RMRU 2009 Training Events

July 11. 2009

High Angle Rescue - Raise and Lower


By Tom Mahood

On Saturday, July 11, RMRU held a technical rock skills training session at Longview Dome near Long Valley and the Palm Springs Tram. In attendance were Bob Bakos, Pete Carlson, Tom Mahood, Roger May, Nick Nixon, Jeff Toscas, Les Walker and Dave Webb.

It was an early start to a full day’s training, taking the 7:30 AM tram car up. After the pleasant hike (except for the litter carriers!) out to Longview Dome, the first order was to climb to the top and set up anchors for the day’s activities. This included setting up a three to one raise/lower system, as well as a belay system. Pete, Dave and Jeff, being the more experienced members, did most of the setup while describing it to the rest.

Once that was completed, the litter needed to be hoisted to the top. And since it wouldn’t really be a litter unless it had a “victim”, Dave graciously offered to be victimized for the hoist up with Les as his attendant (otherwise known as the “victimizer”). Despite Les’s best efforts, Dave arrived at the top of the dome unscathed and somewhat rested.

Les’s reward for a job well done was to be the next victim and Tom would be the assigned victimizer, uh,…attendant for lowering.

Although Tom made what appeared to be numerous attempts to eject Les head first from the litter, Les stubbornly remained within. After consultation with the more experienced minds above, it was decided to raise the litter back to the top and examine the rigging. Turned out the litter spider needed better adjustment and had been resulting in a strong, head-down orientation.

So, neatly re-rigged, down the litter went again, this time with Bob as the victim and Roger as the attendant. It generally went very well, with one minor misstep on Roger’s part where he momentarily lost balance and ended up placing pressure upon Bob in a…. “less then optimum spot”. Well, it was minor unless you happened to be Bob, but he quickly recovered and enjoyed the ride down.

In between litter operations everyone had the chance to rappel the face of the dome several times and practice their form.

As the day grew hotter, the equipment was brought down off the top and it was time for lunch and the seeking of shade. Shade was found in good quantities near the base of the dome so Dave then gave demonstrations on the proper placement of cams and hex anchors and discussed the considerations involved in their use. Building upon that, Pete used some of the anchor points to demonstrate creation of a SEA (Self-Equalizing Anchor).

On the hike back to the tram, Nick provided orientation as to local features and place names in the Long Valley drainage. A special stop was made at the head of the increasingly popular Skyline Trail so that all would be familiar with the location of this unmaintained route. Finally everyone arrived back at the tram and took the 4 PM car down into temperatures that made those at Longview Dome seem positively chilly.


RMRU is a volunteer search and rescue team that covers Riverside County and assists other teams with search and rescue efforts in other counties. Each member purchases their own equipment and takes time off work, without compensation, to participate in search and rescue missions. Team equipment is purchased from contributions from the community. We are a non-profit organization and are funded by donations from people like you.

To read about past missions and see pictures of the team in action, click on the Missions link at left.