Vertical (cliff) Evacuation
Two "litter attendant" rescuers, the litter, and litter-borne patient
are tied into two lowering ropes.
If the cliff angle is vertical or less,
the litter bearers pull the litter away from the rock and "walk" down
the cliff as the ropes are lowered from above. If the cliff angle is overhanging, the litter attendants dangle from the lowering ropes.
Scree (steep hill) Evacuation
The litter-borne patient is placed in alignment with the fall line, with a lowering (belay) rope tied to the head end of the litter. Litter bearers on each side of the litter lift the litter off the ground and lean against the tension of the lowering rope. As the belayer lowers the rope, the litter bearers pull against the rope and carry the litter down hill. See also What is a scree evacuation?"
Low Angle Rock Evacuation
Sometimes, a cliff is not steep enough for a
two rope vertical evacuation, but is too steep for a typical scree evacuation.
Between 3 or 4 litter bearers tie into the litter and
lift the litter off the rock while the litter is lowered from above with one rope.
The two ropes are attached to the litter in the photo to enable a traversing maneuver.
Colorado leads the U.S. in avalanche fatalities, although avalanche
accidents are unusual in Boulder County. To perform
avalanche rescues we use specialized
equipment such as transceivers, probe poles, and shovels, .
High Angle Snow
Rescues on snow involve specialized equipment and skills. Equipment
may include snow pickets, ice screws, ice axes, and crampons.
High angle snow evacuations may occur almost any time of year as
some alpine areas have snow cover year round.
People are reported as 'over due,' for many reasons. The subjects
may be lost, injured, or simply late. For those that
don't show up on their own, we use search techniques including hasty
searches of high probability areas, line searches, and tracking. We
also work with search dogs from other organizations. We track search efforts
with GPS enabled computer mapping.
Stuck Climber Rescue
Some of our rescues involve people that get stuck climbing on rocks.
These may be climbers that get stuck lowering onto a knot or scramblers who are
able to climb up, but not back down. We use a
variety of rope techniques to bring them down safely.
Downed Aircraft Location
Aircraft in the U.S. are required to carry a sudden deceleration activated Emergency
Locator Transponder (ELT). In the event of a crash, the ELT usually activates.
To find a transmitting ELT, we use our radio direction finding equipment.
Direction finding equipment consists of radio
receivers and custom designed antennas.
When the terrain is flat enough, we use a trail carry
technique. On a trail carry we will often use our wheel, a
custom framed, low pressure ATV tire that we attach to the bottom of the litter.
The wheel makes a smooth ride and is less work for the rescuers.
Large Incident Mission Management
When large missions occur we use the
Incident Command System (ICS)
to organize our response. The most common large search and rescue
incident is a large search, which may last for several days and
involve hundreds of rescuers. The largest wilderness search to date in Boulder
County was the search for Lance Hering August 30 - September 3, 2006.