Mountain Rescue Mission on Muralla Grande and Training on Torreon 
Sunday, August 6, 2017, 02:52 PM - AMRC
Posted by Administrator
This last week was packed with a couple fun rescues and trainings. On Weds, a couple climbers attempted to climb La Selva, but ended up on Excitable Boys and then found their way over to the football field ledge. From there they decided that it was too risky to rappel because they didn't know if they would find a place to build an anchor. So they hung out while we got our team up to the top of Muralla Grande and built a system with the 1200' line. I rushed home from work at about 5:00 and with the help of Hans' quick truck driving skills we were on at IB by 6:00 (impressive!). A couple teams were already out, so I carried the TerrAdaptor legs down. Those are really awkward to haul.

Hans, Ang, and I built the TerrAdoptor and I watched the edge while Craig was lowered and raised 400' to pick off the two uninjured climbers. We had awesome throw on the mainline and eventually a nice army of firefighters and cops to help haul. The weather was nice and it didn't end up raining so everything worked out well, especially for the climbers.









Then this weekend, Supra led an interesting training with a couple fallen climbers. Elena and I were on the strike team and found the subjects on the top of Torreon. On of the climbers was dead and the other had a femur fracture and pneumothorax both with impaled object puncture wounds. I haven't done a lot of medical lately, so it was a good WFR refresher for me: running through SAMPLE taking vitals and monitoring the patient while the raise system was constructed. Oh and I also built a nice traction splint for the femur fracture out of Elena's trekking poles! Matt came down on the litter, we packaged our patient, and then I joined the haul team on top. The final stretch of getting the little through a 4th class boulder field was a challenge, but otherwise things went smoothly, albeit a little slower than desired. It was a nice training and Elena got to learn a lot, exclaiming in the debrief that it was the "best training ever!"










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Cold Adventures - January 2017  
Saturday, January 28, 2017, 04:27 PM - Weekend Fun, AMRC
Posted by Administrator
I attended an excellent scenario-based AMRC training on a brutally cold, windy Saturday morning. Hans and I we're on the strike team with Aspen and we discovered a patient had fallen off the limestone band of the Sandias near the Tombstone. Hans and I traversed around to reach the subject, while Aspen sorted out her plan for extraction. I clipped in the subject, before noticing it was a prospective member of the team and fellow Sandia ski team captain, Evan! Hans attended to the broken leg, while I worked on securing the patient to another tree above and boiling water for hot soup/tea. Frank came down and we loaded Evan on the skedco and worked him up the limestone band. I cleaned up the ledge while others hauled the patient to the parking lot. Car-to-car in 2 hours! Not bad.









The next day, Sunday, Jess and I joined Jason and his new dog, Dante, for a Embudo loop hike up to Oso Pass. Similar to this. It was actually a pretty solid hike of 8.5 mi with 2400' of climbing. Dante was loving every minute of it too!




The next weekend, I was lured up to Taos with a 10-12" forecast. I drove up early on Saturday, but without any signs of a storm, went to Black Rock Hot Springs with Bonnie, Dave, Josiah, and Briana. The camper banged its way through the mud and snow to John Dunn Bridge and to a wonderful little spot overlooking the Rio Grande. After a nice long soak, we headed up the hill to the ski valley for the St. B party. The next day only had about 3-4"--a complete disappointment--but we all made the most of it by hitting all our favorite steeps.








The next weekend, it was only calling for 2-3" but the snows came, and they came hard! Jess and I went up and skied with Jeff on Friday for a great powder day. We hit an untracked Donkey Serenade for deep powder turns and lapped the What Chutes and Highline. Unfortunately, I choose very poorly for my last run in the Waterfowl Area where I dropped the lip and got about 1/2 turn in before hitting a big rock and then pinballing for 30 feet through a rock garden while my skis skittered across the obstacles. It was awful, but I was luckily uninjured. Now I remember why I never enter from that spot!






(This looked good, but it was a rock garden!)

Saturday was the first Corporate Cup race of the year at Red River. It was snowing like crazy so the conditions were a little questionable. I skied my standard middle-of-the-pack speed. Then Jeff, Jess, and I explored the limited, but untracked terrain in Red. The Aspens were particularly nice. At the end of the day, Jeff decided to stick around for a Sunday pow day at Taos. Jess had to work, but we found a ride back for her with some of the Lobo team. Back at the camper, I had to shovel for a good hour to dig out from a day of heavy snow.




It snowed fat until 11pm and Jeff and I wondered around the TSV happy in the fact the next day was going to be excellent. Bonnie spotted us and made us come in to the Blonde Bear for a beer, but we turned in early. The next day was a 13" day at Taos and one of my favorite days on skis. Not much was open early, but Jeff and I got waist-deep fresh tracks in Pollux and Castor. Then we slipped over to an untouched chute in Lorelei Trees and lapped hikes: Cuervo, Sauza, Billy Sol/Two Bucks, Wild West, and Juarez. I showed Jeff the cliff that spenser hit in Sauza. I chicked out, but went for it and completely cratered. We found one of his skis 200 feet down the mountain! At the end, we linked up with Briana and Dave for a couple runs. What a killer day!






