Volunteer four-wheel rescue crew pulling wrecks out of the backcountry | VailDaily.com

Volunteer four-wheel rescue crew pulling wrecks out of the backcountry

VAIL — Good news first: The wedding at Piney Lake went off without a hitch.

Partly because the guy who rolled his Jeep Cherokee off of Red Sandstone Road had the good manners to roll it about 30 feet down a 60-degree incline, and not block wedding traffic. He wasn't seriously injured, and the bride and groom are reportedly on their way to living happily ever after.

Colorado 4×4 Rescue and Recovery pulled the Jeep out. It's a nonprofit that pulls four-wheel-drive vehicles out of some pretty darned amazing locations.

The spot where the guy who flipped his Jeep Cherokee off of Red Sandstone Road above Vail, for example.

And Thursday, a guy rolled his truck off of a trail near Keystone. It tumbled 430 feet down Radical Hill near Montezuma.

The gentleman was driving along and two of his tires went over the shelf, taking the rest of the truck with it. It took 10 hours to get it out of there, said Todd Bunger with Colorado 4×4 Rescue and Recovery.

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The driver escaped with a broken rib and some cuts and bruises. His dog is also fine, Bunger said.

About Colorado 4×4 Rescue and Recovery

Colorado 4×4 Rescue and Recovery was founded as an informal group three years ago. It became an official nonprofit 15 months ago.

The idea is to help take care of the backcountry, Bunger said.

"When you have something that's an absolute mess after you wrecked it, it may cost $10,000 for a tow company to go get it. Sometimes people leave them behind," Bunger said.

So far, the group does about 100 missions a year, Bunger said. Most are simple things, such as trucks that get high centered, or two wheels off the edge of a shelf and you're stuck.

"Skilled people go into the backcountry who have a bad day. But more likely, it's people who are not prepared and skilled and find themselves in precarious positions," Bunger said.

People with better equipment than judgment sometimes find themselves stuck in the backcountry with children, but without food and water.

"We want to help people in the four-wheel community," Bunger said.

The group only work on U.S. Forest Service and other public land and four-wheel-drive roads.

"We're not a bonded towing company, and we don't want to be," Bunger said.

It's a volunteer organization and doesn't have a home base. Many of the 300 members and volunteers live on the Front Range, but they work all around the state, Bunger said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

Colorado 4×4 Rescue and Recovery

Colorado 4×4 Rescue and Recovery is a statewide nonprofit staffed by volunteers to help recover vehicles in the backcountry. They accept donations, support and volunteers, and their 24-hour hotline is 720-722-1204. Go to http://www.co4x4rnr.org.