August 9, 2016

FSAR on SAR duty at Chimney Pond in Baxter SP August 5-6-7, 2016

Thanks to Jerome, Skip and Jimmy for these photos, a write-up about the SAR duty weekend is coming soon! 

2.  Looking down on a North Basin rainbow!

3. On 3rd buttress of Cathedral trail looking down across 2nd buttress and Chimney Pond.

 4.John, Jerome, and Skip on Cathedral Trail.

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7. John & Jerome on Cathedral Trail.

8.  Base of Chimney.

9.  Looking up into Chimney.

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July 5, 2016

FSAR SAR Duty in Baxter State Park, July 1-5, 2016

Each year Franklin Search & Rescue provides SAR coverage in Baxter State Park on 2-3 different weekends.  Park rangers and staff are grateful that MASAR teams are in the park on weekends to support rescue or search efforts when they arise. SAR team members are ‘on duty’ from 2-10 p.m. each day as this is when the bulk of the incidents occur in the park.

‘Baxter weekends’ are a great time to train, hike, eat and explore together as a team.  

Mt. Katahdin from our campsite on Togue Pond (Photo: Melissa)

6 FSAR team members provided Search & Rescue Duty for a total of 4 days this weekend!  


Within 2 hours of arriving on Friday, Skip, Mit and John were sent on a mission to check in with 2 separate injured hikers on the Chimney Trail.  We did not return to the Togue Pond crew cabin until after 11:30 p.m!

Saturday morning Mit and John hiked the new Abol Trail sign up the mountain.

The Abol Trail has been closed for a few (2-3?) years due to unstable conditions on the slide.  BSP has MCCC crews constructing a new section of trail that bypass the most unstable part of Abol slide. The new (longer) trail opened the day before we arrived!  This trail is beautifully constructed, with (for now) soft footing, switch-backs and some great overlooks to the Hunt Trail boulder ridge to the West. 

If you love the steep boulder scramble at the top of the old Abol trail, you are in luck, the new trail cuts back to the east to join the original trail near the top. 

We completed our mission with a few lag bolts on the sign post at Thoreau Springs.  The wind was really howling at this point and the rain became more steady.



70 mph. winds and steady rain did not dampen our resolve to summit!

It was not until we crested the Saddle Trail and began our descent, that we begin to get breaks in clouds (and rain). Here, Chimney Pond can be seen with sunny terrain beyond. Katahdin makes it's own weather, once we got off the mountain, it was sunny down below! We made it back to camp before 9 p.m.

We had a drying party the next morning, everything was soaked!

(photo: Melissa)

Jimmy rescued the utility rope on the water tower!


(photo: Melissa) 
Melissa, Jimmy and Mit visited Ledge Falls (looking south to Doubletop Mtn.) and the Nesowadnehunk Campground because we had never visited this part of the park.  An important part of SAR duty is to become familiar with as many trails and campground locations as possible. 

The weekend food was outstanding! Bill grilled portabella mushrooms with feta and tomato, Melissa brought a pasta bake, Jimmy made stir-fry and Skip grilled marinated chicken and made potato salad. OMG!



Oh but Bill is not done!, Grilled trout (caught earlier that day).


Not to be outdone, Skip rounded the meal out with fresh strawberry shortcake, mmmmm

One group explored the Nature Trail loop at Roaring Brook with guide, Bill.  They also visited Sandy Stream Pond and saw a cow and calf moose grazing in the pond! (I'll insert photo when someone sends it to me!)

On his way out of the park, Mit hiked the new OJI trail.



Doubletop from OJI

It was windy most days during this duty. 

Most team members pitched tents on the pond. 

John purifies water on the trail. 

View from the top of the Abol slide. 


June 23, 2016

Houston Brook Falls Rope Rescue Trainig, June 19, 2016

The FSAR RR team conducted a training at Houston Brook Falls on Sunday. We began at the CV fire station for a short classroom briefing and then moved into the field at Houston Brook Falls for hands-on evolution training.


We began with reviewing the verbal commands that would be followed during each lower and raise evolution during this training and at all live calls. As a team, we decided to use the same commands recommended in the Rick Lipke Technical Rescue Riggers Guide.  This guide has become the default standard for rope rescue in the state of Maine.  We also conducted a safety briefing and assigned Paul and Melissa as our safety officers for the training.  The training goals were outlined: safety, team building, mentoring of new members, hands-on practice and sharing of knowledge.


We headed out to the falls site where we collectively discussed each station. One at a time, we discussed, mainline, belay, edge attendants, litter attendant and command.  We talked about the possible hazards, options and factors that must be considered before beginning to construct each system. 


Next we broke into groups of 2 and constructed each station.  After being checked by the safety officers, we ran the first evolution of lowering a litter and attendant down about 20’ off a cliff next to the falls. The teams then switched over and rigged for a litter raise.  After a brief break for hydration, we critiqued the evolution one system at a time.


Next we switched roles, and started the 2nd evolution. We trained for 4 ½ hours at the falls conducting 3 complete evolutions including a critique of each.


Overall the team performed very well together, had some great discussions, encouraged full participation by all and shared and learned some new ways of thinking about each role in a successful RR operation. One group decision we made was to use the ‘figure 8’ family of knots, where applicable, as our ‘default’ knot on the rescue scene.


Our next training will be held at the end of the summer or in September and will be organized by Pat, Shannon and Jimmy, a training date (or options) will be announced soon.

Minutes respectfully submitted by S. Mitman 6-21-2016
































 Photo credits: Gabe and Mit