(Jeff sending the Sauza cliff)

(Jeff's missing ski... after cratering)

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Lost hikers in TWA Canyon and the AMRC Rescue Challenge 
Thursday, December 8, 2016, 10:39 PM - Weekend Fun, AMRC
Posted by Administrator
I responded to a mountain rescue pageout for a couple lost hikers in TWA canyon. The last cell phone ping we had, put them on the trail directly under the tram, so Justin, Aspen, Leigh, Frank, Pete and I caught a lift up the tram to the top to search from the top while another team headed up Domingo Baca. As it turned out the ping was way off - and we were at the coordinates when the other team found the patients (approximately 1 km away). They were in good condition, so we walk them out with the other team.







Andy put on another skills-based rescue challenge this year. We did rappelling, ascending, knots, mechanical advantage, and crevasse rescue stations this year by the Eye of the Sandias. It went much smoother than in years past, and we finished up close to noon so we could hold the annual party on time. This year, I proudly earned my 5-year AMRC service pin.






Oh, and we've started up the Karl and Rose weekday night rides again. These are dark and chilly, but a great way to get a few MTB miles in during the winter.


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AMRC MRA Recert - March 2016 
Sunday, March 6, 2016, 09:43 PM - Weekend Fun, AMRC
Posted by Administrator


Mountain rescue teams in the MRA (Mountain Rescue Association) are recertified every 5 years by peers in their region - the rocky mountain region in our case. This last weekend I helped the Albuquerque Mountain Rescue Council (AMRC) pass the recertification with unanimous positive votes for all 5 scenarios. I led Search Team 3 in the first scenario (search) to look in the hideout climbing canyon for a 67 year old who activated his SPOT device (simulated). The low angle followed and Justin and I led a final team to the base of the technical for a wheel carryout but just as we got involved, the scenario was called. On the high angle, I led Team 3 into the field and brought the litter and other technical gear to the top of a cliff by the Tram base. I assembled the litter, helped with the main front-pretension system, and then ran the main for the lower. At the end of day one, we gathered at the cache for a nice BBQ dinner and drinks. It was great to meet all of our MRA colleagues and get some excellent critiques - many of which I personally took to heart.





On the next day, I messed up from the start and forgot my skins at home so I had to make a run back home before the scenario. I was lucky to rejoin the team at the old triangle grocery and be assigned to the strike team. Kerry put me on the beacon search with Justin and Mike and we cleared the field in record time. I took the right flank and easily cleared the field - Justin stole my beacon at 2.4 meters saying it was his :). I ran the flank, found clues, and ultimately ended up on the probe line that hit the final patient. On the winter technical, I led the technical team to the top of the recert hill, built a "brilliant" bollard, and assembled the raise system with Mike. Everything went smoothly and we passed unanimously.




On a personal note, in the last 5 years on the team I have only seen it grow stronger, faster, fitter, smarter, and more capable. I owe so much to my teammates for their mentorship, trust, and confidence. This team has been my family in Albuquerque. Through their support, I have been fortunate to lend my skills to dozens of people in need to save lives, limbs, digits, and offered closure for grieving families. I feel honored to be on the team and to be there for the New Mexico outdoor community.
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AMRC Winter Training 
Friday, January 8, 2016, 06:07 PM - Weekend Fun, AMRC
Posted by Administrator
Kerry, Brendan, Lance, Zak, Andreas, Paul, and I went up early to do some backcountry Lobo Peak. Kerry, Brendan, and I peeled off from the rest of the gang and played in the fresh snow all the way down Powerline.





On Saturday, the full crew rolled out of Bill's house to go run beacon searches and build winter anchors up by Lobo Peak. Then on Sunday we ran a full avalanche scenario on the south side of Wolf Creek Pass. I was part of the beacon search and got fairly lucky with some targeted probing in a tree well. There was a body there! Sneaky Bill :)




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AMRC Training and First 2015/2016 Taos Ski Day 
Monday, December 7, 2015, 09:40 PM - Weekend Fun, AMRC
Posted by Administrator
I led the December AMRC training and tried to stretch the team by placing 3 people on a cliff in Embudo Canyon. I had 3 simul-climbers with the leader (Jack) stuck in a crack with a dislocated ankle, and the two other climbers (Ron and Susan) with hypothermia and lesser injuries to their arms. Craig helped set up the scenario and then ran back-to-back pick-offs, while Zak and the other 7 team members ran the mid-face little pickoff. Paul was on the litter and did a great job. Everything was executed well, but we'll need to pick up the pace and practice clear, crisp communications for the recert in 3 months. In the afternoon, we practiced transitioning the litter between horizontal and vertical orientations using a 4:1 block and tackle setup.










Verena and I also worked on the counterbalance pickoff technique. I struggled with the first iteration because I didn't give enough slack in the first connection. Verena did much better with the 2nd run, but I'd like to try it one more time before executing something like that in the field. Here's my 7 step process for making it work:
1. Rappel to the patient and attach a safety line from your harness to theirs. This will never be weighted unless something goes terribly wrong so make it long.
2. Attach a pulley to your rope above your rappel device and run 7 or 8mm line from their harness through the pulley to a munter mule on your harness.
3. Rappel down, reversing positions with the patient to unweight their system.
4. Remove their attachment to their rope. You have maintained 2 points of contact for the patient so this is acceptable.
5. Reverse positions with the patient again so you are as high as possible. Move your rappel device up as high as possible and set the prussic.
6. Attach a tight line between your rappel device and the patient. This will mean that you don't take any of their weight, and because you're putting this on now, you know that you'll be able to reach up and grab your prussic that holds the pulley.
7. Release the munter mule on the pulley system. Remove loose items from the system. Rappel to safety. Note: the position you are in when first setting the pulley is where you will ultimately end up for the final rappel, so one must account for their rope stretch, but also be able to reach the patient if there are medical issues, etc.






