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    Monday, December 14, 2009

    Avalanche Companion Rescue Workshop

    The workshop on Saturday was a big success. Here is a photo showing three different groups conducting three different strategic shoveling strategies through simulated avy debris.

    Saturday, December 5, 2009

    Skier triggered slide

    Originally uploaded by Buck Donovan Family
    shallow snowpack; classic Colorado. up on Loveland Pass


    This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

    Friday, November 6, 2009


    OK get your geek on with a super LOUD whistle. An under appreciated and very cheap piece of equipment, the whistle can be used in an SAR situation and is good for any environment where verbal/radio communication is limited e.g. rope team, searching.

    A whistle is good for any backcountry/marine endeavor.

    This is the loudest one yet. The Fox40 SHARX 120 db whistle
    is available in December. I might have to upgrade.

    Dont forget the earplugs!

    Thursday, October 29, 2009

    Strategic Shoveling with Backcountry Access

    BCA is putting out some excellent videos

    Beacon Searching with Backcountry Access

    get ready for winter

    Sunday, July 26, 2009

    Positive outcome

    Not all of our missions have been so grim. A recent one turned out very well. The lost party was found and did everything right.

    Thursday, July 23, 2009

    A body recovery in the woods.....

    Here is the story from our local newspaper the Silverton Standard

    Body Found in Wilderness

    Skeletal remains believed to be that of 48-year-old Seattle man.

    By Mark Esper

    San Juan County officials are still trying to confirm the identity of skeletal remains found July 15 in the Weminuche Wilderness Area.

    And officials aren’t sure how he ended up in such a remote location.
    The remains are believed to be that of a 48-year-old Seattle man. A ranger on horseback discovered a tent off-trail deep in the wilderness in the southeast corner of San Juan County.

    San Juan County coroner Keri Metzler said the ranger “saw a tent that didn’t look quite right. It looked like it might have had a snow load on it.”

    He discovered what he thought to be human remains inside a sleeping bag.
    “The ranger got back Thursday,” Metzler said.

    On Friday, a helicopter flew in San Juan County deputy Bruce Conrad and four search-and-rescue team members, Jeff Barr, Clark Damron, Joe Eppler and Kyle Tisdale.
    Metzler said there were no signs of foul play.

    “It appears pretty natural,” she said.

    “He did leave a note,” Metzler said, though she said it was not a suicide note.
    Officials suspect he may have tried to set a tree on fire as a signal for help at some point.

    Officials also noted that they could not find records of any vehicle abandoned at an adjoining trailhead.

    A page from a National Geographic magazine from Oct. 8, 2008 was also found. Metzler said it appears the body had been there since last fall.

    The San Juan County Sheriff’s Office reported on Wednesday that they were still trying to locate any relatives of the man while awaiting a confirmation of his ID.
    His note read (with misspellings) is as follows:

    “My name is (information withheld). I have been without food for 22 days. I’m too week to walk. There is noone in this world to tell that I dide up hear. I am 48 years old. Dob Aug 18 1960.”

    Saturday, July 11, 2009

    Flickr+heli training

    I added a photo stream from flickr. It was a good turn out today from our team and the ambulance crew.

    Tuesday, June 16, 2009

    In the news....

    Here is press information from our latest incident.
    The Durango Herald

    "Hikers discover body on Cascade Creek
    by Katie Burford
    Herald Staff Writer
    Article Last Updated; Monday, June 15, 2009 Rescue workers on Sunday were recovering the body of a man found by hikers on Cascade Creek, near the La Plata County line.

    The body was found on the creek about a 45-minute hike from the trailhead for Purgatory Trail, said Butch Knowlton, director of emergency preparedness for La Plata County.

    Although the identity of the person was not known, Knowlton said it could be a man who was the subject of a search-and-rescue mission in the Cascade Creek area last October.

    Jeffery C. Kelley, 48, was last heard from in late September and had been living near Lime Creek, not far from the Cascade turn on U.S. Highway 550, north of Purgatory in San Juan County.

    At the time, rescue workers located his camp but never were able to find Kelley. San Juan and La Plata County search-and-rescue teams helped with the search, and the Dolores Dog Team also assisted.

