Last night I bought two really cheap items on the AH for minor resists, and decent HP values, respecced almost entirely into tank, and then went two man with my wizard buddy. My gear has not increased that much from when I got absolutely clobbered in Act II.
There seems to be this magical tipping point for Barbarian where you have enough Effective Health Points to live long enough to actually survive past a certain period where Revenge/Ignore Pain keeps you alive.
There was a lot of dieing mind you, but together, me and my buddy got all the way up to the Oasis, and found Zolton Kulles head. I can't express the amount of satisfaction that it feels like I'm progressing again.
I know around 500,000 EHP I can't seem to do it, but once I got around 700,000+ EHP it starts to become a bit more workable. I was a big fan of going mostly offensive with a one hander, and decided to drop some strength gems, buy some more vit, and switch all my skills to survival, and it worked out better than I expected.
It's a tough hurdle to get over, and I will still need to farm Act I i think a little for gold, but I'm no longer stonewalled.