Saturday, April 16, 2011

Spring Avalanche

Backcountry ski conditions have been good, and we still have a couple months to go in our spring season. Avalanche risk in the spring is normally lower than mid-winter. But it can happen.

Here's an educational video published by a Swiss skier who was caught in an avalanche recently.

The skier suffered broken vertebra, but survived. Thanks to thomasiasus for sharing.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

San Carlos Search

On 4/14/11, 1755 BAMRU responded to an in-county callout for an 82-year-old female with dementia missing from her San Carlos hills residence. She was last seen at 1400 and had past history of walking away. Her direction of travel was unknown.

Temporary CP was at the San Carlos police station and we got the ball rolling by setting up an overhead team. After a team briefing, 4 dog teams and several ground teams were deployed. BAMRU was assigned a hasty search in the open space canyon behind the houses.

As the sun was going down, the subject was located in a nearby neighborhood. And in a interesting twist, a second report came in for a missing man that was thought to be searching for the original subject in the caynon behind the houses (our search area). The description, of the missing man was immediately recognized by one of the search teams and he was located shortly after on the sidewalk. All subjects returned to their home safely.

Big Thanks for all those who responded. We had a cool assignment and once again the CP gear was helpful.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Devil's Canyon Search

On April 9th at 8pm BAMRU was requested to search for a missing 24 year old woman who had been reported missing in the Devil's Canyon area of southern San Mateo County. She was described as having some backcountry experience, but not dressed for nightime temps that dropped to the 30's/40's. (leggings/light shirt/flip-flops).

BAMRU searched a cave entrance was near the top of a 40' waterfall. We dropped rope and rappelled to search the pools below. Other teams searched upstream and downstream in Type 2 terrain. Later in the night BAMRU responded to investigate potential clues, rappelling waterfall areas where the missing subject could have fallen.

At daybreak the subject was found when she hiked out and found a local residence. She was cold, scratched, and had lost her flip-flops, but was in good health.

There were a lot of interesting aspects of this search. We used our tracking skills to follow tracks. We built two technical systems and used a lot of personal rope skills. We also assisted with plans and some CP work.

Media Coverage: Mercury News

Thursday, April 7, 2011

New Redwood City Home

For more than 15 years, BAMRU's Redwood City location has been 500 Allerton in Redwood City.

Starting this week, BAMRU moves to a new home in Redwood City. Our new Redwood City meeting location will be 455 County Center, Room 101.

Note that BAMRU will continue to use the same location in Castro Valley for our bi-monthly East Bay meetings.

Our next meeting in our new Redwood City location will be Monday, May 16 at 7:30pm.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Tree Well Survival

Tree wells occur in deep snow. They form a narrow vertical chute next to the tree trunk, and can be six feet deep or more. Self-rescue from a tree well is difficult.

Tree well fatalities can be described as "Non-Avalanche Related Snow Immersion Death", or NARSID. Learn more about NARSID here.

Here's a video taken by a man who was caught in a tree well on Mt. Shasta.

Luckily this man was found and rescued by local ski patrollers. See more at NWCN News.

BAMRU has been involved in a number of tree-well related operations this season. We can testify that it is often difficult to see someone who has fallen into a tree well.

When skiing in deep snow, go with a partner! And keep your partner in sight! Learn more safety tips at