August Training Session

We had a great time on the August training.

Gwynne was in charge of training this month, which covered map & compass and rappelling. The idea was to navigate without using trails or roads or GPS.

We navigated from Mc Gill campground, which is several miles below Nordic Base on Mt. Pinos, to John's Run at Second Meadow, down a hairy ridge and slope to a flowing waterfall. From there we had to rappel this waterfall and continue to navigate until we reached our destination - Pine Mt. Club.

We were in for a surprise. I thought the down climb to the waterfall would only be an hour and an half. Not! Try four and an half hours of nasty sticker bushes, stinging nettles, and steep loose rocks. With some great navigators, we made it and successfully rappelled down the waterfall.

What we learned:
• Helmets are a must on all of our training. As we were making our way down the steep slope, rocks were flying down. I felt good having my helmet on. If you don't have one, we are working to buy a bunch.

• The old ATC belay device doesn't work that well with small diameter rope. The new belay devices have teeth. We need to get away from the Figure 8 descending device, if they girth hitch on a small diameter rope, we may not get the knot out.

• We will do more rappelling until all of us can buzz safely down the rope in short order, while wearing a backpack.

• As much navigating as I do, I was still off from where I thought I was. Reading the terrain takes practice.

• We were practicing trying to locate ourselves on the map in less than 60 seconds.

• One of the tricks I had forgotten: When we plot our points on the map, we should write down the next bearing for each direction change and for when we come to land features on the map where we do a change of direction, that way we don't have to try to do it on the run.

• When we pick a leader for the navigation, we don't contradict him unless he leads us off a cliff; if a mistake is made, it makes the navigation more interesting.

I really enjoyed watching our team gel, it is just as important that our team work grows as does our proficiency with our skills.
Everyone along is doing a great job,
Mike St Clair

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Posted on August 14, 2012
Updated on August 14, 2012

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