The Iron Fist of Preparation...

The Iron Fist of Preparation...

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.

Monday, March 19, 2012

How To Give Back if You Can’t Afford The Course Donation:

As a 501(c)(3) public benefit organization devoted to education, our goal is to not refuse our courses to any interested participants. If you wish to participate in our trainings, please do.

If you cannot afford to make the recommended donation for our courses, that is your prerogative. We will not make any inquiries into your financial situation or ask you to justify your stance in not making the recommended donations.

Having said this, the Technical Rescue Instruction Project does have operating costs that must be met in order to insure the success of our mission, which is to increase public safety through education in technical rescue. In order to balance our operating costs with our endeavors to teach anyone willing to learn, we have gone through the additional steps of filing as a tax exempt nonprofit public benefit corporation. As such we are able to reduce our operating costs through tax exemption, as well as gain access to fundraising through tax deductible donations from our public supporters.

Below is a list of possible ways to give back to t.r.i.p. besides the direct payment of our courses’ operating costs:
  • ·         Get friends and family to donate. Donors referred by you will have the option to label their donations as such and their donations will result in credits to go towards your courses.
  • ·         Sell our T-shirts. They are free with a $30 donation.  T-shirt purchasers will receive a T-shirt and a tax deductible receipt of $20 for their contribution beyond the cost of the shirt. The seller will have a $20 dollar credit to go towards their next course, or the course they just received.
  • ·         Propose a fund raising activity to t.r.i.p. to assist in the funding of your group’s participation in our programs.

The new office is the old one... This makes me smile.

Why Non-Profit?

Guide services have been offering climbing self rescue courses for years, yet very few friends of mine that guide have claimed to get consistent work teaching these courses.
My hypothesis on why guided rescue courses haven't been historically popular amongst the recreational public is multifaceted, primarily hinging on the two variables of cost and  interest.

Our decision to go through the additional steps of filing for tax exemption was made for the following reasons:
  •  Becoming a non-profit grants us the opportunity to raise funds through tax deductible donations, which will then enable us to reduce the cost of our courses, while still being able to afford high quality instructors.
  • Tax-Exemption will allow us to further reduce our operating costs.
  • By shifting the perspective of rescue instruction as a business to rescue instruction as a charitable cause, hopefully we can increase public awareness, and provide a venue for the public to get involved.
  • Rescue preparation is a responsibility. You may save your partners life with the skills learned through our courses.
  • An educated public on rescue considerations will prevent many accidents, as well as reduce the strain on our land managers through less dependence on their rescue resources. Most Search and Rescue Operations are due to uneducated land users.
  • As a non-profit, we can offer resources for fundraising to people who wish to take our courses and give back to the organization, but can't afford our requested donations to cover the operating costs. We are working on several ways to assist these individuals, but we will not withhold training to those that wish to learn, as long as we can still feed ourselves. 
  • As climbers, we have a pool of knowledgeable rescuers and people with the aptitude to learn rescue very quickly. With this human resource and the right strategy, we could change the way rescues are done nationwide in various public safety applications.
  • As a manager of rescue businesses in the for-profit sector, many clients that I had wished to teach (predominately fire departments and SAR groups) could not afford our courses. Their budgets prevented the disbursement of knowledge that my clients in the energy sects had access to. I would like to work together with the other businesses out there to gain access to grants so that we can more freely train those responsible for our public safety.
What T.R.I.P. Is Not...
  • T.R.I.P. is not a for-profit business. All of the public support we receive goes directly into the provision of our rescue courses and workshops. This means that no members of our organization receive any financial benefit beyond payment for services rendered to the organization with the execution of its mission.
  • T.R.I.P. is not competing with guide services. In our quest to deliver quality trainings to the public in various disciplines, T.R.I.P. intends to partner with existing and trusted guiding companies to help increase the amount of technical rescue instruction provided nationwide. Our goal is to create a platform through marketing and public education to increase interest in this vital topic.
  • T.R.I.P. is not a rigid organization. If you have an idea for a possible way to contribute to our cause, please contact us at, or post directly on this blog.

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.