Sunday, May 22, 2011

A tandem lower

It wasn't so much that my ego was feeling bruised, but I was just a little concerned that the tandem lower technique I like so much for introducing new trainees to the high angle environment was so thoroughly debunked by the RfR crew (one of yesterday's learning moments -- see previous post).

I hated to feel so stupid, to think I'd been using something so easily discarded, so I went looking for pictures of up-to-date UK technique just to see what they do nowadays.

Here is HRH the Duke of Cambridge, otherwise known as "Wills," on service with RAF Valley MRT just a couple of years ago, using the same system I use. The photos belong to the BBC.

It looks like it has changed little since it first came into being around 1983. It was invented by MR troop and later Chief Instructor Bill Batson and widely disseminated around that year.

It uses three ropes, two main lowering ropes and a safety/belay rope. the two mains are tied more or less directly into the litter/stretcher, and then to the guides/attendants/barrow boys, no need for a bridle. No chest harness, no complicated jiggers.

If, as I supposed based on a 2003 article by Bill in On the Hill: The Journal of RAF Mountain Rescue, the RAFMRT has adopted RfR ideas, then they certainly reverted pronto to older technique when assigned to train his Highness.

I guess if I was trying to stay current in MR systems back in the UK, I would still actually be current.

The one new idea here that I can see is the notion of "vectoring" the mainlines on the edge transition. We never bothered to do that back in the dark ages.

The question would be, why do they still use this system, if as reported by Bill, the RfR ideas were introduced circa 2003?

I might email Bill and try to find out.

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