The Iron Fist of Preparation...

The Iron Fist of Preparation...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sorry for our long online absence from this blog... We've been off taking care of business and doing what matters most (teaching in the field). To prove it, here are some photos from our latest course, with Team Rubicon Region 9.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

What is T.R.I.P.?
  • T.R.I.P. is an acronym. It stands for the Technical Rescue Instruction Project. It is a 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation devoted to education. Our mission is to increase public safety through the provision of technical rescue instruction.
  • T.R.I.P. is a community devoted to increasing public safety. If you are interested in instructing for T.R.I.P. or have an area of rescue expertise and wish to collaborate in an attempt to gain funds and grants for your instructional projects, email me at
  • T.R.I.P. is an idea that I had a few years ago, but have just recently decided to pull the trigger on. Its an idea that if we work together as a group of individuals with specialized knowledge and experiences, not only can we ensure the safe and responsible growth of our outdoor pursuits as they become more popular, but we can also provide the most current and innovative rescue techniques to public safety organizations nationwide. 
  • T.R.I.P. is a collaborative effort to pull the nations experts in technical rescue together in order to create a venue for the growth of our field and a corporate entity capable of raising funds and gaining grants in order to accomplish our mission. Our mission is to increase public safety through more widespread disbursement of rescue knowledge.
  • T.R.I.P. is a group of people that wish to use their talents to benefit the public.
Thank you for reading this post and following this Blog,

Scott Archibald
Managing Director
Technical Rescue Instruction Project, Inc.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Let Me Tell Ya Somethin’ For Free: Why and How this is going to work…

During the past week as more people have heard about T.R.I.P. and expressed interest in our mission, the same questions seem to arise in almost every conversation:

“It’s a great idea… Why are you doing this? How are you going to do it? What is the end goal?

I’ll field this inquiry by beginning an explanation of why we have our vision, what our vision is,  and how we will do this, a breakdown of our strategy for our first mission.

As an organization of individuals, we at T.R.I.P. believe in the inherent value of self- reliance. 

Self-reliance is such a fundamental value in most climber's lives, that developing the ability to rescue oneself, as well as make a more informed assumption of risk almost seems to need little justification.

Not only is our goal to increase safety, but we also strive to enable the boldness that comes with the confidence fostered by true self-reliance... In the mountains, in urban rescue response, in our lives.

Self-reliance and individual competence is at the heart of every great team, and at the heart of everything T.R.I.P. strives to accomplish. 

We believe self-reliance strikes a chord in our audience (you) as well, and that is why this will work.


T.R.I.P. has three primary goals, sequential by nature. They follow:
  1. We are going to increase technical (and self) rescue competence within the recreational climbing community.
  2. We will work with municipalities to increase the amount of available training for public safety officers nationwide, with the goal of increasing professional rescuer competence within each individual, in order to enhance rescue response efficiency.
  3. We will work with organizations and communities in developing countries to provide technical rescue training and assistance to help make them less dependent on international support in disaster situations.
Strategy: Mission 1: Recreational Climbers

Perhaps the most challenging of the T.R.I.P. objectives is the first phase of our operation. Many climbers have expressed hints of skepticism in the ease of convincing recreational climbers to take time out of their climbing to learn some rescue techniques.

In response to this skepticism, I have to agree. Gaining the interest of the climbing community is going to be a challenge, and one that I do not intend to tackle on my own.

Our strategy focuses on building awareness for the need to seek rescue instruction. We will do this through marketing, influence, and incentive.


Our marketing will deal with heavy amounts of networking through social media, as well as the development of high quality media products designed to illustrate the complexity of many rescue scenarios. These media products will be informative and instructional, but more importantly they will tie the skills learned in our courses back to real life situations.

After watching our videos, most climbers will realize the need to get out and practice these skills. The quality of these products and the caliber of climbing that will be captured through the eyes of exceptionally talented videographers will enhance their instructional value as well as entertain the audience. 


Of course, all the marketing in the world is really just talk. Anybody can talk about their best intentions. Over time, without substance, marketing becomes just that. Talk.

