Wells Gray SAR hosts rope rescue course

Over 40 participants from across the southern Interior gathered in Clearwater April 24-26

Participants in a rope rescue course put on recently by Wells Gray Search and Rescue prepare to be lowered over a cliff near Blackpool.

Participants in a rope rescue course put on recently by Wells Gray Search and Rescue prepare to be lowered over a cliff near Blackpool.

Over 40 participants from across the southern Interior gathered in Clearwater April 24-26, along with seven provincially qualified instructors, to practice rope rescue techniques.

Known as SIRE — Southern Interior Rope Exercise, this was the second time that this biennial event has been organized and hosted by the volunteers of our local Wells Gray Search and Rescue team.

Instructors at the event included Ryan McLarty from Clearwater, Ken Gallant from Cranbrook, Robin Beech from Rossland, Trent Blair from Prince George, Scott Larsen from Courtenay, plus Phil Whitfield and Don Torry, both from Kamloops.

Participants came from South Cariboo SAR (100 Mile House), Kamloops SAR, Osoyoos/Oliver SAR, Penticton SAR, Prince George SAR, Robson Valley SAR (McBride), Rossland and District SAR and Vernon SAR along with 10 members of Wells Gray SAR.

In addition to learning new techniques and being introduced to some of the new equipment in the field of rope rescue, participants were able to log some of the 20 hours of annual practice with an instructor required to maintain certification in this search and rescue skill.

The weekend began with a Friday evening social and check-in, followed by two days of exercises on the cliffs in the Blackpool area and a catered dinner Saturday evening.

Team leaders, team members and prospective team members were given a number of cliff, high angle or steep slope problems to solve involving a subject in a stretcher.

Both participants and instructors were overwhelmingly positive about the food, accommodation and facilities including the practice site in Blackpool and are looking forward to coming back in 2017.