Friday, January 25, 2013

Ouray Ice Fest

Every year the Ouray Ice Fest takes place in the scenic, mining, mountain town of Ouray, CO.  Nestled in the San Juans, just getting there in winter can be an adventure, but once you arrive you are guaranteed a good time.  Outdoor enthusiasts from all over come to watch and participate in some great ice climbing at the Ouray ice park and then recover from bad cases of the screaming barfies at the Ouray Brewery.  This year, once again, a group of eager BAMRUvians attended the ice fest to work on their ice climbing skills and rub shoulders with Conrad Anker.     

If you're thinking about going in 2014, or would like to try your hand at ice climbing (or other adventures) check out San Juan Mountain Guides, a guiding company run by a classmate of mine on a NOLS India Mountaineering course in 1999!  In the Bay Area you can hook up with several guides in the Sierras.  SMI, SMC, SMG or the AAI.  The AAC also generally holds an ice climbing weekend in Coldstream Canyon every January.  Enjoy and climb safe!
BAMRU with Conrad Anker

Eszter on Ice

Chris on Ice

Monday, January 21, 2013

2013: Off to Great Start!

On Monday, January 14th, BAMRU held the first meeting of 2013.  Thanks to our recruiting officer, Rachel Farrand, we had over 30 guests in attendance!  We are all looking forward to getting to know the 2013 cohort.

Other highlights of the meeting included the first promotions of the year:

BAMRU welcomed two new trainees to the team.  Craig Taylor and Chris Nielsen.  Craig brings his extensive outdoor experience to the team, including time spent on Denali.  Chris has a background as wild-land firefighter and an EMT.

Woody installing motor retention hardware in a rocket
Woody Hoburg who has been with BAMRU for two years and with Yosemite Search and Rescue (YOSAR) for two seasons, was promoted to field member and is now one of the teams newest OL's (Operations Leader).  Woody is an aerospace engineer working on a PhD in electrical engineering and computer science. His extensive skill and knowledge set are invaluable to the team.

Chris K. climbing in Ouray during
the ice fest earlier this month

Chris Kantarjiev, BAMRU's training officer, was promoted to Technical Member which means that he has completed all of the skills in the three disciplines of search skills, technical rock, and snow and ice.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Hope you all had a wonderful first week of this new year!  As we forge ahead into 2013 we'd like to take a moment to reflect on 2012.  

We made some great headway in fundraising and towards our goal of buying a new truck, but we still have a ways to go!!  You can donate here:

In 2012 we welcomed seven new trainees to the team, logged 2,305 hours in the field responding to 29 callouts, 6,435 hours on trainings, and 884 hours at meetings.  We received and responded to the 30th callout of the year on New Year's Eve.  

In total, BAMRU logged 10,370.5 volunteer hours.  That's 10,370 hours spent away from home, families, and warm beds doing a job that we love to do and 10,370 hours supporting each other through difficult searches, brainstorming sessions, long trainings and some good times thrown in for good measure.  

While every member of our team is extremely valued, every year a handful are recognized for their outstanding service.  This year BAMRU recognized the following members:

Member of the year: Chris Kantarjiev 

The annual Member of the Year award is presented to the BAMRU member who through actions, attitude, creativity, and commitment provides the greatest support and enhancement to BAMRU's ability to perform its public-service mission. This year, we highlight the member who devised and instituted a new training philosophy focused on the needs of trainee members to complete their certifications; an innovative training portfolio that creates more opportunity for senior members to enhance their skills; the "endorsement" mechanism to recognize progress towards the rank of rescue member; a reworked schedule; and inspiring a culture of safety, achievement, and fun. 

It's hard to sum up what Chris has done for our team.  His title is "Training Officer", but he's also a mentor, an organizer, and someone who has his finger on the pulse of the team and its members.  This year he was promoted to technical member, logged a total of 516 hours working for the team, and that's not including all of the hours spent being responsive to endless emails and questions from those of us looking for guidance.  The entire team is eternally grateful for his service.  

Searcher of the year: Kito Berg-Taylor

The annual Searcher of the Year award is presented to the BAMRU member who makes the greatest direct contribution to BAMRU's search and rescue operations. It is based on attendance at call-outs, participation in overnight and multi-day operations, and commitment in the field. 

In 2012 it was notable that half a dozen BAMRU member logged more that 125 hours in SAR operations. However, one individual stood out. By participating in 18 search and rescue operations, including several multi-day commitments, with a distinctive combination of energy, determination, and good cheer.

Kito is the type of searcher that seems to never tire.  Somehow he manages to get through the toughest assignments on barely any sleep and still be a pillar of strength for his teammates.  Kito has just recently deployed for boot camp and will begin training to become a field medic for the U.S. Army.  We wish Kito all the best on his new path and a safe return home.  

Recognition for Service:  

Ben Yaffe: For service as Operations Officer
Will Gilmore: For service as the BAMRU Secretary
John Mandish: For service as the Recruiting Officer
Blake Gleason: For “High hours, but more important, high initiative, and high frontline leadership in training and developing people."
Abi Fitzgerald: "For ongoing efforts to highlight BAMRU’s presence in the social media and ongoing cultivation of BAMRU camaraderie."
Rachel Farrand: "For exceptional dedication and for opening her home to the holiday party this year."

Happy 2013 everyone!

Contributors:  John Chang- Award descriptions and summary, Rachel Allen- Log of unit hours