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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AMRC Mission with Helo Evac 
Sunday, July 29, 2012, 01:40 PM - AMRC
Posted by Administrator
AMRC was paged out as soon as I got back home after climbing with Mike. I had just unloaded my climbing gear when I got the page, so I repacked everything and headed to the mountains at the top of Montgomery.

Briefing: APD and Albuquerque Ambulance folks were on scene taking care of an injured hiker. He hit his head climbing on the rocks and blacked out for an hour, so we headed up there to run comms for the helo evac, or if the helicopter didn't work out, we'd be on scene to run the low-angle.

Some video of the mission

KASA story




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AMRC Mission in Navajo, NM 
Thursday, July 5, 2012, 06:10 PM - AMRC
Posted by Administrator
2:40am the phone rings. New text: MISSION 1 or 2 hikers stranded 120' up on a rock in Navajo, NM.

I talked with police and got the status update and GPS coordinates from the field coordinator. 3 hours later, Lance, Paul, Zack and I are standing in front of an impressive block of volcanic rock ("Frog Rock") right in the middle of town. Original reports were for 1-2 patients on the rock, with a stranded firefighter, who tried to get them. 50 degrees, raining, and extremely slick rock. At incident base, the fireman and one patient were down. From the backseat of the cop car the first person said that he didn't know the 2nd guy's name, but called him Palo. I grabbed my trad rack and headed up with Paul, as Lance and Zack circled the monolith searching for the other person. Eventually we roped up a few 5th class moves from the top (with a bomber anchor around a natural arch!). I couldn't in good conscience go for it knowing how poor the rock (dirt?) quality was. Every hold literally exploded in my hand! There was no hope for pro holding, and I didn't know if there was an anchor at the top to get down. Paul and I switched places and he went for the move to the ledge... and made it! Bravo! He reached the top and yelled. No answer. 2 hours of climbing and all we found was an unopened beer and a pipe. Paul managed to get down OK, thanks to Zack's route finding help. We radioed back to IB that there was no sign of him. They radioed back, that he just walked into base. Apparently, he lived a half a block away, just woke up (~10am at this point), and wondered what was all the commotion. The first guy in the cop car was not pleased with the 2nd guy - since he had left him up there all night in the pouring rain in jeans and a t-shirt. It'll be interesting to see how that relationship develops.


Bigger

Mission Report by Paul: Youtube
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AMRC Pickoff Training 
Sunday, May 13, 2012, 09:20 PM - AMRC
Posted by Administrator
Great training with some of the AMRC regulars at big block. We did a few different pickoff techniques: counterbalance, block and tackle, and confusing variations of the two - leading to lots of time in painful harnesses. Check out the photos for the mass confusion.

Pictures
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AMRC Recertification  
Monday, March 12, 2012, 07:03 PM - Weekend Fun, AMRC
Posted by Administrator
Every 5 years members of the Mountain Rescue Association must accredit with the MRA in 5 areas: search, high angle technical rescue, low angle technical rescue, avalanche, and winter technical. We just completed ours this weekend!! Stressful but rewarding!

Ready for technical rescues!


High-angle scenario.


High-angle rigging.


Snow avy/winter technical rescue.


Lance packing it all up after skiing a victory lap on Sandia!


Day 1


Day 2

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AMRC Mock Winter Low Angle and Avy Re-cert 
Saturday, February 4, 2012, 07:54 PM - Weekend Fun, AMRC
Posted by Administrator
Avy re-cert at the gravel pit couloir with low angle rescue. I was on strike team and botched clearing the field for the beacon search by chasing a rope to a "dead" body.

At least I got a free tree ski out of the day!


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AMRC Mission 3 
Sunday, August 28, 2011, 05:54 PM - AMRC
Posted by Administrator
Hiker with sprained/broken ankle 1.5 miles up La Luz. Litter hike out through slippery, spiky, rocky terrain. In field at 10:30, out at 12:15. Good AMRC turn out.
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AMRC Mission #2 
Saturday, August 20, 2011, 11:09 AM - AMRC
Posted by Administrator
A lead climber took a 60 foot whipper in Chimney Canyon on Muralla Grande or Clandestine Wall... I don't really know. By the time Nate and I got up there we could hear the helicopter evac'ing the patient. Certainly was a nice day though.




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AMRC Mission 
Tuesday, August 16, 2011, 07:06 PM - General, AMRC
Posted by Administrator
I got to go on my first AMRC mission on Sunday. 18 year old male broke leg up from Embudo TH. I led Team 3 and set up and ran the first low angle lower. Great team response and the patient was out in 2 hours!
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AMRC 
Monday, May 30, 2011, 07:24 AM - Weekend Fun, AMRC
Posted by Administrator
I have completed the AMRC final test and am now on the team. Thanks to all the team members, especially Justin, for putting the classes and trainings together.

Also, this weekend I received my ham radio license so that I can better communicate on missions.
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