I often get asked what type of technical gear I carry with me on SAR missions where we will be conducting some sort of technical rope evacuation. Granted, in Summit County most of our technical rope evacuations are lowerings on snow, scree or broken terrain that is not considered “high angle terrain”. Most would call it “steep angle” terrain where we generally pick-off stranded or cliffed out hikers. That is not to say we don’t have occasional high angle pick-off style rescues of stranded climbers in places like Mnt Royal and Quandary Mnt. Typically there is limited information from dispatch or the reporting party (RP) on the difficulty of the terrain or their exact predicament, so often you don’t know what your facing until you get there.
Rather than bringing in every conceivable piece of hardware and hundreds of feet of rope, I recommend that hasty rescue team members all carry highly valuable, multi-purpose items in their SAR pack. This enables rescuers to get to the subject quickly and have enough equipment to get a rescue initiated. Once on scene with the patient or stranded climber, we can radio in for additional resources (like 11mm 200′ ropes, MPD’s & litters) if needed. Below I have listed what I am currently carrying with me in my technical rescue kit (this list doesn’t include clothing, survival gear, medical equipment, etc).
In addition to the above equipment, some team members (technical rescue team) have a cache of technical rescue equipment in their vehicle to pull additional items from without having to meet up with our main SAR cache on our rescue vehicles. These items most likely include:
- rack with nuts & cams
- pitons & hammer
- rescue load lowering device like Petzl ID or CMC MPD (ouch-expensive!!!)
- ice axe & snow pickets
- pre-assembled pick-off kit (aztec or RescYou kit for example)
Below is a picture of some rigging from a recent rescue where the TRT built the anchor system, lowering system and uphaul system all from gear from their harness (meaning they did not need to rendezvous with the SAR vehicles/cache at the incident trailhead and instead were flown via helicopter straight from our helipad in Frisco to the incident location). Additional SAR members then came in with 11mm ropes to meet our static system safety factor of 10:1 and to help execute the difficult 190′ uphaul.
Feel free to leave comments if you like!
SCRG medic and technical team member