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How The Pros Do It In Alaska
So I've been known to kill an hour or two in the evening by plugging into the Idiot Box. In the summertime my wife and I watch SF Giants games almost exclusively. After baseball season is over, my TV time plummets seeing as how I don't really care too much about basketball or football. This is also the time of year when my wife asserts her remote control alpha status. Love It Or List on HGTV or Real Housebeasts usually becomes the default. Exit stage left for me.
One of the shows that Sarah and I do watch together, though, is Coast Guard Alaska on the Weather Channel. This show is a great way to see how the pros handle SAR missions in one of the roughest areas on the planet. It's also a great way to quiz yourself on your own preparedness. Scene management, patient assessment, treatment, packaging and helicopter protocols are just a few of the topics covered in most every episode. When you hear the mission briefing, ask yourself: How would I prepare? What might I expect on scene? What resources will I need? Based upon what I know about their subject (age, gender, condition, MOI) what would you do once on scene?
This obviously does not replace actual training with the team but it's a great way to get your SAR on from the comfort of your own couch and compare your decisions with people who do this for a living and are some of the best on the planet at what they do.
USCG Rescue Swimmer Fun Fact
Standard operating procedure for rescue swimmers entering the water at night, during poor visibility or when there is debris in the water, is via hoist. Due to the accumulation of static electricity during flight, when the rescue swimmer contacts the water they are shocked every time.
Because swimming in a stormy Bering Sea at night isn't gnarly enough.
A Busy Sunday Afternoon
It was an action packed day for the team on Sunday, October 27th. The day began with a training in the Castle Peak neighborhood where the infamous Sir Bernie of Mellor led the troops into the field, waxing eloquent on such topics and route finding, navigation and search history in the area. A few hours into the training a call out was issued for a lost motorcyclist with a broken leg in Rubicon Trail area. Team members left the field as quickly as possible and drove to the Barker Pass area. Team members began searching but soon learned that the effort had been called off. Apparently the motorcyclist had mistakenly activated his PLB. Like ten times. No one seems to know where the broken leg report originated.
At around this same time pagers went off again, requesting that team members respond to the Shirley Canyon area for two lost elderly hikers. Two motorcyclist headed up the access roads of SV post haste, while ground teams headed up the Shirley Canyon trail. A TNSAR team member was able to make cell contact with the MPs and skillfully talked them through accessing the GPS in their phone and dropping a pin on their location and texting their location to searchers. The ground teams plugged in these coordinates and the hikers were found a short time later. A little cold and scared but ever grateful for the searchers' arrival
November 9th (Sunday) -- Placer County Helicopter Skills
Where: Tahoe XC
When: 8:00am Team Garage; 8:30am
Contact: Scott Meyer (use current callout list for phone #)
Scott will be headlining a day of coordination skills with the Placer County sheriff's including but not limited to: long lining, lifting and moving equipment, helicopter safety and protocol. Come out for what is sure to be an enlightening day.
December 2nd (Monday) -- 18th Annual Winter Sports Injury Symposium
When: 3:00pm Team Garage
Contact: Jeff DeVries (use current callout list for phone #)
Registration is now open for the annual Winter Sports Injury Symposium brought to you by Tahoe Forest Health System. Preregister at: https://secure.acceptiva.com/?cst=b8d6a9 The team will reimburse you the $25 registration fee that night.
January 5th (Sunday) -- Pacific Crest Ski Tour
Where: Coldstream Canyon/Deep Creek
When: 8:00am Team Garage
Contact: Sara Carbonari (use current callout list for phone #)
Join Sara for a solid day in a popular backcountry area that sees a lot of use. The plan is to ski in Coldstream Canyon up to the Pacific Crest and down into Deep Creek. Navigation, avalanche skills and hopefully deep powder turns will be on the menu for what is sure to be a fantastic day!
Tahoe Mountain Sports Pro Night
Dave Polivy has been nice enough to extend great deals to us once again this year. Come on out on December 3rd at 5PM to take advantage of killer deals on the newest 13/14 winter gear. Anybody with an OES card can take advantage of this opportunity.
Community Avalanche Safety Seminar
Come on out to Alpenglow Sports on November 7th at 7PM to refresh your avalanche safety skills. This is the perfect time of year to get ready for the upcoming winter search season. Read through your favorite avy text, get in some beacon practice and come out to the shop on the seventh for what is sure to be a valuable and informative event. Check out this link for more details: https://www.facebook.com/events/230595623769396/?ref=22
Another Great Alpenglow Event
Brendan and the crew are putting another great event. This one is a few months out but it promises to be a blast. The Alpenglow Winter Sports Mountain Festival is a two week human powered winter sports festival focusing on nordic and backcountry skiing. Dates are from February 14th to March 1st. Stay tuned for more details.
Shameless Non-Profit Plug
This fall I did a fair amount of running up in the Lakes Basin near Graeagle. No really big dramatic peaks up there but what it lacks in topography, it makes up for with an awesome trail network and friendly locals. (Amazing craft beer at the Brewing Lair doesn't hurt either.)
The Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship http://www.sierratrails.org/ is largely responsible for this top notch trail system and welcoming vibe. This is a really passionate, fun group of people that take their local trails very seriously. They maintain a full time trail crew, all of whom are Sierra and Plumas county residents, and have donated approximately 30,000 hours of labor to the Plumas and Tahoe National Forests. I can't say enough about them so check 'em out on the web and go for a hike or bike ride up there when you get the chance. You won't regret it!
One Last Item
A friendly reminder to start thinking about which school you're going to volunteer at for our Winter Aware programs. Teaching our community's kids how to travel safely in the backcountry is at the core of our mission and it's imperative that everyone participate. We will have sign up sheets ready for you at the meeting on Monday. Thanks in advance for your help.