching recovery hooks. As close as I can figure it, I was only one tree stump away from rolling into oblivion (or about 700 feet down the cliff).
Luckily, the monster stump saved me and I was able to make it home in one piece.
Jumping the Jeep seemed like a good idea at the time. But a set of broken leaves and two blown shocks made me wish my '93 YJ had stayed grounded!
While wheeling at Silver Lake Dunes with some of my buddies I decided to try my luck on a rather large hill. The first run got me stuck, but the second one I was greeted with success!
Mansour's mishap Snaps
Always remember to top off your tank before entering the pit!
The fording depth on the new Jeep Wrangler is much better than one would think.
After losing two pairs of shoes, breaking two straps, and being stuck for two days, I am starting to think that good things don't come in pairs!
I thought I knew better than my spotter. Next time I think I will just listen to him!
Back Up Plan
Sometimes you need to call on your Deere friends when you are stuck in the mud.
Always take a second look before driving over a razorback in the dunes.
Skyjacker Suspension's Lonnie McCurry Jr. takes durability testing pretty seriously.
After a few skyward leaps the Jeep was still going strong, but one of the rear shock mounts had seen better days.