Navigation Training Part 2

On Saturday April 12th, IMSARU members spent another day in the field working on navigation skills.  This time around we were looking to simulate an actual search callout.  Basecamp for equipment and communication management was established at the trailhead for Castle Rock outside Horseshoe Bend.  We have been working to better utilize our mapping software as a tool to upload team assignments to GPS IMG_1076units, so that process was emphasized in today’s training.  Each of four teams was given a unique route to follow out of basecamp.  Upon reaching the end of their assigned route, teams were then asked by our OL for the day to proceed to a new point using only map and compass.  Our assigned routes and map points were well distributed throughout the steep hillsides in the Castle Rock area giving us plenty of feedback on our current fitness level as well as testing our ability to navigate.

Navigation Training – MARCH 15, 2014

Chris Brookman took the reins for our navigation training this spring, combining GPS with map and NavTrainingcompass into a two-part course spread over our March and April SAR training dates. With a classroom session completed on Tuesday night, approximately 20 IMSARU members headed to the field in the Highlands Hollow area on Saturday morning. Chris laid out several different courses in this in-town area that is a bit more confined than our usual search environment, allowing for a multi-leg orienteering course testing basic navigational skills. This was a first-time learning experience for some, while others used the day as a refresher. The orienteering course covered reading and understanding map features for navigation, GPS setup for various combinations of coordinate systems and datums, GPS navigation to a coordinate location, taking a compass bearing, and walking a specified compass heading. Next month’s training will build on these basic skills as well as pulling everything together in a simulated search environment.

Tracker Training

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.

Tech Team Field Training

Tech-BelayThe 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.

Winter overnight trip a success

Winter_overnight_tripAll 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.