Our influence must solidify the marketing and interest generated through our media. This means that there must be trainings… Everywhere.

In order to make this happen, T.R.I.P. must gain the respect and cooperation of the competent and respected members of virtually every climbing community. We need to win over those climbers that are in fact the hardest to teach because they are already highly regarded members of the mountain culture, and we need to let them know that T.R.I.P. is their organization as well.

This is a challenge I am comfortable taking head on. Yesterday we held our first course. One of the participants was a very qualified and talented climber that carried AMGA certifications, and has made a living in the professional rigging industry for quite some time.

Not only did we have a blast going through increasingly more complex rescue scenarios, but I was pleased to hear from our highly trained participants that the training they received exceeded their expectations. 

Our professional rigger/AMGA guide said that many of the scenarios covered were for situations he had not contemplated before, but were very feasible. He was glad to have spent the day with T.R.I.P., and said he learned a lot of new skills. Many of the skills he picked up, he hadn’t even realized he needed, but now he knows. He definitely sees a need for this organization in the climbing community, and not just for beginning climbers.  

That’s huge for T.R.I.P. because we just gained the respect of one critical member in our community…

And we just earned a right to his positive influence for the organization.

I will post his interview later on this blog.


And then there’s incentive… It gets the people going.

Back when I first thought of the concept behind T.R.I.P. I had two things on my mind regarding my career. I wanted to create a job for myself that I felt would make a positive difference in the world around me, and I wanted to be able to climb more.

I was getting burned-out that season on all the industrial settings I had been hanging out in, trying to earn my dollars. In that thought process, I concluded that I would gladly take a pay-cut to engineer a dream-job that would encompass those two lifestyle improvements.

And thus, in that moment (rather, moments) I became entrenched in what became my vision of the dream-job. Travel to climbing areas, interact with friends (old and new) and teach the things I know, which could save someone’s life.

It’s only natural that as we reach out to respected and competent members of the climbing community, the level of instruction delivered to those individuals will be of the intensity and pace well suited for instructor development. T.R.I.P. is in the process of completing the final details of its instructor compensation plan that will ultimately provide a job with the flexibility of becoming whatever the T.R.I.P. instructors choose to make it.

It will not be long before T.R.I.P. will be known as one of the premiere climber gigs, designed by a climber, for climbers.

We’re off to a good start, but don’t just wait and see.

For more details, drop me a line at

Thank you for reading this blog,
Scott Archibald
Managing Director
Technical Rescue Instruction Project, Inc.
P.S.   Stay posted for our Strategy on Mission 2: Public Safety Organizations

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Yosemite Rescue Film Precursor
A Brief Description of How Works:

As we wrap up the final details of our proposal and await the approval from the website to launch our Yosemite Rescue Film project, I think it may serve to everyone’s benefit to learn a little more about how this website works.

Kickstarter is a website through which creative projects seek funding through the sale of gifts.
  • These gifts have retail value once the project is completed, and the gifts are priced at that fair retail value or less.
  • The gifts are centered on the product that the project is creating, and often times add value to the project “backer” by offering a unique experience on top of the product involved.
  • In the case of the gifts we are offering, we are giving our supporters a chance to get involved and show their support in the organization from the very start. All of our gifts will include a special thanks with your name or business in the credits of our film.
Every Kickstarter project must be fully funded before its time expires or no money changes hands for the following reasons:
  • It's less risk for everyone. If a project needs X amount of dollars and the funding falls short of that, it frees the creators of liability to deliver the project on insufficient funds. The backers never paid the amount pledged, so life goes on and the creators try again.
  • It allows people to test concepts (or conditionally sell stuff) without risk. This is huge for us!
  • It motivates. If people want to see a project come to life, they're going to spread the word.
There are some website guidelines that must be mentioned here:
  • Kickstarter only allows the funding of projects. This means that there is a definitive start and end date, and there is a tangible product at the end of that project. In our case, we are not seeking funding for T.R.I.P. We are seeking funding for filming rescue techniques in Yosemite.
  • Kickstarter does not allow charity or cause funding. T.R.I.P. cannot propose to raise funds for teaching courses through this website. We can however raise funds for a rescue video that will help us in our mission, which is what we are doing.
  • Kickstarter does not allow the website to be used to develop safety products. While T.R.I.P. is in fact an organization devoted to increasing public safety, these rescue videos are not actually intended to replace hands-on instruction from a qualified rescue training professional. We make no claims that these videos alone will increase safety, therefore they are not safety products. They will just be some bad ass footage of doing rescues on some of the best stone in the world... that's all.
This website works based on success. The more hits and backers we get with our proposal, the more likely we are to get pushed to the front of the page and gain more support from the public.

