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Search and Rescue volunteers: need?
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djoseph


Jul 17, 2006, 10:35 PM
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Search and Rescue volunteers: need?
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Hi -- just came across this article in the Denver Post, which talked about the need for search & rescue volunteers.

A few questions: Do S&R teams (esp in Colorado) generally need climbers? Or are most of the S&R folks already climbers?

Also, does anyone know if the Boulder area needs S&R folks? I assumed that there were plenty of volunteers, but the article seemed to indicate otherwise.

In reply to:
mountain communities and well-populated regions alike struggle to find rescuers when they are desperately needed. "They're essentially recruiting all the time," said Howard Paul, president of the state Search and Rescue Board and a member of Evergreen-based Alpine Rescue.

Colorado aside, I'd be interested in hearing the experiences of those who do S&R work.

Dan


gritstoner


Jul 18, 2006, 4:55 AM
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i cannot speak for the s&R teams of America, but the mountain rescue and cave rescue teams of the UK are all volunteers, and they always need people.
mountain or cave, the name tells the type of people they get for both, but that doesn't mean the teams are exclusively climbers or cavers. As both teams are non proffit organisations, the teams are generally just people with a love of the outdoors who want to give something back to the climbing/caving communittee's.

i can honestly say that helping out with my local mountain rescue team has been some of the most rewading times i have had. i signed up as a part timer (im not always in the same area for too long, so cannot go full time) after mountain rescue pulled me off a hill side with some impressive busted up legs.


killclimbz


Jul 18, 2006, 6:34 AM
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From what I've seen the S&R groups need the expertise in rope management of seasoned climbers. Knowing how to rig rappels, set up haul systems etc. Not much need for actual technical climbing.

I have been around several S&R practice days in the past few years. Mostly by accident, but I would say the majority of them are not climbers. Still, there are always a few experienced climbers in the group. They seem to be the people giving directions when rope work is involved. I am sure they could use another person experienced in this area.


tb69hikeclimb


Jul 18, 2006, 7:14 AM
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extra help is ALWAYS needed especially during the search phase.technical help with the rescue portion can also be helpful ,an extra set of hands is always ,always ,always needed to help with the evacuation. check with your local teams tell them what you can do and go with them when they train knowing how to communicate and take direction is key. you want to be helpful not a pain in the ass.


clmbnski


Jul 18, 2006, 7:56 AM
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I am on a mountain rescue team here in NM. Depending on the terrain in a given area the S&R team may not need to have lots of highly skilled climbers but there does need to be some. It is also more important to have experienced trad climbers that can pull 5.8 rather than a super strong boulderer.


djoseph


Jul 19, 2006, 8:09 AM
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Hi -- thanks for the replies. Good to hear other people's experiences. I also found this Rocky Mountain Rescue page, which talks about becoming a SAR volunteer locally.

Thanks again,
Dan


trenchdigger


Jul 19, 2006, 8:52 AM
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Generally, SAR teams want people with backpacking/mountaineering experience - people that can take care of themselves with limited gear in difficult conditions. Most SAR work involves little or no technical rock skill. Even in technical rescue, rigging and techniques don't compare to the type of stuff we use in climbing. Because SAR tends to appeal to the outdoorsy, mountaineer/climber types, you'll find that many of them do have solid technical climbing skills. It is generally not, however, considered a prerequisite for joining a team.

If you're interested in participating, by all means check it out. Just be prepared for the commitment of time and money to be a part of the team.


majid_sabet


Jul 19, 2006, 1:44 PM
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Doing SAR is completely different that recreational weekend adventure, you climb because you want to enjoy it, you do SAR cause it’s a job and you must do it. Therefore it’s a business vs recreation even due it involves with volunteers doing hiking and climbing but it all comes to an order (a job) from a manager which a team has to put together at any given time, hot or cold, rain or shine.

It takes anywhere from two to ten years to become a all around SAR, plus $$ , attending classes and training one after another and years after years. Eventually if you stay too long doing it, it becomes part of you, part of your life.

