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9 Lives – The Radical Hill Roll Over Recovery

Deep in the Arapaho National Forest is Radical Hill. It is a daunting trail featuring a couple challenging obstacles but its defining characteristic is the shelf road. This trail has one stretch of shelf that rivals Black Bear in Telluride. On August 22nd, Ken McCoy took the ride of his life off that shelf road. Ken and his dog walked away slowly, hurting, but alive. Ken reported broken ribs and a laceration on his head. Two men on ATVs transported him out of the back country and to medical attention. The rest was handled by Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery.

On the last day of August, eight volunteers of Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery responded to the crash site. Most of these volunteers have gone through the organization’s recovery skills class and are veterans of approximately 100 combined recoveries with the organization. Many are also recent graduates of Wilderness First Aid.

These members coordinated their experience, training and resources, as well as much of their combined recovery equipment, for a safe and successful recovery. The vehicle’s recovery at 12,300 feet was no small effort after the vehicle descended Radical Hill rapidly for approximately 430 feet. The vehicle's condition was the greatest challenge. The second greatest challenge was the elevation and the physiological resources it takes to work hard for 10 hours at elevation while avoiding altitude sickness.

With spectators who saw the response team come through town looking on, the vehicle was first put on its belly, then back on the shelf road using four winches and a safety line. The vehicle was then dragged to a location it could be worked on safely. With the goal of making the vehicle roll, the tires were remounted and re-beaded and the rear suspension was rebuilt as much as it could be. Much thanks to Bullhide 4x4 in Fort Collins and some of our dedicated members for donating parts. Eventually, a volunteer steered the flattened Jeep as it was towed approximately 5 miles and down 2,000 feet of elevation by one vehicle as two others acted as its brakes.

With volunteers leaving home as early as 5am and returning home in a driving rain as late as midnight, the day was a long one. Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery is an all volunteer organization that functions almost entirely on donations as a non-profit. The dedication of the volunteers and paid members is impressive and they are part of a greater community that keeps our back country accessible and beautiful. Radical Hill Trail is clear, the debris field was removed and USFS and Sheriff were notified the issue has been resolved.

Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery
"We Recover The Rockies"

Photos below by Member Justin King

10 Days in Review

We at Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery would like to take a breath ... and look back at the last 10 days in our organization. It was amazing in every way. In the last 10 days CO4x4RnR deployed on 7 recoveries and staged on an 8th we didn't end up deploying to.
July 29th was our membership meeting where we got to make several exciting announcements and finally meet so many of our members face to face and thank them directly. We had our monthly Board of Directors meeting in the two hours before that and as so often happens, we got a call on our 24 hour emergency line in that meeting.
The week started with a roll over recovery in Vail the next day. This was going to be a major undertaking so Carleen S put together a team right there in the meeting. Art E , Bryan L, Eric R, Gunnar H, Jason S, Matt S, Rich M, Todd B, and Carleen herself all deployed on this recovery. We were not able to complete it due to ... a wedding ... but we shall return to finish the job. Carleen S assembled the team and Reed N monitored.
Our volunteers next tacked the longest recovery we have done, in distance. 100 yards off the trail on Yankee Hill. This took almost every winch extension and tow strap the team had. Chris V, Matt B, Matt R, Jeff S and Ryan B and Nick spent all day and climbed many vertical feet to bring it back up. Carleen S. dispatched and monitored that recovery.
We got a call for a mired truck on Shrine Pass and they weren't kidding. Mike B and his 15k winch were the work horse as he, Norman D and Dan C brought the truck back to hard land. Carleen S. dispatched and monitored that recovery.
Also that night we were called to recover a rolled over Cherokee on Storm Mountain. We built a team and had them ready to roll when some Good Samaritans came by and managed to get the Cherokee righted. Our weekly radio net was postponed for about 20 minutes while we ensured this would not require our team.
Next came our big day. Sunday the 6th brought three recoveries overlapping and several members doing two in one day. The early morning recovery was Longwater Gulch. This involved swimming! A JK had lost it's battle with the St Vrain and had to be brought to land and towed all the way out. Adam N, Bill A, Derek G and Keegan F handled the long day with ease and made a very difficult water recovery look professional. Carleen Dispatched and monitored that recovery.
Also that morning David C, Mike B and Talbot W headed out to recover a Ram mired in very deep mud near Camp Dick. In the process, Mike B had a dramatic moment for photos just getting into the recovery but he was never really stuck. This was only the morning for this crew, the day was long from over. Dan C built the team and Carleen S monitored.
The second half of the day for this team added Norman D and Gunnar H to the team for a high elevation shelf road recovery near McClellan Mt. This one was a very hard one that had all on their toes. It went beautifully and although most of their equipment was used for the recovery, all came home safe. Carleen dispatched the team and Glenn monitored.
Above Fall River Rd on the side of Yankee hill is one of our most common recovery locations. Derek G, Lucas P, and Tony A handed that one with ease on Monday morning. Carleen S. Dispatched and monitored that recovery.
You undoubtedly notice that some names appear very often. All of our volunteers do an amazing job but some seem to be everywhere. Our reputation is built on our amazing volunteers and the work they do for people they have never met. Weeks like this past one are what CO4x4RnR are so proud of and cannot speak often enough in regards to our volunteers.
No one in our organization gets paid and all of our expenses are paid by donations. The professionalism and determination of our members are surpassed by no one.
We cannot be more proud of our members. But we know they will continue to impress us still.
To all of our volunteers listed above and those who have and will help out, we thank you. The 4x4 community cannot thank you enough.
Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery
"We Recover the Rockies"