Sunday, I got up at 4:00am, drove to Taos to meet Jeff, Patrick, and Jason. 3 of us skinned up to Williams Lake before the lifts were turning to get some high-altitude training. I used my new Lange boots (130 Flex) and blistered my feet and hurt my knees. Probably too stiff for any real touring but they handled well. I had a mini adventure avoiding the creek on the way back to the Bav, and then ripped the return trail back to the cars. Skied all day with 3 hikes and caught the Bavarian Chutes to end the day with a beer and hardy Gulyassuppe.




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AMRC Guideline, Mike and Tammy Wedding, Winsor MTB 
Tuesday, July 14, 2015, 07:31 PM - Weekend Fun, AMRC
Posted by Administrator
I finally took a break from travel to say home a weekend. Friday, I met up with Enrique, Jose, and Matt at the Library for the American Outlaws US v Haiti Gold Cup watch party. Afterwards we walked across the street to Anodyne and played billiards way to late.



I showed up late for the AMRC guideline training, but made myself somewhat useful by helping set up the full strength anchor at the bottom, getting hauled to the top (wee!), and then running the main for lower sequence. I left early for Mike and Tammy's wedding - so I really got it from Zak and company.








Mike and Tammy had a small, quaint wedding in the South Valley. I played the role of photographer and did my best to get a few nice shots of the ceremony and reception. I think they turned out fairly well.








On Sunday, Mike, Allison, and eventually Mike #2 climbed the 4000' up Winsor to the Santa Fe ski area on bikes. The rivers were up so we played in the stream crossings to avoid the summer heat :) I ripped the descent and only managed to crash hard once! Stupid bush got me.



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PVSC in New Orleans and Taos Search 
Monday, June 22, 2015, 08:25 PM - Trips, Weekend Fun, AMRC
Posted by Administrator
I spent the week at IEEE PVSC in New Orleans. Conference was good, but I'm shifting away from PV physics to systems integration so it didn't hold as much interest to me as it normally does. Plus, this was my 5th time at the conference talking about arc-faults so it's getting slightly old.

Got a chance to meet Rachel and Jack for dinner. Not much chance to see that side of my family since they're so far away. I took advantage of the easy French Quarter access to social and have a beignet and hurricane or two.

The highlight as usual was the Sun Run. We managed to get a team together this year and Hot Carrier Injection tied for first place. Thanks Jack and Birk! I ran the 2.81 mile 5K in 18:33 (20:45 pace) and egged Jack on enough to have him out-sprint me at the end :) But either way, I earned my 5th Larry Kazmerski tie.









On Saturday, I grew restless and went up to camp with Kelley and crew for her birthday. I found them at sunset at Lower Hondo CG. Kelley, Francisco, and Amanda had just finished Wheeler and were completely content to relax by the fire. Stephanie and I just showed up to party and eat s'mores. I randomly met my work colleague in the campsite, so I asked Carrie to join us. Matt rolled in about 10:30 and Alyse ended up nearby.

At 0700 the next morning, the AMRC crew (Matt, Alyse, Jeff, and I) met at TSV parking area - turned incident base to search for a missing 61 year old male. Instead of getting a blackhawk ride to the top, we had to hike the 4200 ft up Yerba Trail to Lobo Peak. Justin from Atalaya SAR, jumped on our team and we ran a long, hot mission up to the ridge, down the ridge, into the steep drainage, and eventually back to the trail. After 7 hours we heard the death code come across the radio. We were only 0.1 miles from the find, so we traversed to meet Team 31 and assess the situation. I couldn't call the IC directly (no coverage) so our team headed back to base to sort out the recovery.

I let IC know the situation 2000 ft, 1.7 miles, and 20 stream crossing separated the team from the TH. They needed the body bag, litter, etc. At about 6pm, I made the decision to go home and not help out with the recovery (a combination of fatigue, plenty of help on scene, and busy work day Monday). Alyse and Matt did however bring supplies up to the group - putting their climbing somewhere north of 6000 ft for the day! Bravo! The body was recovered somewhere around midnight, putting the end to a week's worth of searching and providing closure for the family.

This mission was well covered in the national news because the patient was the White House Chef for Clinton and Bush. Some of the reports include: ABC, ABC again, New York Times, CNN, NPR, Taos News, and HuffPo.









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AMRC Search/Recovery 5-15-15 
Saturday, May 16, 2015, 03:16 PM - AMRC
Posted by Administrator
On Weds, AMRC got the page-out to search for a 24-year-old female missing in the Sandias. I had work obligations, so I didn't make it up Weds or Thursday (but they did close down the crest road past the ski area so I couldn't finish my weekly road bike crest climb). It was my Friday off though so I headed up to the 10K with the rig. Andreas, Craig, and I were assigned to Team 36 and sent out into very difficult terrain east of the crest road to look for clues that the patient had started hiking downhill. It seemed like a long shot-especially since someone had found the car keys up at the top of the mountain. We reluctantly searched between 9400 and 9600 feet for miles, crossing deep gorges and lots of downfall, and occasionally in snow/graupel. It was terrible and we found nothing except a few large footsteps, 3 party balloons, and the downhill MTB trail that I'll like to check out again sometime.





