Monday, June 25, 2012

Personal Rock Skills

If you are going to climb for fun it's a good idea to know how to get yourself out of a pickle.  Better yet, it's a good idea to know how to avoid them.  If you're volunteer mountain rescuer, it's imperative to know both.

The personal rock skills training that we do provides a technical foundation for climbing and self-rescue.  Skills covered include knots, anchors, belaying, rappelling, ascending fixed lines and self-rescue.  On the weekend of June 16th-17th, just under 20 BAMRU team members assembled in Tahoe to review and practice these skills before we move on to technical and advanced technical trainings in the fall.  It was a wonderful weekend that took a lot of planning.  The weather was amazing and it was great to see new BAMRU team members out there on the wall!      

If you are a recreational climber and would like to move on to sport or trad climbing, or even mountain rescue, it is important to know how to help yourself or your climbing partner(s) if things go awry. It isn't safe to rely on one other person who knows what they're doing or to assume that they won't get injured.  So before you play a risky 800 vertical foot of game of follow the leader, check out your local instructors or ask an experienced friend to show you the ropes.  Here is an option for folks in the Bay Area:    

If you do get into a pickle and need help, hopefully we'll be able to be there for you.  Climb safe everyone. 

Tying Purcell prusiks at night
Credit: Alex Grishaver

The practice wall
Credit: Emilie Cortes

Happy Climbers! Credit: Emilie Cortes

Rachel, getting out of a pickle practice.  Credit: Sarah J Roth

Jon  Credit: Emilie Cortes

Credit: Emilie Cortes

SJR takes a well deserved break   Credit: Emilie Cortes

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dana Couloir Alpine Training

Another small alpine training has come and gone successfully!  This time, a team of three set out for the summit of Mt. Dana via the Dana Couloir.  At 13,053 feet, Mt. Dana is a wonderful venue for an alpine training as it offers the perfect mix of steep snow (35-45 degrees), 3rd-4th class rock, a rappel on the descent and a taste of what it's like at altitude.  

Kito, Blake and Kyle set out on June 8th and headed over Tioga pass to camp for the night.  On Saturday morning gear was packed, and they hiked from Tioga to Dana Lake, where they set up camp and did some snow skills training.  Blake led the team as they practice snow anchor placements, self arrest, and climbing with a running belay. On Sunday they headed directly up the couloir, placing snow pickets and rock pro along the way up. 

"Despite the low snow levels this year, conditions allowed for solid crampon placements and enjoyable climbing. A few pitches of rappelling and downclimbing followed by a hasty retreat to the trailhead left us at our car just before dark."  -Kito

As some of you may know, Sierra peaks this time of year can often bring unpredictable weather, hail, thunder, lightening and wind and it can come in very fast.  Always have a Plan B and maybe C or D just in case you need to bail off a route due to weather.  As you can see from the photos, they were able to follow Plan A all the way!

Nice work guys!  Thank you Kito for the write up and Kito and Blake for the photos.