Once I unleash the link to our kickstarter project, please…  Please share with everyone you know! And please contribute, at least the minimum gift amount please.

This is probably the single most important step we can take to ensure T.R.I.P. gets a healthy start to its mission.

I can't wait to share my vision of what we have in store for ya!

Thank you for reading this blog,

Scott Archibald
Managing Director
Technical Rescue Instruction Project, Inc.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Event: Owens River Gorge Rescue: This Weekend!

The Owens River Gorge Rescue Course is the first event in what will become our “Let Me Tell Ya Somethin’ For Free: Instructor Development Tour.”

The course will be free to any interested participants and will be structured to cover as many skills as we can within the participants’ competency levels. It will be set up similarly to how I have taught rope access courses in that there will be a series of stations going over individual skills. When combined, these skills will allow the participants to deal with just about any scenario.  

If you are interested in picking up work with T.R.I.P. or are curious about how to get into the rope access line of work, and can make it up to Bishop for some free rescue instruction, email us at:

Please include a bit of information regarding your climbing experience and any possible professional certifications or trainings you carry.

Time of course: 3/31/12-4/1/12… This weekend.
Available Spaces: 4
Location: Owens River Gorge
Cost: FREE

Friday, March 23, 2012

 The Situation #1:

You and your climbing partner just finished climbing a relatively straightforward multi pitch climb, and now you’re ready to descend. The length of the route wasn’t excessively long, and it had bolted rap anchors the whole way down. Nothing about this day seemed out of the ordinary.
Your partner goes on rappel and  gets about 60 ft below you, when all of a sudden a rock crashes down and strikes your partner on the head. She had backed her rappel up with an autobloc, so she is hanging on the ropes beneath you, unconscious.

The ropes are tensioned. You are at the anchor, and need to get down these tensioned lines, pick off your partner, descend to the next anchor, pull the ropes and continue down the route to where medical assistance may or may not be on its way, depending on your location and cell phone reception.

Do You know how:
  •  To pick off a casualty in descent?
  •  You would get out of this situation with 2 pieces of prusik cord on you?
  • You would do it with only 1 small piece of p-cord that you were planning on using for your autobloc backup?
  • You would manage this without any p-cord?
  •  To manage a casualty in the most efficient manner, through transitions on multi-pitch rappels?

How would your strategy change if:
  • Your partner were significantly larger than you?
  • Your partner did not back up the rappel and descended to the bottom of the rope’s stopper knots, well below the next rappel anchor?

If the answers to these questions don’t come to mind immediately, don’t feel ashamed, or even try to hide it. 

Recognize that there may be holes in your technical skills that can easily be remedied. 

The mission of the Technical Rescue Instruction Project is to help climbers recognize plausible circumstances in which they might not be prepared in their emergency response planning, and provide a venue for them to gain the necessary skills to potentially save lives.

If you would like to find out more about how you can get involved, email

Thank you for reading this blog,
Scott Archibald 
Managing Director
Technical Rescue Instruction Project, Inc.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Virtues of Self (rescue) Knowledge:

Looking back on my rock climbing career, it has become abundantly clear how my rescue background has influenced my climbing experience. I started doing both at the same time. In fact it was my volunteer days with the Southern Arizona Rescue Association that introduced me to my first climbing mentor, Jeff Mayhew.