After 6 hours of that nonsense, we returned to incident base, chowed down in the police van, and were reassigned. To our luck, there was a break in the police case: a witness saw the subject on the cliff-side of the crest railing at a particular location. The witness reported that the patient looked very troubled and kept returning to the same spot along the cliff. I followed the APD officer up to the crest and he brought us south to the location. We built and anchor and rapped down the ~70 ft cliff and began searching. At this point, the weather had turned further south, the snow was picking up and coating the steep low-angle terrain. The winds started picking up as well. Craig, Andreas, and I split up to search along the cliffs. It took some time, but as we keep working our way down the hill, Andreas finally made the find. I radioed in the death code on the police radio and our search changed over to a recovery mission. It took quite some time to get APD down to take photos, so I ascended back up to get gear for the low-angle operation: a 200' rope, skedco, and rigging kit. At this point the lightning-thunder gaps were getting shorter, the winds were up to 30 mph, and it was snowing like crazy. It was very difficult to navigate the terrain or see into the wind. I ran the sked and rope down to the body. After the APD officer got photos, Andreas and I tied her into the rope system, put her in the body bag, and then packaged her into the sked. I went back up to get a 3:1 system setup, but found that that 200' rope wasn't going to make it, so I spliced it to the main for the high angle. I built a quick re-direct to get the rope up the low angle gully and Andreas manned the litter. I took over at the re-direct and we connected the sked into the belay the base of the cliff, added a tagline, and got the sked to the edge. Unfortunately the sked caught a minor underhang and the tagline attached to the foot was nearly useless to dislodge it. Kerry managed to get a hand to the sked to dislodge it and the haul team pulled it up over the edge. The three people below loaded up gear and climbed up with a hand line north of the high-angle system. Lightening was within a mile and the winds were 40-50 mph and there was 3 inches of snow accumulation at this point. It was my 13th hour of the mission when I jogged into the crest parking lot. We fled the storm, debriefed at the ski area, set gear out to dry in the cache, and I headed home for much needed sleep.

This missing-person's story got a lot of press. Here's a few of the news items:
KRQE May 11, KRQE May 12, KRQE May 13, KRQE May 16, Albuquerque Journal May 16, KOAT May 16.






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AMRC OCC Final Weekend with additional Ski/Climb/Cave/Bike 
Monday, May 4, 2015, 07:30 PM - Trips, Weekend Fun, AMRC
Posted by Administrator
I've been in a little funk of late, but this last weekend's really jolted me back to life. Friday, Kendrick and I headed to Santa Fe Ski Area to take a few laps on the Nambe Chutes with his dog Sarah. The bottom was melting fast and we ended up walking over a number of mud patches. By the halfway mark, we were in much better shape and we finished the skin just as the sun was hitting a few nice couloir lines. I dropped into an easy chute on Styx below Deception Peak and carved up the spring corn. Kendrick and Sarah were close behind. Luckily another group had put in a bootpack to the top via Rubicon so we didn't suffer too much on the return. Our 2nd line was far more interesting with a 55 degree entrance on Armageddon. A snowshoer was even kind enough to send us a few pictures of us dropping in. After lap two, Jeremiah and his friend showed up, but we decided call it and made our way back to the ski area base.









Kendrick and I grabbed pizzas at Il Vicino in Santa Fe and then worked our way out to Diablo Canyon. He convinced me to climb Post Moderate (though we ended up on Hellboy at the top) to level the score from the skiing. Kendrick made it look easy on lead - I, on the other hand, managed to unconfidently work my way up grunting and cursing. The crux of the 2nd pitch gave Kendrick pause and he had to downclimb and rework the problem a couple times. On top rope it wasn't as daunting and I pulled though. We rapped off the mid-pitch anchors as AMRC members started showing up.







The OCC crew, fresh from their NM SAR Field Certification testing, arrived at Diablo around 8:30. They were given a mock scenario to find a fallen climber, Shaniqua La Fonda, based on a few cell phone GPS coordinates. My team ended up wandering around east of the canyon for a while until the patient was located. We brought up ropes and rigging kits for the low angle rescue and set up 4 sequential anchors down to a trail to IB. I finally got my Baofeng radio programmed and it came with this very nice feature where you can listen to the radio until a communication comes in - we selected the mariachi music on 94.7. After a long, slow lower we made it back to the camp at 1am, debriefed, and then pitched camp.

In the morning, we started with the test-out stations. I manned the rigging station with Hans and Angela. Once everyone was finished, I went to the Styx wall and did a couple 5.7 top-rope climbs (one by belaying myself with a grigri - that was new). After lunch we went down to the Rio and cooled off. Kevin, Sarah, and I piled into Kendrick's Jeep and off-roaded a little on the way back to camp.






A storm was moving in, so we used the afternoon to watch Cliffhanger in Justin's van and go spelunking at Buckman Cave. The OCC crew went up there without a rope - so it was only Kendrick, Gio, and I that got any quality cave time. We covered much of the same areas that Mike and I explored a couple years ago. But this time we went a little deeper to a place labelled "Hell" with an arrow down a ~60 ft pit. It was a dead-end, but that was the farthest I've gotten so far. There is another big rappel from the big room with a triangular hole in the ceiling - guess we'll get to that one next time. I did also manage to avoid ascending the 1st rap with a tight squeeze and 20 ft of aid climbing. The first drop can be avoided in the future to save the rope for the lower sections.







