All posts tagged appalachian

After sharing a bunch of stories from around the world, here are two rope stories from the general where Rescue 2 Training is based out of.


The first story is of a cave rescue out of Monroe County, WV. The victim was approximately 4000′ inside of the cave when he fell approximately ten feet and broke his leg.  A mere 8 hours and 75 members later, he was back outside of the cave and on the way to the hospital. A picture from one of the local news stations shows just how much rope work went into this rescue.

I wasn’t there, so I feel a little bad about Monday Morning Quarterbacking it, but… A picture is just a snapshot of one small moment in time, but from looking at the picture, it seems that there were a couple of missed opportunities to tighten up the rigging a little bit. For starters, the double overhand safeties on the 8’s seems like a bit overkill. Additionally, the bights on the 8’s are overly long. And if clearance is an issue, and I assume it is being in a cave, why not just tie direct to the litter bridle with a scaffold knot and get yourself an extra 1′ or more of additional space?  Those minor quibbles aside, to looks like it was a difficult rescue and that they had to construct a highline in a cave just to provide a high anchor point to pull him up.




Even closer to home is the report of a man who fell 75 feet down Sugarloaf mountain while hiking and then had a seizure. Being on the dividing line between two counties, both Frederick and Montgomery County units assisted with the helicopter evacuation flown by Maryland State Police. I’m not sure about Mont. Co, but I know for certain the the Frederick County ATR (Advanced Technical Rescue) team does perform regular drills with the MSP helicopters in order to perform on these types of calls without any confusion. If your agency has the potential to run extract calls with a helicopter, do you have any special training to make sure nothing goes wrong when the helicopter shows up?


From the Frederick ATR Facebook page (cool video there of rescuers perspective too):

sugarloaf hoist



An interesting point from the news interview in the link below: When asked if he would go hiking again, the man who fell said that he probably wouldn’t do it unless he go there proper footwear and even then, would only stay on the trail. That’s an interesting point that might be lost on most people who have no idea why they might have fallen. Good for him for being self aware!






Thank you to everybody for all of the interest! After filling up all of the spots in our first class in record time, we opened up a second class right after the first one. That class has now filled, too! Keep an eye out on the website for our upcoming classes. We will most likely have the next one in March. You can sign up for our mailing list in the column on the righthand side of the web page.



After many months and many requests, we are once again offering open enrollment for our popular Modern Technologies in Rope Rescue class. Come join us in Lancaster, PA on Oct 17 and 18 to learn how much more efficient your rescues can be with a few pieces of modern gear and a whole lot of practical applications learned from real world experiences. Here is your chance to keep up on the latest equipment and trends in the rope rescue world.


After filling up the Oct 17, 18 class in record 5 days (!!!) we have decided to run a second class the following 2 days. The registration is currently open for the Oct 19, 20 class. The link at the bottom of this page will register you for the second class.


Topics this time around include:

Use of the AZTEK kit to pass knots, perform a pickoff, basket attending, and a whole lot more.

In depth discussion and use of the Two Tension Rope System utilizing the MPD.

Use of  the Arizona Vortex  high directional in the urban environment.

The Rescue 2 Training original: The Appalachian Doortex! For urban anchoring and elevator rescue. High Directional? Anchor? Both!?… Come find out!

3 dimensional anchoring with the UFO.

The Skyhook capstan winch.

…And much more.

The cost of this two day, 16 hour class is $295 per person. Just bring a harness, helmet, and any ideas or equipment you would like to see used.

Please contact Kelly Byrne at 240-462-6610 or with any questions.



IMG_0903IMG_0631IMG_1011IMG_0437IMG_1243azorp gin pole



Well… near it anyhow. We’re happy to announce our latest open enrollment class on September 13 and 14 in Fairfax, VA, just 30 minutes from Washington, DC.

Come join us for our latest presentation of Modern Technologies in Rope Rescue. Using the newest techniques on the newest equipment in an urban setting, come learn ideas that have been proven and tested in the real world in both urban and wilderness settings.

Topics included this time around include:

Use of the AZTEK kit to pass knots, perform a pickoff, basket attending, a whole lot more

In depth discussion and use of the Two Tension Rope System utilizing the MPD.

