December 28, 2012

Winter Steep Terrain Training: January, 27 Sugarloaf

Ice Axe Self-Arrest and Crampon Training

Who: Cross Training for: Sugarloaf Ski Patrol, Northstar EMS, Franklin Search & Rescue, MASAR team members.

Date: January 27th

Locations: Sugarloaf Mountain area 1. Flume Headwall trail on Sugarloaf Mountain 2. NotrhStar Sugarloaf Rescue base Carrabassett Valley, Maine.

Time: 8 a.m.- 2 p.m.

8:00 a.m. meet at the base of Whiffletree chairlift ready to snowshoe.
8:30 a.m. meet at the top of Flume Headwall (for those who will arrive on skis)

Welcome to winter!  This one-day training will begin on the steep flume trail at Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley. We will begin with ice axe self arrest methods and practice, and other ice axe related techniques.

For the second half of the day we will move to the Sugarloaf NorthStar rescue base about 5 miles south of the resort to learn basic crampon techniques and practice. This will be a better location for training and will not interfere with the skiing public. There will be some crampons available but it would be best to have equipment that you know fits your boots prior to training.

What to bring?
Bring the following gear if you have it:

  • Ice Axe
  • Crampons
  • Helmet
  • Harness
  • Your ready pack
  • Lunch (or an early Bag burger?)
  • Boots
  • Winter hiking/snow clothing
  • Snowshoes (to hike up to the flume)

We will cancel if the travel weather is poor as some participants will be traveling from afar.

Watch the FSAR Blog for cancellations and training updates here:

For planning purposes, please RSVP (or questions):
Al Sleight

2 Recent FSAR Standby Search Calls

Dec. 27: FSAR was put on standby by MASAR for a possible search for a two 9 year old children in Ellsworth, Maine. A live find was made before FSAR was activated. More information here:

Dec. 28: FSAR was put on un-official standby by Saddleback Mountain Ski Patrol for the search of a group of hiker/skiers. The subjects apparently left the Appalachian Trail (A.T.) parking lot on Rt. 4 around 1 p.m.  in deep snow. Wardens located the party at Rev It Up sport shop in Rangeley around 6 p.m. They may have been picked up by snowmobilers where the A.T. crosses the ITS trail at the base of Saddleback Mountain.  FSAR had not been activated at the time of the find.

Thank you to all who were preparing to respond.

December 22, 2012

WInter Rescue Readiness.... Are You Ready to Sleep?

It is important to remember that all active FSAR members are required to be self sufficient in the wilderness for a minimum of 24 hours. We need to assume that ANY rescue call we get at this (short daylight) time of year, will require us to spend the night outside; it could be 40 degrees and driving rain or -20 in deep snow, high winds and at 3500 feet. Are you ready? Does your ready pack have enough gear to allow you to set up or construct a reasonably warm shelter?  

FSAR does not require you to carry a bivy bag (like Baxter SP) or a tent or tarp. We expect that you have developed and tested a system that works well for you.

In the comments section of this blog post, please share a few of your tips, ideas or personal best practices with the team. I will add them to the post as we get them. FSAR blog readers (600-800 hits each month) are notoriously poor at commenting on blog posts... it is easy and quick.

Just click 0 comments

Question: What tips, ideas or personal best-practices can you share about sleeping outdoors in the winter? What works for you?

Outdoor Bivouac Survey Results

How many nights have you slept in the outdoors in the past 12 months?

Survey results:

December 10, 2012

FSAR Monthly Training 12-12-12

FSAR Monthly Meeting/Training

Wednesday, December 12

6:30 p.m.  Kingfield Fire Station

All interested people are welcome to attend

Training Subject: Communications

Pat will conduct a radio training for the team. 

GEAR TO SHARE: Each meeting, members are asked to share some of their personal field experience with a different aspect of gear. Wednesday, members should bring tips for use or actual gear concerning communication tools in the back country. Such as (but not limited to): 2 way radios, cell phone, whistle, firearm, smoke, lights, flagging, SPOT communicator, PLB, SAT phone, reflective clothing, written notes, filing a 'flight plan' by telling others what your plan is before leaving, others? What are your tricks, tips or rules of thumb?

Rope work: knot review

Pete B. demonstrates how to construct a signal fire at a FSAR winter training a few years back.