As we got back to camp, the BBQ party was in full swing. The OCCers passed their tests so they officially joined the team. They were given their 8 mm cordelettes and Verena was awarded a grigri for her outstanding work in the class. A fire was built up and then we got the idea to have radium release hitch tying races. A week before, I claimed I could tie one in 30 seconds, but only got it down to 35 seconds before sharing the video with the class. Supra soon after sent me a video on FB that showed a 30 sec radium. So now it seems this has become a thing. I was paired up with Nick, the new guy, and I lost terribly... Supra beat him, and Lance won it all in the end. How funny to be tying knots at midnight. I also partook in some champagne and a couple beers at the fire, breaking my 26-day alcohol-less stretch. I had been trying to get a little more fit for mountain biking racing, but this party seemed worth breaking the drought.







Sunday, I was originally slated to ride the high road to Taos with Briana and company, but she got sick and cancelled. I chose to use my sunday to ride to the Santa Fe Ski Area. It was a tough climb and my knee started bothering me midway up. I dialed back the speed and eventually made it to the top - 30 miles and 4400 ft of climbing.
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OCC Training at Big Block 
Sunday, April 26, 2015, 06:56 PM - Weekend Fun, AMRC
Posted by Administrator
Saturday was the OCCers last training before their final testout weekend. Paul ran a good scenario in which his daughter had an open tibia fracture (complete with animal bone and tomato sauce blood) on the Big Block shelf. I came in with the support team and built an anchor with Andrea's trad rack for the patient, Verena, and I. The rock was terrible (crumbly), so when we started putting the litter attendant, patient, and 2 support folks on it, I got nervous and added a couple more pieces for a total of 5 cams. Verena did a great job of taking care of the medical components and paul worked the litter well. I haven't seen something like this done before, but we had 2 lines for the toe and head of the little tied into the anchor to stabilize it for patient loading. Paul was still too far out to help, so I built a tiny 3:1 off the master point on the litter system and pulled everyone in. To transfer the patient to the Stokes, we clipped her into the main and I lowered her on a munter. After she was fully packaged, the upper team raised the litter off the rock shelf; Verena and I let out the head and toe lines; and then I let out the 3:1 system and the litter slowly swung back out into the free air. They transitioned back to a lower and everyone reached the ground safely. The OCC then ran a quick low angle back to the road to reiterate wheeled litter transport. Overall it went well, but at 2 hours the whole thing took much too long.

The afternoon was devoted to a few specific skills: rap/ascension transitions and knot passes.







Afterwards everyone went over to Paulie's place to BBQ. The best part for me is feeling like I'm finally starting to get to know some of the new crew :)




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Mid-April AMRC Activities 
Saturday, April 18, 2015, 03:45 PM - Weekend Fun, AMRC
Posted by Administrator
Seems like there's been tons of mountain rescue activity lately! On Thursday, the team held a high angle rescue training to practice vectoring during edge transitions. I also worked on my system for transitioning from horizontal to vertical stokes and back: a block and tackle system tied to the master point and base of the litter is simple for building MA and getting it done - though I need more than a 30' 8 mm rope for getting it to 5:1.



Friday, I spent the day planting 10 Cypress and Austrian Pines at my house. I also got a big load of mulch to redo the backyard landscaping after years of 40-50 mph winds stealing my woodchips. By the end of the day the driveway was clear and my back was aching.




On Saturday, I was ready to work with the OCC class at the AFD fire tower, but at 6:30am a mission text came in. Andy, suggested I joined a few other AMRC folks to go out and look for a 51 year old female who was lost in Manzano Mountain State Park. We spent the day running a grid search in the Park, but with no sight of the woman. The following day, the sad news came in that the woman was found dead.



Saturday night was Briana's birthday party. I've been taking a month off alcohol so I DD'ed for the Effex revelers. Quite the scene with ~10 friends in the rooftop moshpit. I got everyone home sometime around 2am and passed out from sheer exhaustion.



Sunday, I joined Mike, Allison, Jordan, and Tom on a mountain bike ride in the south Manzanos. We did the Southern Crossing to Ponderosa, Gamble Oak, and Deadman for 16 relaxed miles in the warm afternoon. When I got home an AMRC pageout stated someone was involved in a 20' fall and had head and leg injuries. I rushed to the crest parking lot, and jogged 3 miles with Frank and Supra to the base of Chaos Crag (by Yataghan). When we got down there, we found that a UNM Reach and Treat and APD were already on scene and they said there was no head trauma, and no major swelling of the feet or legs. The helo was called off and we walked the patient to the La Luz Trail and littered him the 5 miles back down to the TH over 4 hours of agony. Fortunately, there was a lot of help and we moved fairly fast. AFD was nice enough to give us all a lift back to our vehicles and we signed out at 1:30am. I was in bed at 2:30 and made no attempt to make it to work on time Monday.





