Winter 24 Hour Pack Test - Using only what you'd normally carry on a SAR mission, we tromp off into the snow-filled forest to train and practice the skills needed to safely spend the night...

Silver Star SAR was also conducting winter training with their snowmobiles and snowcat. A couple of them agreed to spend the night in their command post to serve as Base Camp for us.

Such joint training is invaluable, and pays high dividends on missions.

We were also fortunate to have a USAF Pararescuman (PJ) from the 304th Rescue Squadron join us.

Two 'search teams' were given land-nav assignments, while some of us, including the PJ, worked on back country skills demonstrations. Here's the start of a fir bough shelter.

My Busse Fusion Steel Heart (Heavy) is posing for this shot.

The PJ checks out the shelter construction techniques, which used only the boughs; no cord, nails or any other fasteners were employed.

Having the expertise of one of the most highly trained rescuers in the world was an outstanding addition to this training evolution!

Wind River SAR volunteer Joe Deluz checks out the interior of the shelter.

A properly constructed thermal shelter can truly be a life-saver; protecting you from the wet and cold environment. The Pacific Northwest can be dangerous because of the weather, but the landscape is repleat with resources whick enable you to survive with the approprate skills and modest tools.

A study fixed blade knife being one of the most important. Joe carries a Swamp Rat 'Camp Tramp' for SAR.

While not a member of Wind River SAR, Justin (BruceW on the fourms) has been out-and-about with us enough to fit in well. Here he gets a fire going...
... as the PJ works with Mike Dunn (Dunner) gathering and preparing fire wood. Here you can see him sporting my Swamp Rat 'Ratweiler' which he seemed fairly impressed with...

Justing (above) is also carrying a Ratweiler.

Dunner splits fire wood with his Ratweiler - having the right tool for the right job is key, as is teamwork!
Gearing up for air ops; helmets on tight, goggles, hearing protection, gloves, and everything battened down securely.

The radio headset is just one of the many very cool 'toys' the PJ's deploy in the field to get their difficult job of combat rescue done. It is fortunate indeed that they are available for civilian SAR as well.

In the fading daylight, a US Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer is lowered from a hovering JayHawk out of Coast Guard Group Astoria.

Sorry for the blurred picture, but in the intense rotor wash its rather difficult to hold anything steady!

Now 'Gina' is lowered in the rescue basket. She is a USCG Air Crew we've worked with before.

Establishing links with other rescue resources is something we are always working to do.

In fact, the pilot flying in the right seat of the JayHawk, Matt Breckle, is a former member of Wind River SAR...!

Dunner looks on as operations continue. The Rescue Swimmer 'reflects' in the background.

Working air ops in the winter can be challenging, it gets VERY cold in the rotor wash, and snow shoes tend to blow about as well...

Getting ready to hike out in the morning, a light dusting of fresh snow underlines the "winter" part of this exercise. No tent, no sleeping bag; no problem.

Good times and great training are a wonderful combination!

Many thanks to all who participated.

(Off to B&G 25)

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