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
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
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.