About Rigging for Rescue

Rigging for Rescue offers technical ropework seminars renowned for their focus on applying the critical thinking and systems analysis skills required to competently incorporate ropework and rigging into effective rescue systems. For more information visit www.riggingforrescue.com

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Mount Desert Island, Maine

The Rigging for Rescue tour of beautiful training venues on the Atlantic Ocean continued with a visit to Mount Desert Island, Maine.  The federal government opened up in the nick of time for us to enjoy a day of training out at Otter Cliffs in Acadia National Park. The geology at Otter Cliffs offers very dramatic 90 degree edge transitions which very much lends itself to a vertically-oriented stretcher.

We engaged in some healthy discussions during the classroom sessions addressing the pros/cons of horizontal versus vertical stretcher orientation. The are a number of compelling decision points to consider including the patient injuries and level of responsiveness, rockfall hazard, space limitations to the terrain, difficulty of the edge transition, and other factors. Many of the sites we encountered had features present that warranted a vertically-oriented stretcher in a high angle environment.  This is perhaps too often discounted as a viable option due to perceived comfort issues for the patient as well as potential injury exacerbation.

There are a number of patient packaging 'tricks of the trade' that aid not only in general comfort, but also with patient security, protection of existing injuries, and general safety. The mock patients during this training all weighed in favorably when discussing patient comfort and security in the debriefs.  This sentiment is pretty consistent in not only RfR trainings that we conduct, but also in real rescues in which we have participated as volunteers on our own SAR teams.

I don't know if I'll ever get another run of splitter weather like this past September and October managed to deliver in the North Atlantic.  Sea cliffs are a lot more friendly when the rain isn't coming in sideways. Thanks to MDI SAR for a great week of training!!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Self Rescue and Small Team Workshop

We recently hosted the Self Rescue and Small Team Response Workshop at our base of operations in Ouray, Colorado.  This was the second time ever that we have offered this training on an open enrollment basis. 

The participant mix was a diverse group consisting of previous RfR attendees as well as some folks new to our training programs; there were firefighters, climbers, and NPS climbing rangers in attendance. Just like any Rigging for Rescue seminar, we conducted a thorough interview process at the outset in order to gather as much information as possible as to what the participants expected and wished to see included in the workshop curriculum.  It came as no surprise that the topics and techniques covered in this years workshop deviated appreciably from what was covered in the 2012 workshop.  At Rigging for Rescue, it is our unyielding belief that adult education in a technical subject matter needs to be conducted in such a manner that there is flexibility in the curriculum, an inquiry-based methodology to the approach, and plenty of hands-on opportunities.  

The workshop followed a progression of:

1. Be able to manage yourself in a high angle environment (ascend; descend)
2. Be able to rescue your partner in a climbing scenario (rescue the second and the leader)
3. Be able to operate in a team-based approach with a minimum of personnel

The initial field scenarios focused on simple belay escapes and transfers of tension. We then progressed into more complex scenarios involving partner rescue in a variety of settings.  The highlight came towards the end of the week with the rescue of a leader fall followed by a multi-pitch egress using team-based rescue tactics. 

During the final workshop debrief, two of the participants offered that it was the "best course ever" and another weighed in that if you venture into back-country multi-pitch terrain, it should be mandatory to take a class like this one and possess the requisite skills for partner rescue in a climbing scenario.  

Below are some photos of our multi-pitch exercise on a spectacular autumn day in the San Juan Mountains near Ouray, Colorado.  

Seconding in multi-pitch terrain


Rescue the Leader with counter-balance rappel 

Ouray, Colorado

Station management in multi-pitch terrain