Saturday, October 11, 2008

OMTRS: Achenbach canyon

The rescue team had a huge turn-out for the high angle training at Achenbach canyon waterfall. So many people, a lot of them new, and it was not uncommon to see people with nothing to do, waiting their turn to learn rescue rigging techniques. Fortunately for them, I brought a top-rope. The cliff underneath the waterfall is crumbly igneous stuff. After knocking off the worst of the loose blocks, we had a decent top-rope with a 5.5 route and a 5.7 route. The crux moves were getting around a large hedge-hog catcus.

I didn't actually get much training in myself, but on a whim, I jumped into the litter to see what it feels like to get lifted up. The waterfall was dripping so I got cold and wet. I also learned that even though the patient is protected by a metal cage, he can still feel rocks poking into his back. The litter rigging looks pretty complicated, but is actually pretty straight-forward. The team has a fancy litter with color coded straps so as to help you remember which ones go where. Even after all the straps are in place, the patient is tied directly to the ropes as a double-back-up (in case he falls out of the litter!). I mistakenly made this tie-in too short. While going up in the horizontal position, this wasn't a problem, but as soon as they tipped the litter vertical, the haul-line pulled me directly from the harness instead of pulling the litter. Very un-pleasant.

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