APRS Group Message Callout Alerts

As many of you know, communications between our dispatchers and teams are absolutely imperative. For this reason, our organization continues to embrace and implement amateur radio (ham) in every area which it can help our cause. 
Our newest implementation, APRS Group Messages for Recovery Callouts is now active. The biggest benefit to this is that if you are out of cell service in the mountains but have your APRS running, you can receive notification of a callout. Who knows, you may be right up the road! 
If you are a member, or volunteer for us please contact us for information about setting up your aprs capable radio to receive these messages. 
If you are not Ham licensed, please reach out for help getting set up. It is the most valuable tool in our rigs. You never know when it could save a life.

Recovery Highlight

Yesterday, Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery responded to a request from the Gilpin County Sheriff's Office for a stranded party in the Yankee Hill area. This party become stranded one day prior when their vehicle got stuck in a snow drift and slid partially off the trail. Luckily, they were able to find slight cell coverage and call 911.

Our team was able to assemble and deploy on scene in less than 4 hours, and successfully locate the client. In this case, our response allowed local SAR teams to stay available in case of a more pressing emergency.

After a stressful 27 hour stay in the backcountry, the clients are safe and healthy.

Our communications, run by our Board of Directors, the recovery Administrator, and on scene members licensed for Amateur Radio operation provided crucial communication in this area with no cell coverage. The team was able to communicate with control in both Highlands Ranch, and Loveland Colorado, allowing remote coordination of a backcountry operation. Additionally we utilized APRS to provide real time tracking and location information for the team. Ham radio proved invaluable, as members of this organization knew it soon would. We thank the local clubs and organizations including the Colorado Connection and Rocky Mountain Radio League for maintaining and allowing the use of their repeaters during this response.

We thank the Gilpin County Sheriffs Office for their trust, our members for their response, and our volunteers for stepping up to provide the absolute best service we can to our clients.

Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery
"We Recover the Rockies"

Volunteer Opportunity!

We need a couple volunteers from our recovery ranks. We have been asked to appear at a company function for employees on Friday, June 2nd. This would be a mid-day function, 9:30 to 2:00 pm. We wont be doing anything complex but we’d like to ask our general volunteers since free lunch is included!

There will be about 100 people in an informal outdoor setting. We will be talking about back country safety and preparedness. It is not an off-roading group but they are Colorado active and we will play it by ear with what people would benefit from most.

This would be in the Commerce City area.

So if I could get two people who can speak about our group and back country preparedness with one of our board members that would be great!

Details will be provided to our volunteers.

Contact Todd

Thank you very much for your consideration and help, we are nothing without our volunteers.

