Thirteen members worked indoors on tracking skills on the evening of February 6th and another nine members did the same exercises on Saturday, February 8th with the addition of an impromptu outdoor challenge in the fresh snow and drizzle. Both groups practiced recognition of footwear types and drawing footprints, as well as matching vocabulary terms from the JHPTS glossary and a brief exercise in reading a short line of sign.
The tech team gathered on a plateau above Highway 21 near Grimes Creek for training on Sunday, February 23. Emphasis for this day was on building and operating the belay system. Seven current members of the tech team at the Technician and Specialist levels got a chance to practice belay system fundamentals while also instructing four prospective tech team members. The team built a full system, allowing several iterations of lowering/raising a single rescuer load, and giving everyone the opportunity to work on various parts of the system.
All IMSARU members interested in deploying to the field in winter are required to spend a night out before being winter certified. To meet that requirement, twenty IMSARU members journeyed about a mile up the road from the parking lot to Sunset Peak in Boise County to spend the night. Ten of those folks were out for their first winter over-nighter with IMSARU. Fears of insufficient snow depth as recently as the end of January were unfounded, as February has been kind, nearly doubling the snowpack at the training site. In fact, we found enough snow to render quinzee huts unnecessary. A variety of shelters were employed, including a simple uncovered trench with tube tent (spartan approach), covered trenches, and standard snow caves. Everyone looked pretty good in the morning, so we’ll use that observation to qualify the training as a success. Tune in to the March-April newsletter for more details.
After building a highline accross the river, the team was able to manuver the tow cable to the vehicle and get the strap attached.