My first day practicing going over the edge with a rescue litter ended with my first rock climb. I was 16. It was a small little 2 pitch 5.7 on Mt. Lemmon called “Slippery When Wet.” Somehow Jeff knew that the climbing thing would catch on with me, so rather than just taking me up the climb. He took the time to explain every aspect of what he was doing, including the physics of how camming devices work and proper anchor construction and rope management. I didn’t retain any of it.

The seed planted, however, and before I knew it, I had read all of John Long’s books in the How to series, and decided I was ready to go out and start learning the ropes.

My second climb ever was a lead of that same climb, with John Long’s book clipped onto the gear loop.

Around the same time, I went on my first rescue call-out. The mechanism of injury was a 60 foot ground fall… Climber. While threading the anchors at the top of a moderate sport climb, the patient’s belayer had taken him off belay. The climber leaned back, and well, he hit the ground.  My first rescue definitely gave me a bigger adrenaline rush than my first climbs. I walked in with Jeff and we were the first on-scene. Jeff is a paramedic and generally a good guy to have in your company, so it didn’t matter that I was a complete shit-show and had completely forgotten all of my recently acquired medical training.

The injury was relatively minor. In medical terms it sounds like the standard format. Potential compound tib/fib fracture with deformity. What this actually looked like to my unacquainted eyes, however, was two obvious bones sticking out, with the whole foot completely rotated 180 degrees, obvious bleeding, and very loud screaming. It was fortunate that Jeff was a paramedic because morphine did wonders for the guy’s morale, I got my hands wet and helped package the leg, and we carried him out in a basket. Life went on, and I got my first lesson on what happens when you make a mistake in climbing.

Lesson number 2 came that same year with a body recovery on another climb, also on Mt. Lemmon. To this day, I can’t make sense of what happened. The guy fell on a very easy pitch after a much more difficult crux pitch that was 5 number grades harder.

Needless to say my introduction to climbing was not one firmly rooted in denial of the assumed risks. Somehow, these lessons did not dissuade me from assuming these risks.

In fact, it was actually the exact opposite. As I gained more and more rescue experience, situations that I had been fearful of previously started to take shape as perfectly reasonable risks.

I used to dread the crux pitches on the climbs in Cochise Stronghold. They scared the shit out of me. This was mostly due to the fact that I had a tendency to bite off a bit more than I could chew, but it also hinged around my lack of understanding on the various methods of bailing. I would build up this pressure in my mind that we were on this wall with only one rope, which in my mind meant we couldn’t descend the route, and that the only way off the wall was to send the route. But in my lack of experience I had perfectly justifiable cause for doubting my ability to pull the crux moves, and the Stronghold was notoriously runout. Often the fear generated by the hole in my technical competence would make the climb seem much harder than it actually was. We’d always get through, but often times, it was epic.

The guy that changed all that was Pat O’Herron. He was a talented climber, for sure, and he taught me a lot of skills that certainly helped me along the way. But the most valuable thing I ever learned from Pat was how to bail in good style. Once I realized that climbing hard free moves with a ton of exposure way up on a wall didn’t have to be a do or die scenario every time you tie in, I could sleep the night before a climb. Once I could sleep, I could also think the next day. My grip could relax on the wall. Climbing was no longer about dreading the crux. I heard myself saying things like, “Let’s go check it out. If it’s too hard, we can always bail and try again later.”

The same effect happened once I realized I could probably visualize a rescue of my climbing partner just about anywhere on a climb. It was no longer the typical “well I’m sure I could get us out of this…” Suddenly I knew how I would get myself and my partner out of a tight spot. Once again, anxiety levels went down. Climbing difficulty went up.

It’s tough to say if boldness went up or down. In perception, I’d say that boldness went down due to the fact that everything started to seem more reasonable. In reality, the climbs we started doing got much more serious, despite the more casual feel.

I’m not a very talented climber by any means, but I do think that the growth of my technical knowledge has allowed me to climb closer to my potential, and have more fun along the way.

Thank you for reading this blog,
Scott Archibald
Managing Director
Technical Rescue Instruction Project, Inc.