Saturday, September 20, 2008

[trip] NCRC Vertical Self-Rescue / Dynamited Cave

Many thanks to both John Punches and Aaron Stavens for teaching the excellent NCRC Vertical Self-Rescue course at Trout Lake this past weekend.

When the class met on Saturday morning, there were several ropes rigged high into tall doug-firs, which we used to practice the basics of changeovers, passing knots, and downclimbing. Before long, we were practicing climbing counterbalances, diminishing-loop counterbalances, assisted climbing, basic haul systems, and even single-rope pick-offs. We then headed to some beautiful nearby cliffs to put our new skills into practice.

Practicing vertical skills in the trees around camp.

Ralph rappels some nearby cliffs to investigate rigging options.

Finally, on Sunday, we headed into Dynamited Cave and split into two groups, tackling real-world rigging and implementing various counterbalance and haul systems in the less-than-ideal situations that are found underground. Though we were 15 people coming into the course with widely varying experience and skills, every person walked away from the weekend as a more competent vertical caver, and I believe everyone had a great time in the process.

Ralph assists an "injured" Albert up a pit.

JC guides Sarah while she is hauled from above.

See also: photos from NCRC Vertical Self-Rescue course

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