Getting stuck at Gunshot
Going off road means there’s a chance of getting bogged and when we decided to leave the van behind to 4WD the Cape York Peninsula in Far North Queensland, we sensed the time was approaching.
If you’ve ever ‘YouTubed’ Gunshot Creek you would know the epic drop that many four-wheel drivers attempt (and fail) each year.
Rather than attempt this exact route we decided to travel through the creek via a side track.
As there was still a high probability of getting stuck, Drew got the winch and recovery kit out before driving on. But given the very muddy terrain, the vehicle quickly got bogged up to its axles.
Using a tree-trunk protector and rated D shackles, Drew attached the winch to a tree directly ahead of the vehicle.
Meanwhile I made sure the bystanders who had gathered for a stickybeak were well clear of the winch rope. If it broke it could cause serious injury, or death.
We didn’t use our winch dampener, but in hindsight it could have been important in the event of a failure.
With the winch securely attached to the tree, Drew began to slowly winch himself out of the sludge while driving in low range.
When the winch rope off the tree maxed out, we positioned another vehicle to winch for the remainder of the recovery.
For this procedure we connected our winch rope to a bridle strap which was secured to two recovery points on the vehicle in front. This helped disperse the load and reduce the risk of the recovery points snapping off.
With the help of this extra tow point we were able to winch the final distance out of the bog.
12,000 lb winch
10,000kg tree-trunk protector
2 x 4.7T bow shackles
3.2 tonne recovery points
- Know where you are about to travel and be prepared for the conditions. The only reason we took this route is because we had the right gear to get ourselves unstuck.
- Have your recovery gear accessible. This made it easy for Drew to act quickly when we got stuck.
- Spinning your wheels can dig yourself deeper into a hole. It’s best to just stop and work out your recovery method.
- If using someone else’s vehicle to recover, check the loading of their gear to ensure they can safely pull you out without damaging your vehicles.
- There are always options to get unstuck. Our other available alternatives included recovery tracks or a snatch strap. If you get desperate, try the good old-fashioned way – shovel and sweat.
- If you anticipate a difficult driving situation ahead with the potential to get bogged, walk through it before you attempt it. We also spoke to other drivers who had already driven through to learn about problem areas.
When driving off road there’s a chance you’ll get bogged. Even though we got stuck taking on some pretty extreme terrain, the same principles we used to get unstuck can still be applied in other situations.
By being prepared with the right gear on hand, we were able to drive on unscathed and continue our journey around Australia.
Drew and Court are a Melbourne couple who are travelling around Australia for the next 10 months. They’re writing about their experiences for Without a Hitch, giving us the real story of life on the road.