Use of  the Arizona Vortex  high directional in the urban environment

The Rescue 2 Training original: The Appalachian Doortex! For urban anchoring and elevator rescue.

…And much more.

Cost of the class is $295 per person.

Please contact Kelly Byrne at 240-462-6610 or for registration information or questions.



IMG_1238Bipod and StrutIMG_0903IMG_1123 


Pretty awesome video just posted on youtube from a Pat Rhodes class in Australia recently. While testing the “what ifs” of a trackline failure, video was taken of a prusik capturing the load on the horizontal control line. You can see smoke coming off of the prusik/rope interface after the trackline is failed. Because I wasn’t there and am only guessing: I wonder if instead of smoke, it is actually steam from the moisture in the rope being cooked off ? Either way, it is very cool to see. Thanks to Richard Delany and the Rope Test Lab for making this type of video available on their facebook page. There is a ton of excellent information and discussion going on there. Check them out!

While not quite as cool as the  Appalachian Flagpole (or a smoking prusik for that matter), this video from the manufacturer Kong shows something like an App Flag and Gin Pole hybrid. I like the technique of being able to hook your haul system to your gin pole. It’s not really mind blowing, but just another cool incremental advance in the world of rope rescue.

While the Arizona Vortex is usually thought of as an industrial and wilderness rescue piece of equipment, it’s no secret that I think its full potential as a tool for the urban rescuer has not been fully explored. With that in mind, we are constantly trying (occasionally failing) to find out how to best use this tool to our advantage.  We’ve been working on different configurations of the Appalachian Wedge Pole (AWP) lately.

The first and perhaps the most useful version of the Wedge Pole is used to create anchors in a hallway where others might not exist. While no permanent name has been found yet, and because it appears to be bombproof, we’ve been calling it the Atomic Wedge Pole. Or Atomic Wedgie for short. As in: “Hey give him an Atomic Wedgie quickly, so we can get on with this rope rescue. ”  But again, no permanent name yet.

Below are some pictures we took during the discovery phase of these anchors, a scale model so to speak. They were loaded with a couple of guys giving it all they had, leaning into the load line. It was an initial test to see if the anchors would move at all. The next step in the process will be to load these with a one person load and operate a raising and lowering system. Then on to a two person load.


A slightly more complex version that allows for a longer haul field that runs toward the edge.


2 to 1 Wedgie

Some techniques might be setups in search of an application, the picture below being one such example. I envision using this above a hole in a hallway, where there are no other anchors present. This might be more of an industrial confined space setup, but it’s neat to see in action.


These pictures above are of urban usage, but we developed the technique out on the rocks. Here are two pictures of the first AWP setups, one horizontal and one vertical, from when the idea first struck.



This last picture comes to us from the men of Group 2 on Rescue 1 with the Boston Fire Department. They constructed an Appalachian Lean-To and changed the direction of the haul line 90 degrees at the head resting on the floor. To counteract the resultant force that wants to lift the left leg away from the wall, they front tied the setup to an anchor spanning the doorway with two AZTEKs, one of which is doing the job of keeping that left leg in compression when it naturally wants to pull away from the wall because of the COD on the head. Good job guys!

sandy lasa

This post was originally published in Dec of 2012. After switching servers we lost the video and some of the pictures.  We’ve recently found them again and wanted to repost this for the many people who contacted us during the past 4.5 years asking about it. Enjoy.


During our most recent “New Technologies” class in Lancaster, PA, we we were posed with the scenario of how to create a high point and system for rescue from grain silos. It was explained to us that the flimsyness of a roof on a silo doesn’t exactly inspire confidence to operate on. Not to mention that there aren’t that many anchors up there.

After thinking on it for a bit, we were able to come up with what basically amounts to a gin pole lashed to the interior ladder and rising up above the top of the silo, much like a flagpole. So we called it the Appalachian Flag Pole (naturally).

After searching around for a while after class, it appears we were not the first people to figure out the AF. The cell tower industry uses this sort of thing to raise sections of their towers. They just call it a gin pole…BORING.  As far I can tell, nobody has tried this as a rescue technique.