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AMRC mission, training, and the Super Monster 
Monday, April 13, 2015, 07:07 PM - Weekend Fun, AMRC, Training
Posted by Administrator
On Friday I left work early because I finally completed and submitted my big DOE proposal (102 pages, 4 partners, $5.7M, 3 years). Just as I got home, there was a page out for a mission on La Luz. I got the rig, joined Team 2, and met the police about 4 miles up the trail. The unpleasant business of performing body extractions is part of what AMRC does. As always the crew stepped up and got the gentleman out of the wilds with a lengthy wheel out.




Because I was teaching the Operational Core Curriculum (OCC) class for the new AMRC members the next morning, I left the rig at my house overnight. I wonder what the neighbors thought?



In the morning, I was in charge of teaching the OCC raises and lowers. We covered the main and belay, litter rigging, and communications. Overall everyone was very attentive and excited to be out at white wash for the day. We did 3 1/2 lowers/raise transitions and then a low angle exit with a knot pass. Fun times with the newbies!





Sunday, I woke up with the crazy idea of riding the Manzano Monster Loop from my house. Powered by a couple cold slices of pizza, I suffered the thing out over ~6 hours. It wasn't so bad except I managed to endo right away on the descent to Otero and badly bruise the palm of my right hand. That made the remaining 25 miles of dirt pretty painful. Then I stopped in the AMRC cache to get more water. The winds weren't insane, but it still hurt coming home through the canyon. 57.5 miles and 4,676 ft on knobby tires!


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The 22 Hour Saturday 
Sunday, January 25, 2015, 04:25 PM - AMRC
Posted by Administrator
Up at 4:45am, I loaded up the ski racing equipment, picked up Kaela, and headed to Angel Fire for my first race of the season. I ran a very conservative line for my first and ended up missing the 2nd run by a minute or two because Kaela and I took a long run down the ridge and they closed the course just before I got there. Bummer. I ran the gates without timing for fun and pushed much harder - felt like I shaved a good 0.5-1.0 seconds on my first run's time. Now I'm going to have to smoke Santa Fe to make up for my poor performance.

Kaela and I played on the backside in the afternoon. We hiked up and did a nice run on Detonator which still had powder on the fringes.

(Angel Fire's world class mountain biking trails with a few feet of snow.)


On our way back we stopped off at Kevin and Mary Kay's place to have dinner. Max and Felix were entertaining the crowd and we were having a wonderful time catching up, when an AMRC text came in. I didn't have any gear, but Kevin said he could wrestle up a headlamp and some crampons for me. We sped up the crest and were fielded as Team 2 by BCFD. We rushed down La Luz and plowed through waist deep shortcut powder to catch Andreas and Jeff in Team 1. BCFD sent in 4 of their people ahead of us; they found the patients just below on the trail near the Fin. The male and female, around 20, tried to get up La Luz but started postholing and soaked their shoes--then night came. The female had taken off her sopping socks and discarded them.

Kevin boiled up some miso soup and tea while I tended to foot treatment: I dried her feet and ankles, put on some dry socks, and then created a vapor barrier with trash bags before putting her feet back in the frosty tennis shoes. While there was some debate whether she could get to the top with painful arthritis in her right hip, she did eventually make it out under her own power (after 3 hours). Ironically, the firefighters took the longest. We gave them a spare set of snowshoes for the crampon gripper, but it was still a slow process. I tried to help by kicking a lot of the ice off the stairs and packed the snowy path down to the top.

Kaela had taken the car back to my house, so I got a ride with Andreas. All the doors were locked, so we banged on the bedroom window and eventually Kaela obliged to shelter me for the night. After a celebratory beer with Andreas, I crashed hard sometime after 2:30am.
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Snowy Night Mountain Rescue Mission on the Thumb 
Friday, December 20, 2013, 09:56 PM - AMRC
Posted by Administrator
The page out happened at 6:00pm (early!) and by 6:40, Tyler, Mike, and I were cruising up to the crest parking area. It took a while for everyone else to get up there, but eventually 15 members and our mastermind (Justin) huddled up. We hatched a plan to string fixed lines up the Northwest Ridge of the Thumb so that people could move gear up and we could get the patients off. The climbers were uninjured but hypothermic. They had started to climb at 7am, bonked and slowly moved up to about 700-1000 feet off the deck. Then they wrapped up in a puffy and sleeping bag and called us in to pull themselves off. The coherent climber said he didn't want to rap the other guy off since he was barely moving.

I was in the middle of a cold and hacking occasionally, but Tyler had talked me into joining the excitement. I really wasn't in good condition for an all-night epic, but figured I could help out. Things were not looking good though: pulling two people off the mountain rappelling them ~1000 ft and then hauling them up or down the La Luz back to civilization. Mike paired up Supra and headed off the start the climb. I led the team to secure the lines up to the patients so that the medical team (Justin and Dane) could prusik up to them quickly and easily if the helo wouldn't drop them off.

My team of 10 people split apart into a hastier team (Paul, Leigh, Tyler, me) and the rest of the crew (Brad, Mark, Sam, Mason, Michele, Brendan) because not everyone had crampons. The speedier, crampon team worked down the shortcuts and made it to the base of the climb fairly quickly. I even added a couple handlines for the steep snowy section leading up to the base of Pitch 1. By that time Mike and Supra had finished off the first 70 meters of the traditional climb and I helped them set the first line.

