'Winter is coming.' — The Stark motto from TV series Games of Thrones.
With the end of summer fast approaching, the wintering search and rescue (SAR) team have been busy completing their technical training, when and where the weather will permit.
With two excursions to Trajer Ridge under our harnesses, we have been building and honing the skills required to perform actual rescues, such as ice and rock anchoring, rope and pulley systems, along with fieldcraft, stretcher use and patient care.
That is the rescue portion of ‘search and rescue'. While one may be tempted to glorify this segment (it’s a lot of fun!), the search component of SAR is as (if not more) important, since you cannot rescue someone unless you can find them. For searching we have conducted many scenarios and training sessions which have culminated in a simulated a SAR event in the local area, Sentinel Knoll.
Sentinell Knoll is not far from station and is a likely place for the exact sort of scenario to occur, someone out for a walk falls and breaks a leg. Sounds simple enough, but in Antarctica nothing is ever simple! We call that the ‘A factor!' Just locating someone a short distance away can be a real drama.
After running through the entire scenario from start to finish, you can appreciate just how difficult a real SAR can be, especially in trying conditions. All in all, it was a great training day and we successfully rescued an errant expeditioner down a rock face.
Safely home in time for a semi–late dinner!