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  1. #1
    Forum Member MichaelXYZ's Avatar
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    Jan 2012
    San Diego

    Default Wilderness Rescue

    I have been asked by my old geology professor to teach a bunch of geologist some rope rescue techniques. This came about after one of the geologist fell during a field trip.
    I agreed to do this but now I have a few scenario what ifs.
    In my training, we had all the gear, full on litter basket and such. It occurred to me that this group of people will have minimal gear. My main concern is patient transport. Be advised, where these geologist go for field trips, the nearest SAR team can be more than an hour away, and often out of cell phone range.

    So, most likely they will have to improvise a litter such as the pole and jacket.

    So I was wondering, using such a litter, what would be the best way to retrieve the litter?
    Typically we would connect the litter to the raising system and bridle the rescuers, but this can't be done with a field expedient litter. Your thoughts?

    Oh, and this is non high angle rescue.
    Last edited by MichaelXYZ; 05-08-2013 at 02:14 AM.

  2. #2
    Forum Member MichaelXYZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    San Diego


    Here is my proposed lesson plan. Suggestions welcome

    Lesson Plan


    Basic rope discussion
    • Rope construction and MBS ratings

    Basic knots
    • Family of eights
    • Clove hitch
    • Prusik hitch
    • Bowline
    • Water knot
    • Hasty harness

    Basic rigging gear
    • Carabiners (Locking/non locking) MBS
    • Rigging plate
    • DCD devices (Rescue 8, Break bar, munter)
    • Pulleys
    • Webbing
    • Prusik

    Basic Anchors
    • Tree
    • Rocks
    • Truck wheel

    Anchor types
    • High strength Tie-off
    • W3P2
    • Basket sling

    Belay Lines
    Lowering system
    Raising System

    Basic rappel

    Patient Pick-off
    • Ambulatory
    • Discuss when better to wait for rescue services

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Somewhere in the Backcountry...


    I haven't weighed in on any discussion in a while, but this is one I can probably (maybe) add some value.

    #1 - Safety needs to be their primary focus. For the injured party and their would-be rescuers. Even though a response may be extended due to distance and response times, it is often more prudent to send for assistance than attempt a self-rescue for a non-ambulatory patient. A SPOT or PLB or even satellite phone are all very good methods to initiate calls for help in remote areas and reducing the response times. A critically injured patient is not likely to survive in this situation regardless - their injury(ies), time for evac to definitive care, etc. are all working against them. The golden hour is non-existent in these settings.
    #2 - The group should have some level of first aid capability and should use that to provide supportive care. Being able to splint injuries or fashion walking sticks/crutches should be something they understand how to do.
    #3 - A litter-type evac in rough non-technical terrain is not a trivial undertaking. It would be very easy for rescuers to seriously injury themselves and/or further injure the subject. A person who is ambulatory with assistance is a better candidate for self-rescue. Among the many options for carrying someone include the rope litter
    , four hand carry Name:  carry_09.gif
Views: 1093
Size:  4.4 KB, climbing rope stretcher and similar techniques along with the jacket/pole option you had in the earlier post. Getting someone to a safe location and then waiting for rescue if often the best option.
    #4 - Equipment can easily become a limiting factor. Ropes, carabiners, webbing, etc. may not be something the students routinely carry. Minimal equipment techniques should be the focus. Forget about pulleys and rigging plates. 'Biners are multi-purpose devices (not super efficient as pulleys though...). Belays = Munter or good old fashioned hip belays. In lower angle environments this should suffice and you can pretty much count on using single rope techniques. Smaller diameter dynamic rope (e.g., 9.2mm, 9mm) is more likely to be carried by a group. Shorter lengths are also adequate for assisting over small obstacles. If the group is looking at 100s of feet of lowering/raising - even a moderate angles they may want to begin rethinking their plans.

    Check to see if anyone in the group is a climber. You may find you have people with considerable expertise so don't assume they don't know anything. Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills is a very good resource you may want to check out if you haven't already. Some of the military training manuals are good too.

    Just some thoughts.
    Last edited by MtnRsq; 05-09-2013 at 08:28 PM.

  4. #4
    Forum Member MichaelXYZ's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    San Diego


    Thanks for the very good feedback. I must say my fire training sounds quite different from the mountaineer and what you have described. In retrospect I probably should have declined when asked, but I was so flattered to be asked that I said yes when asked. Now I feel like uh oh, but I can't back out now since I have been penciled in so to speak.
    The trouble we get ourselves into Well, I ordered the book you mentioned above. I am rethinking my game plan.

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Somewhere in the Backcountry...


    Don't worry about backing out. This is a good opportunity.

    Take some time to understand what the practical application of the skills will be. Check in with your former professor and see what scenario(s) they are trying to address. Look at tailoring the skills around those situations.

    Minimal equipment techniques in moderately technical terrain are probably going to be the focus. Always remember that the competency levels will be very, very modest at best and it is important to stress that undertaking a significant rescue (either due to injuries and/or terrain) requires a very careful assessment of the risks/rewards. Minimal equipment rescues in these situations are even more difficult.

    The awareness piece is huge. Recognizing when it is best to get help vs. self-rescue is invaluable. I'll reiterate the FA thing. If some in the group don't have some basic FA skills they need to address that first. Those skills will serve them better than any rope rescue skills.

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