The National Guard were running a training mission nearby so when the IC contacted them, they were happy to come by and check out the situation. After sorting out which group they were supposed to rescue (ha), they dropped someone on a jungle penetrator next to the patients and hauled them off to Johnson Field. All that work for nothing! I waited for Mike and Supra to get down and we hiked out (extremely slowly) back to the crest with ice axes and crampons. With the frozen 300' rope in my backpack and cold (cough, runny nose, headache), it felt like I barely made it out. The rest of the final group (Supra, Paul, Mike) were also struggling. We got back to the trailhead/IB at 2:00am for the debrief. Home, showered, and in bed by about 3:30am, so I didn't feel guilty it was 10:00am before I show up at work the next morning.
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AMRC Annual Party 
Sunday, November 17, 2013, 09:11 PM - Weekend Fun, AMRC
Posted by Administrator
The team had a fun climbing/training day at Major Wall in the Socorro Box Saturday. I climbed an easier 5.7 next to She Can Bolt. I went over with Andy to setup some fixed lines to practice line transfers and taught a few new prospective members about the basics of anchor building. Andy volunteered to be my patient. I built a great system - two connections to Andy (60 cm runner and my personal anchor) and then made a counter weight system out of my 8 mm with a figure eight on Andy and a munter mule on my end. With my backpack on I was able to easily pull him up and get his grigri out of the system, then I lowered him with the munter onto the runners attached to me. It took some work to retrieve the upper prusik, and then I realized that both of us were on my grigri alone - so I decided to back it up with a prusik above the grigri (big mistake!). At the bottom of the rappel there was a cactus so Rusty pulled the rope over to help Andy out, but it crushed my balls and I let the prusik bind. I tried to make some systems to raise both of us (didn't work), and then I tried to just get Andy off me with another 3:1 above me on another prusik (no progress capture, so it didn't really work) and then I used the bolt on the wall to build the 3:1 and I tied it off so Andy was off me. Then I leg looped on the main line, and got up to break the prusik. We rapped to the ground after about 45 minutes of sitting there in front of everyone. Justin was nice enough to come over and poke me with a stick. I later learned that the Grigri 2 is only rated to 1800 lbs so we only had a 4.5 safety factor on the rappel (but with a backup) so in the future I should use an ATC.

After lunch Mike, Rusty, and Adrian went to Red Wall to climb. Mike did Red Wall while I lead (poorly) the start of Spiderman, which was over my head. I used the hook Rusty loaned me to sit a few places and I was shot through the 5.9+ bolted first section. I really am in terrible climbing shape. I made it up the next section with good pro to a bolt (the 5th bolt), but there wasn't good pro above that so I decided I was going to bail. I rapped on a locking 'biner on the bolt (little scary) but was happy to be back on the ground.





We drove back to burque and up to the AMRC party at the cache (after a shower). Lance became the team president and Leigh breathed a sigh of relief. We ate and drank and before you know it, it was passed 3am and I left to bivvy in the forest for the night.
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AMRC Mission and Taos 
Monday, January 28, 2013, 08:25 PM - Weekend Fun, AMRC
Posted by Administrator
Around 10pm on Friday night as I was about to go to bed AMRC was called out to a 16 year-old girl who ‘fell’ off the top of the Sandia crest, rolled about 150 down a steep icy slope, free fell 80 feet, hit the ground and slid for another 50 feet, and then fell another 20 feet into some trees. Justin twisted my arm so I responded. I got to the crest about 11pm and rappelled down the limestone band at the top of the Sandias. I was on the first team of 3 to reach the hypothermic girl with a fractured right shoulder, bloody mouth/face, and severe (10 out of 10) pain in her hip. With Supra and someone from the sheriff’s office, we checked for internal abdominal bleeding and a possible femur fracture, assessed vitals, warmed her up by getting her onto a foam pad, had her drink warm fluids, and our coats before the paramedic and MD arrived. After 2.5 hours of keeping her from going to sleep and packaging the girl with an IV in a sleeping bag and SkedCo, we moved the girl into position for the national guard helicopter to hoist the patient. During the hoist, I helped man the tag line with Tyler while the helicopter rotor washed every stick, leaf, and piece of medical gear into my face. Getting the team and gear back up the 80 foot cliff face took another hour and after sorting gear and driving home it was 4:15am. I got 20-25 minutes of sleep before the alarm went off and I jumped back in the van. I caught myself dozing a couple times to Santa Fe and promised to pound caffeine when I got gas, but I finally closed my eyes a little too long about a mile south of the Camel Rock exit. The car drifted into the concrete barrier separating the two directions of traffic, broke the middle window, and bent the driver’s side front wheel. I was able to get to Espanola to buy plastic sheeting at Lowe’s and align the front wheel at the only shop in town that was open. At this point it was too late for the Red River race so I skied Taos with Ben, Tobi, and Luke Saturday and Sunday. I need to replace the window and lower control arm but otherwise I was lucky.

KRGE
KOB



Saturday morning I headed up for the xc ski and snowshoe to Williams Lake. 32 min for the xc ski from the car to transition. Took it easy on the snowshoe but still made it on first chair by 10am!
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Red River Race Camp + Taos + AMRC Search & Training 
Sunday, December 9, 2012, 10:43 AM - Weekend Fun, AMRC
Posted by Administrator
USSC Ski Race Camp at Red River was great. Got to run a bunch of gates and got one-on-one advice on improving my technique from some of the best skiers in the NCAA. I made "leaps and bounds" with my skiing and I'm stoked for the GS race season! Some work friends got together on Friday night to have dinner and drinks at Timbers - good time with friends, even if they are snowboarders. Jason and I also had the killer room in the Alpine Lodge overlooking the ski hill and we watched the UNM Ski Team Train on Saturday morning. Saturday night's banquet and torchlight was fun with a little more partying with the gang that evening.