Saturday Ham Net

After our first successful Ham Radio Net this past Saturday we are excited to what the future holds for us and our members and followers in the Ham Radio Community. The topic of discussion on Saturday May 27th was "HT's vs. Mobile radios in our vehicles". While there was a lot of good information about this discussed, it also brought up more questions on different aspects of what Radio you should have with you. Because of this our topic of discussion for our Net on Saturday June 3rd will be "APRS and the benefits in the back country" along with how to properly use APRS.

We look forward to hearing from our licensed members as well as anyone from the community that wants to join in on the discussion. PLEASE remember that you are required to have a license for Ham Radio operation and if you are interested in more information feel free to contact us at and one of our Board Members will get back to you with the information you are requesting as well as answer any question you may have.

Ways to connect to the Net:

Local via RF on the RMRL 145.340 repeater

IRLP via reflector 9618

Echolink 29618 the *FRIENDS* Conference server for those on PC or IOS devices

AllStar at 27408

For non Hams the net can be heard live streaming at

"We Recover the Rockies"

Upcoming Training Opportunity!

Recovery Skills I- June 3rd

We have had 2 successful training classes with Matt Balazs and On Trail Training. Our next class will be on Saturday June 3rd, so if you are a dues paying Member and have not attended a class as of yet PLEASE schedule it as soon as you can.

As this is one of the many benefits for our members, and we want to see ALL our members taking full advantage of the resources offered to them.

Here our some pictures from our last Training class with Matt B. For those of you that are not aware, Matt Balazs is among the most qualified instructors in the Country and is a Certified through the International 4 Wheel Drive Trainers Association.

If you are interested in signing up for the June 3rd class PLEASE email us at



Colorado 4×4 Rescue and Recovery will hold our quarterly membership meeting on July 29th, with lunch generously provided by member Jason V. Lunch will start promptly at 12 noon, with the meeting to immediately follow.

This meeting is open to all Dues paying members, both Advanced and Basic members.

Lunch and meeting will be held in the conference room at:

Larry H. Miller VW
8303 W. Colfax

We hope to see all of our membership at this meeting, and are looking forward to meeting many of you for the first time face to face!

Thank you,
Your BOD

“We Recover the Rockies”

Congratulations Matt Blazas

Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery would like to congratulate Matt Balazs of On Trail Training who just received his training certificate from the International 4 Wheel Drive Trainers Association (I4WDTA). The final step of his two year training odyssey was recently completed in Moab over a week long final test where only 4 of 11 candidates passed.

Matt is not only our much prized training coordinator but he is one of our recovery advisors and a great friend. Because we know Matt Balazs, we know how much this training achievement has meant to him and how hard he has been working to achieve it. As an organization, we cannot be more pleased. As his friends, we cannot be more proud.

Congratulations Matt Balazs
From all of us at Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery.

Outer Limit Supply Sponsoring Partnership

First Aid Kits, Designed for the Backcountry, Personalized for You

We at Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery always preach preparedness for every situation and we are working hard to bring our members many benefits that will help them be as prepared as possible.

Our line of work is not the safest, and we are doing everything we can to mitigate the risks associated with being away from help in the backcountry of Colorado. Part of this plan has been to partner with a fantastic local company, Outer Limit Supply, to bring our members awesome discounts on well stocked, quality, first aid kits to carry on your person or in your rigs.

These first aid kits are now available for immediate purchase at

To top it off Outer Limit Supply has branded our own logo on their line of kits, just for you. Our entire Board of Directors has purchased and pledged to carry these kits everywhere we go. We encourage you to do the same!

Everyone who wishes purchase a Co4x4RnR Branded Kit will enjoy FREE SHIPPING with the purchase code of CO4x4RNR

Our Basic members will enjoy a 5% discount on any kit they purchase, using a personal discount code they will receive from us.

For our Advanced members, they will enjoy a 15% discount on any kit they purchase using a personal discount code they will receive from us.

Please contact us at for member discount codes, and any questions you may have!

Were very pleased to be associated with such a wonderful local company that is manufacturing exactly the kits off-roaders need while venturing into the backcountry either alone or in a group.

Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery
We Recover the Rockies