Well yeah never flying solo is pretty much the golden rule and I'm definitely not defending them as being prepared, but I'm not sure being prepared outside the buddy system would have helped from where they are. Saying that trail is no joke is an understatement and even from Rocker Knocker, getting back requires articulation which would wedge that tire into the frame. Had they been with someone that would have been pretty manageable to skull drag it over a few hangups to get down but I'm not confident even an above average person is managing solo without causing a lot more damage.When wheeling in terrain like that, vs driving to a camping spot, you should always go in pairs.
So if they were solo, that's a breakage of one major safety rule.
And when wheeling terrain like that, IMHO a winch is a necessity. But, even with that bent trackbar, once the tire was on, they should have been able to limp out of there.
This past weekend we wheeled a bunch of Red Trails. In the mid west, they would be rated 8-10.
There were a variety of times where we broke out the winches. In some cases, it was just for proactive safety to prevent a flop. I even messed up once and needed a slight pull to get me off and over a rock that had me wedged in.
A couple of weekend's ago, I wheeled with a different club and assumed that everyone was setup properly. They weren't and I had to recover the other jeeps on 4 separate occasions and they should have been able to do it themselves. I had to run about 80' of winch line to put a snatch block in front of them, while my jeep was behind them and then pull them forward and/or to the side. That was a learning lesson for me. In the future, I will make sure people have winches if we are hitting the hardcore trails and if they don't 2 things will happen. I will tell them to join a lower rated group or I will not go with them.
Just my $.05 from decades of experience