Sunday, February 21, 2010

Baxter State Park winter high angle SAR

Members from Lincoln SAR, MDI SAR & Unity College SAR spent the last weekend in January in Baxter State Park, providing SAR coverage, as well as practicing high angle SAR techniques.

Baxter Park Rangers transported us and our gear 17 mi into the park by snowmobile to the Roaring Brook trailhead. From there, we snowshoed approximately 3.3 mi to the Chimney Pond Ranger Station. We stayed at one of the cabins at Chimney Pond. The view of Katahdin from Chimney Pond was spectacular.

We awoke early each morning and hiked across Chimney Pond, climbing up the south side of Katahdin. High angle lowering techniques based upon the Technical Rescue Riggers Guide by Rick Lipke were practiced. This consisted of two lines-a belay line and a safety. Both lines were anchored into ice. building steep angle lowering anchors in snow was also practiced.
One of the funnest, but most scariest moments of the training, was practicing self-rescue techniques with an alpine axe on the ice. We were tied into a safety line, but for someone sliding down a steep, icy mountain side for the first time, having to rely on an alpine axe to stop sliding, it was quite the adrenaline rush.
During our 3 day training period, we also practiced avalanche rescue techniques, patient packaging, and learned how the incident command system works during SAR incidents in the park.

The hike up Katahdin was strenuous, but we were awarded with an amazing view of Chimney pond, Hammond Ridge, and Katahdin Peak. Temperatures were well below zero, and 50mph winds wipped through the mountainside the entire weekend.

Unfortunately, my camera froze the second day into the training, so these photos are of the first two days only. I am hoping to receive more to add to this post in the near future.