    On Sunday morning, hikers spotted the body and alerted authorities. Rescue teams from La Plata and San Juan counties were working on the recovery effort throughout the day.

    Knowlton said the body would be taken to Hood Mortuary in Durango, and an autopsy would be performed to determine the cause of death."

    Sunday, May 24, 2009

    Sunday, April 19, 2009

    San Juan Rando Race

    Matt and Jim went up and provided comm support and acted as course marshals for the San Juan Rando Race on Sat, April 18. Although the race field wasn't big it was impressive to see the guys cover almost 7 miles and ~5,000 vert feet in 1:39.

    Matt posted photos from his perch. and here are photos from my spot.

    It was great fun with prizes free food and beer post race! Thanks to Pete S at Cosmic and Pine Needle and SJ Powdercats for putting on the race.

    Tuesday, April 14, 2009

    Personal Equipment for Mountain Rescue

    This is a minimum equipment list to have on hand for a call out. Add personal travel equipment based on the season (skis, snowshoes,crampons, etc)

    + a day and a half pack. (Carry a pack big enough to carry personal gear and team equipment)
    + personal sit harness
    + chest harness w/ connector cord to sit harness (either tied or commercial)
    + helmet
    + eye protection
    + headlamp
    + leather gloves
    + radio w/chest harness
    + storm gear appropriate for season
    + footwear appropriate for season
    + calories (food/fluid)
    + personal medical kit
    + GPS/Compass w/ maps
    + waterproof notebook and pen
    Optional (nice to have on hand)
    + bivy sack or small sleeping bag
    + fire starter
    + stove
    + waterfall ice climbing kit (November-April)
    + basic mountaineering ice axe (April-July)
    + lightweight crampons (April-July)
    + Avy safety equipment: probe,shovel,beacon (Nov-May)


    Have this on your harness

    + Purcell Prussik System (Small, Long, Medium) 6 or 7 mm is the best size
    + Cord for Rappel back up. 1 m 6mm cord tied into a loop. Attached below the friction device @ sit harness leg loop with a prusik hitch (2-wraps for a double rope / 3 wraps for a single rope rappel) Or use an Autoblock friction hitch.
    + 13 meters of 8 mm cord for Tandem prussiks passing the "Pinch Test" (Short 135cm / Long 165cm)

    Have this on hand

    +(1) 10m of 8mm cord (anchoring,extension)
    +(1) 6m of 7mm accessory cord (anchoring, jigger application, etc)
    +(1-2) 6mm utility prusiks
    +(1) 4 or 5m of 25mm webbing strand (anchoring, chest harness, rap extension)


    + 4-5 "D" Locking Carabiners (25-28 kN)
    + 1-2 HMS Pear Style Locking biner (used to do a Munter Hitch)
    + Belay/Rappel device: Make sure it can do autoblocking. A good example is the BD ATC Guide
    + 2 small pulleys (CMC Protec)
    + small knife (no rambos!)

    Optional Team Gear to Carry

    + Mini-brake rack
    + (1) small "ice cube tray" edge pro (CMC brand flexible edge protection)

    Saturday, March 14, 2009

    Tri County Avy Training

    Tri County Avy Training with a ski tour post training

    Thursday, March 5, 2009

    Stariway to Heaven, Eureka

    Here is a vid of Stairway to Heaven.

    Saturday, February 7, 2009

    Level II Avy school is going on this weekend. Skippy demonstrates proper technique for a successful beacon recovery.

    Friday, January 23, 2009

    I carried a little Flip video cam with me and shot some at the top of the third pitch on the "2nd Gully" ice climb. This was a big training exercise on rescuing an injured person off of a multi-pitch ice climb.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009

    A couple of us are attending a Rigging For Rescue Ice Workshop down the road at the Ouray Ice Park. After we finished our morning exercise, a live rescue occurred. I posted the video with little editing. It runs about 8 minutes.

    Friday, January 16, 2009

    Level I Silverton Avalanche School next Week

    The first Level I class is next week. Team members can sit through the lectures. This is a great way to keep up on the latest in avy science.

    I have posted a pdf of a really good overview of emergency communications on the google groups site.