Sunday, Jason and I skied Taos. First time up for the year, and it wasn't too shabby considering how poor the snow conditions were. I made a little video of the GoPro footage we shot that day.






Wednesday, I headed out for a search with AMRC. Lance and I plus Michele and a couple other Cibola folks bushwhacked up into Sulfur Canyon in search of a waypoint on the potentially suicidal 48 y.o.'s GPS that indicated he might be there. But there was no sign of the guy. Another disappointing search. A day later the search was called off and the guy was never found.



Friday, I finished my WFR certification with a field test. I quickly diagnosed my diabetic patient's condition, provided 15 g oral glucose + food, and we walked out together. Great class. I just hope that I'm able to retain everything for when it counts.

Friday night, Jeanne and I biked downtown to meet up with Josiah, Briana, Dave, and few new friends. We hit Marble for a beer and then watched a few bands at Low Spirits. Everyone was on bikes, so it was a really fun night of cruising the streets with a gang.

Saturday, I joined the AMRC team for Andy's Training Challenge, which included repelling, ascending, radio use, navigation, knowledge of the climbs in the Sandias, knot work, a low angle haul without spilling a water bucket, splinting, and shoe improvisation. It was a fun night out, and Jason, Brendan, and Dave won the race handedly. Couple take aways: 3:1 haul system with grigri and a prussic or minitraxion is super quick for ascending, and you add 10 to go from a magnetic reading to true b/c declination is 10 degrees East in the Sandias. There was also a core shot to one of the ascention lines but no one could figure out what caused it.






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OCC Final 
Sunday, August 26, 2012, 09:14 PM - AMRC
Posted by Administrator
The Operational Core Curriculum class final was this weekend for AMRC. Last year, I was the new guy, hardly knew what a cam was, and certainly wasn't comfortable running missions.

This year I was the rescue leader for the first scenario along with Tim. We dispatched the team at 7pm for Diablo Canyon and caravaned to the IB. I took Team 2 out, worked down the southside of the canyon using active attraction, and meet up with Team 1 at the patient about 250 m up a talusfield. The patient had sprained her ankle so Brian and Carrie took good care of her (hot ginger tea) while the remaining teams setup two low-angle lowers. Lot of hard work to get out with a smooth but tricky hand-over-hand pass to the wheel. After that it was back to the IB. Total mission time from arrival: 2:45. Little slow but not bad for new folks.

Squirrels



After the training (around 1am), Mike asked me if I wanted to go caving with him. I asked if it was a "cave of wonders," and with the affirmative reply, it was right back out into the wilderness. We eventually located an entrance that was so small our helmets couldn't fit without being removed. It did open up for a little bit and we chased a string around for a while before coming to a 50 ft drop. We rapped off a chockstone and found another (huge) entrance. You didn't even have to duck for this one! Caving in the middle of the night is interesting because you can't tell where the entrances/exits are until you're standing outside.

Back inside we ascended the rope and worked our way to another rappel. A couple nuts and a cam were tossed in a crack and off I went. When I got to the lip I was shocked that the vertical drop nearly used all the 100' rope! This really was the cave of wonders! We continued to explore for another 1/2 hr, got cliffed out again at the edge of a huge room, and then found another neat, very tight passage that eventually led to entrance 2. A long and painful prusik ride up the 100' of 8 mm back to the squeeze - and we were out. We hiked back down the mountain and into a quiet campsite at 5am. Brushed and threw out my sleeping pad and bag and got a nice sub-2 hr night's rest.



The next day, the operation members tested out the new folks on knots and knowledge. We set up a few fixed static lines on Styx for ascends/rappels and I was happy to on-sight Minion. There was one huge block that I nearly pulled out of the wall though, so that gave me a nice scare.



After a siesta and a mechanical advantage test. (Can you build a 7:1 system using 3 pulleys?) it was back into the heat. In the high angle scenario, I went over the edge and clipped the main and belay to the heat stoke patient. Overall, the lower went very well. Leigh helped administer food and water before the patient could be loaded into the litter and IVed. The low angle work was super slow, but we eventually got out cruising with the wheel and under Justin's direction.



"Patient complaining of cramping in calves, nausea, and headache. Better pull up WebMD."


Partied it up with the new members and BBQed some brats and burgers. Not quite as fun the first time through the class, but it was still a great weekend.

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AMRC Search 
Monday, August 13, 2012, 06:34 PM - AMRC
Posted by Administrator
Mission on Weds night for a missing hiker from Maryland. He headed out on N. Crest Trail at 10am, and somehow got lost in the Osha area before heading off the trail and downhill. I took a couple new members of the team (Doug and Mason) out on N. Crest, yelling every 0.1 mi for Kevin. The helicopters eventually spotted him way down near Osha Spring Tr and he was airlifted out to the crest helipad. By this time we had gotten ourselves about 5 miles into the wilderness and had to hike back in the dark down Penasco Blanca, Osha Loop Tr to 10K. By the end, my IT bands were good and aggravated and Mason was blistered and had "strained" his ankle. Last team back to the parking lot!


Big
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