Training Reports and Photos - 2002


Raising and Lowering System

To CMRU in action, learning more about our raising and lowering system, click here to see some photos.

Annual Rock Practice – revisited

Even the weather cooperated during our annual Rock Practice at Steelhead Falls – it threatened, but didn’t rain! On Saturday, we practiced system rigging, lowering, raising and changes between the two. We worked with a litter and with a single rescuer doing “pick-off’s.”

Steelhead Falls, Deschutes River

Preparing to come up over the lip
A dynamometer was rigged into various places of our technical evacuation system to evaluate the loads created. As one might expect, higher loads were recorded during a raising operation than during a lowering. A typical maximum load with one person and a litter on the raising line was about 300 pounds. Since the dynamometer was available, we rigged a section of “old” rescue rope with a “high-strength” tie-off to a tree and put a Prusik hitch on the line. Then we rigged a 5:1 pulley system and got about five big, husky brutes to begin pulling to see where the Prusik would slip. The hitch slipped at about 1200 pounds. It was interesting to note an individual effort (1:1) could pull about 100 pounds (a little more for some, a little less for others). During the Prusik-slip test, another observation was that the Prusik would slip as predicted so long as the (slack) line “upstream” of the Prusik was maintained as a straight line. If it was allowed to “pile-up” beside the Prusik, the hitch tended to “roll” and bind-up rather than slip. The moral of that story: the “dog-n-tails” operator needs to keep the slack out of the mainline in order to keep the line coming straight out of the Prusik during a raise.
On Sunday, there was practice on fixed-line maneuvering and passing knots through the evacuation system. Thanks, Iain, for organizing and conducting an informative weekend field training in the rock environment; and thanks to all who contributed observations and ideas for improvement.

Nate checking his gear before going over the edge

The Corwin Search Continues by Nate Vigaliano

In August, CMRU was invited by EugeneMountain Rescue to aid in resuming the search for the mystical Corwin Osborne. With some of us grasping for another excuse to go play in the mountains we responded. Plans were set into motion and on September 14th and 15th we were to meet at the Dee Wright observatory at 0600. WHAT 6:00 in the morning?! Despite the hour Keith, Matt, Nate, and Susan were at the observatory in all our early morning splendor drooling for that first cup of coffee, but coffee wasn’t all we found. In true Lane county form the Explorer Scouts were already hard at work making eggs, pancakes, and hash, that sure beat the Cliff bars and bagels I would have had for breakfast.

Fueled and ready for action we received our team assignments, Susan volunteered to act as relay from Obsidian trail head and, the Corvallis trio was to ascend to Arrowhead Lake via Obsidian trail, establish a camp and continue up to the summit of Middle Sister or as high as we could, on the way we were to check some of the gullies. Our assignment area was left pretty open so we, in true Lindsay fashion theorized possible escape routes and tried to find the highest probability areas. The three of us decided the best route not already covered was up the Renfrew Glacier (how is that pronounced again?). With our hourly check well in hand up we went, with Susan utilizing the truck and radio we, as well as other teams received the very necessary relay to be able to talk to base camp. After moving up the Renfrew and finding a nalgene bottle with some questionable contents we reached the saddle between Middle sister and Prouty point, our high point of about 9100 ft was at 1600 hours. While being treated to a cool wind and weather that felt as if we were going to be in trouble, we descended to Arrowhead Lake and met up with some of the EMR folks.

To our surprise the weather held and we were in for another good day in the hills so at 0600 Sunday we were up and moving about. Our search area was again left up to us, in fact if we even wanted to search at all so we chose to descend in the White Branch creek drainage. On our way we heard Iain was on his way up to meet us for some gear packing duty but one of the EMR folks was looking for someone to help with a possible lower from a saddle. The goal was to check out an Item in a likely fall location on the east face. Alas Iain had not brought any climbing gear, but all was not lost. The trio was more than willing to surrender some equipment to our master climber, and oh how his eyes lit up when he found out he could go climbing instead of being a sherpa.

With lighter packs (poor us) we descended into our search area and spent the day in the drainage and a parallel gully joining up with the trail at Spring Lake. We were back at the trail head by 1530.