6. Tech Skills

Technical Rescue Systems 


In many backcountry wilderness SAR operations, the lost persons have some sort of injury or condition that prevents them from coming out of the backcountry under their own power. In the situation where the patient is injured and requires evacuation through rough terrain, technical rope systems are needed to provide the safety, leverage and/or friction needed to complete the operation. In this class, we teach the candidates the proper knots, harnesses and rigging techniques so they can assist in a low-angle or high-angle technical rescue operation. Candidates will also learn basic rappeling techniques used to safely access steep terrain in search operations.


Full weekend course, with lectures and outdoor activities, including overnight camping. (20 hours)

Skills emphasized:

  • Knots and harnesses
  • raising systems
  • lowering systems
  • litter packaging & rigging
  • rope care & maintenance
  • rappelling techniques


  1. Outdoor Skills
  2. Introduction to Wilderness Navigation
  3. Standard First Aid/CPR
  4. SAR Tactics

Required Gear:

  1. Everyone needs to bring a pair of leather palmed gloves, they are required for rappelling. All leather is preferred. Any kind of glove with a nylon palm won't do, they melt under friction.
  2. If you're a climber, bring your climbing helmet. We have loaners.
This is a special training weekend for us for a number of reasons...
  1. New Candidates will be sworn in as DSW workers.
  2. Greg Smith, OES regional coordinator will join us for dinner and the conduct swear in
  3. Speaking of dinner- the Point Bointa YMCA will be serving us dinner in their dining room just below Battery Wallace training area. This is the reason for the slight extra cost...instead of spending $10-20 on Mountain house freeze dried we all will hand over a couple bucks to the Y. More details and payment button on this below. Please provide payment if you are attending dinner.
  4. This is the one opportunity to invite a interested family member or partner that wants to see what this training is all about. They'll appreciate actually seeing  who you're hanging out with all these weekends! They are welcome to come to watch training on Saturday and then join us for dinner if they wish. If they are going to join us for dinner, just pay the $20 fee and give us their name so we know they are coming and the Y can have a accurate head count.
If you have any special dietary restrictions, put that in the comment field in the attendance form below.

Current Members- you all know this training is a blast and a fantastic location...it's also really important to refresh these skills...mistakes here can cause major hurts. Please join us to refresh your skills and have dinner to meet the new candidates. Use the sign up page to let me know you're coming!

Time, Date and Location: Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA)

Start time: Saturday, February 10th, 8:30 AM at Battery Wallace #2

  1. CampingThanks to our friends at the National Park Service We'll be camping at the Kirby Cove camping area, which is closed this time of year. NPS is providing us special access.
  2. Tech skills- We'll be using Battery Wallace #2 and the surrounding area for training on Saturday. Sunday we'll use Kirby Cove for training.
  3. Saturday DSW swear in dinner- This will be at the YMCA right below Battery Wallace.

Training Cal-ESAR.org

Confirm you are attending class if you haven't already responded to the text message.

Tech Skills weekend confirmation

Disaster Service Worker dinner- Approximately 5:30-6:00. (confirmed on Wednesday training call)

Immediately after training at Battery Wallace we'll be headed downhill to the Point Bonita YMCA dining hall where we'll have dinner indoors provided by the YMCA. After dinner Greg Smith, OES coordinator for Norcal, will talk to us about what goes on 'behind the curtain' from the time a mutual aid request is received by OES until calls are made to SAR units. At the end of the conversation Greg will administer the DSW oath to all the new candidates. 

This is a special event that the unit partially subsidizes, but has a small extra cost...
  • $10 for candidates and training staff. (We think that any candidate would spend about $10 on a Mt. House dinner so cost should be a wash)
  • $20 for current members-  current members have not paid training fees so close to full cost is passed on to you.
  • $20 for guest- Use the member option for payment and provide their name so we know who's coming.
Swear in dinner payment- Please use the drop down to select the correct payment type.

Resources and References

Photo Gallery- 2016 class... more photos here (thanks to Danielle)


Send questions and inquiries about this course to training@cal-esar.org