Most SAR teams are divided in to specialty groups, some bad as* climbers and mountaineers you never thought exist on the planet doing technical rescue beyond your imagination and then other groups to respond to disaster such a Katrina driving food truck.

Rescuing a climber stuck in the middle of rock may involve many responder ,some times 12 to 20 rescuer to get a single person out ,plus many gears must be hauled up to be used in a system and every thing must work as perfect, no place for errors ,therefore you may see fat ropes vs climbing ropes, multi anchor setup vs climber’s anchor and since you may have only limited time or one chance to rescue, you have to make sure you got every thing with you, packs after packs after pack.

For rewards, you may have to deal with the unfortunates situation, major injures and death of those you could not save, some times it may get to you but again it’s a job, a messy job but some one has to do it, and it job is not for every one but those who are willing to do may get a priceless reward.

Conclusions;

Climbers are excellent candidates for SAR positions cause they are crazy enough to push their lucks and challenge the fine line every time, plus its easier to train a climber to haul heavy load, give them no food or water, abuse the sh*t of them in cold and hot day and get them to do it all for free.


Its an order….put your helmet on…you …$$..##2@..!..**..&


trenchdigger


Jul 19, 2006, 2:14 PM
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Some decent points, Majid, but also some significan misconceptions...

In reply to:
Doing SAR is completely different that recreational weekend adventure, you climb because you want to enjoy it, you do SAR cause it’s a job and you must do it. Therefore it’s a business vs recreation even due it involves with volunteers doing hiking and climbing but it all comes to an order (a job) from a manager which a team has to put together at any given time, hot or cold, rain or shine.
I disagree...
I and every SAR person I know does it because they enjoy it, the people involved, and the challenge to the mind and the body. I climb for similar reasons. The one difference is that the end goal of SAR is to help others - something that not only enjoy doing, but hope others will be willing to do should I find myself in trouble. Karma, baby...

In reply to:
It takes anywhere from two to ten years to become a all around SAR, plus $$ , attending classes and training one after another and years after years. Eventually if you stay too long doing it, it becomes part of you, part of your life.
True... Lots of time, lots of money... The beauty of it all is that gear whoring is now tax deductable.

In reply to:
Most SAR teams are divided in to specialty groups, some bad as* climbers and mountaineers you never thought exist on the planet doing technical rescue beyond your imagination and then other groups to respond to disaster such a Katrina driving food truck.
Some are, but ours isn't. We are all trained equally and extensively. Of course, some are better at certain search or rescue disciplines. Those people are utilized to their maximum effectiveness when the need arises.

In reply to:
Rescuing a climber stuck in the middle of rock may involve many responder ,some times 12 to 20 rescuer to get a single person out ,plus many gears must be hauled up to be used in a system and every thing must work as perfect, no place for errors ,therefore you may see fat ropes vs climbing ropes, multi anchor setup vs climber’s anchor and since you may have only limited time or one chance to rescue, you have to make sure you got every thing with you, packs after packs after pack.
Nothing ever works perfectly. Errors are sometimes made. Fortunately, systems of redundancy account for that and keep things from going seriously wrong. And you never know exactly what you're going to need...

In reply to:
For rewards, you may have to deal with the unfortunates situation, major injures and death of those you could not save, some times it may get to you but again it’s a job, a messy job but some one has to do it, and it job is not for every one but those who are willing to do may get a priceless reward.
Reward? There really is no reward. No fame, no fortune... In the end, we're all just masochists and adrenaline junkies looking for our next fix.

In reply to:
Conclusions;

Climbers are excellent candidates for SAR positions cause they are crazy enough to push their lucks and challenge the fine line every time, plus its easier to train a climber to haul heavy load, give them no food or water, abuse the sh*t of them in cold and hot day and get them to do it all for free.

Its an order….put your helmet on…you …$$..##2@..!..**..&
I don't think any SAR team anywhere will put up with a rescuer that "pushes their luck" or "challenges the fine line every time." Someone like that is a threat to themselves, their team, and the subject.


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