Bullpucky. I have seen more people damage more stuff because they jumped to pulling cable and didn't bother to properly prep the site for the recovery. The most common trying to winch themselves up, over, or out of something that was making the vehicle totally immoble in the first place. Examples I remember off the top of my head......if your answer is not "winch" then you simply do not have enough hands on experience in recovery situations.
i have seen people waste 40 minutes of time with a shovel, and maxtrax, and stacking rocks, to get absolutely nowhere and then finally use their winch and be freed in 3 minutes flat.
just have a winch and know how to use it.....
I've done it, more than once. I had to use a tow strap wrapped around 5-6 of the largest I could find. Worked great.Try winching off sagebrush or rabbitbrush and let us know how that works.
This is a very good article! This is the difference between a certified I4WDTA trainer and the "School of hard knocks".