February 15, 2017

Winter Rope Rescue Training at Cascade Falls, Feb 12, 2017

FSAR had a great ½ day ‘on rope’ training at Cascade Falls in Farmington on Sunday.  8 team members met before 8 a.m. at Pat’s house about ¼ mile from the falls. After admiring the the amazing progress on Pat’s new garage/shop project we headed off to the trail-head.  

The fresh and deep snowpack made snowshoes a requirement to get to the falls. Team members made quick work of packing down the training area and setting up the required anchors and systems: mainline, belay, edge attendant, safety, and rigging an egress line and packing down the exit route from the bottom of the falls.

A good humored crew!

The egress from the bottom of the falls was this climb back to the top. 

Jeff prepares to rap over while Shannon acts as edge attendant. 

 Melissa, the rope rescue team leader designed the training with well written directions but due to a serious knee injury sustained a week earlier, she was at home recovering from surgery.  Instructor Paul did a great job outlining objectives, and giving an overview but then had the team get ‘hands-on’ quickly.

Our first evolution was to have every member rappel down the rock face using the friction device of their choice which included a backup prusik.  Good discussions were had all morning about technique and the many different rigging options that exist at each station. Each evolution we would often be rigged a slightly different way by team members. Members swapped stations after each person rapped so that all could practice a different job.  Critiques were held often and we discussed learnings and asked questions. Paul served as safety officer all morning and each evolution included a belay rope.

As usual, John won the 'most cool gear on his harness' award....

The second evolution consisted of a simulated injured hiker who required a ‘pick-off’ rescue.  Jimmy did a great job hanging out while the team rigged Mit to conduct the ‘pick’.  Mit got to use his new Aztek kit during the rescue to transfer the load/patient to the mainline.  The team rigged a 3:1 to raise the 2-person load up the face to safety.  Suspending the patient about 3 feet below the rescuer worked best in this location for the raise.

 Throughout the day, members had a good time, working together, thinking, discussing ideas, learning new and reinforcing old skills. Team-building and working side by side in a rope rescue situation was a highlight for many. Many thanks to Paul for carrying out Melissa’s well planned training.  Thanks also to John who transported and then dried out the team gear at KFD post training.

The training concluded just after noon.

Paul's small-group coaching style was very effective and appreciated.

John brought his cool 'pulk sled'  to transport team gear.

The temps never got out of the teens, but folks were dressed for it.

Time to wash that jacket Mit!

All photos were taken by Jimmy and Mit