Boring Gin Pole:

cell gin

The basic setup of the Appalachian Flag Pole consists of lashing a few sections of an Arizona Vortex to the interior ladder of the silo. With about 3 feet of it sticking up above the top of the structure. Yes, it is unsupported, but there is not a lot of bending force on the top of the AFP. The resultant force is pretty much straight down the leg, with the force being transferred to the ladder.

Version 1 of the of the AFP had the haul system attached to the orange head, which is at the bottom of the AFP and lashed to the ladder, with a change of direction at the top of the AFP and the rope going back down to the victim.



It worked well, but required a lot of resets.

So, while working with Collin Moon and the guys from Elevated Safety in Chicago, we were able to refine the technique by attaching out MPD to the top of the AFP and do a counter balance raise. We also figured out that we could the blue AZV head for out top anchor point instead of a foot. And when Rock Exotica comes out with the 720 head…watch out!

Check out the video below to see the AFP in action. A couple of things to keep in mind: Where the camera is filming from would actually be the outside of the silo. Collin is the rescuer in this case; the victim outweighs him by a good 50lbs and he was still able to easily accomplish the task. This only happens when the rescuer hauls upwards on the victims line while simultaneously sitting down on the counterbalance line. Lastly, after the victim is out of the hole at the top (the metal grating in this case) they can be pushed to the outside of the silo and lowered with the MPD. If the video below is taking too long to load, CLICK HERE for the video on Youtube. Take a peak:

There are some urban applications that we believe the APF would excel at and will post the results when we complete the testing on it. It is our belief that it can be used successfully in the urban setting, such as the chimney in the picture below, where a man suffered a fatal fall into the chimney while attempting to take pictures. This happened in Chicago on 12/13. Article Here

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If you have any thoughts or comments, feel free to leave them or to contact me at  Enjoy!

Here are some new AZV uses we at R2T have been testing to see the real world practicality of.  There are some earlier proof of concept pictures on the multimedia page, but these were done in exposure with a two person load. They’re all versions of what we’ve decided to call the Appalachian Doortex (APD), an obvious attempt at getting some East Coast love into the rope world.

The purpose of these APD is to create either an anchor, a high directional, or both simultaneously in the urban environment. The initial thought was for use in elevators, but can obviously work to create an anchor anywhere there is a solid block wall surrounding a door. We run A LOT of stalled elevators in in the city where I work, 15 a day is about average in our geographically small city. Not many require any rope work at all, but the one’s that do can be a real pain. Have you ever looked in an elevator lobby for anchors or a high directional? Not much around. That’s the problem we were trying to solve.

The “Ram’s Head” is the first version we came up with. In this configuration we hooked both MPDs right to the head of the APD; there was no guying, tying, or anything. The foot of the lazy leg was not resting against the opposite wall. Aside from a very minor initial settling in of the APD, it did not move during the operation. It was loaded with a two person load that was raised and lowered several times. One of the MPDs was hooked up in a fashion that caused it to bind against the head of the AZV a bit because it allowed us to have the operating handle facing outward. Because of the angle of the rope leaving the MPD into the elevator shaft, this very minor binding was felt not to be an issue.

Next up is an Upside Down APD, with no clever name given yet. Maybe the Appalachian Lean-To (ALT)? Yup we’ll go with that for now.  Just another way to make an anchor/HD combo. Also loaded with a two person load, operated up and down a bunch.

Here is the close up of the dual MPD anchoring on the Appalachian Lean-To.

Below are two pictures of what we used to keep the the Appalachian Lean-To from kicking back should it have wanted to. It didn’t want to. We had a dynomometer in there to see if there was any force trying to push the ALT away from the opening. The needle didn’t move at all during the operation. We were pulling against an extra leg section of an AZV run through two 4×6 blocks with holes drilled in them to keep the leg section from resting on a small, roll prone contact point on the hoistway doors. We’ve been calling them “Brace Blocks” (Appalachian Brace Blocks?) They worked really well. I suspect they can be used to help span doorways in buildings to create quick, simple anchors in a hallway.

While we have not tested a center pulled AZV leg to failure yet, this one was pulled to 500 lbs without any visible deflection. Further testing on this configuration will be conducted in the near future and we’ll let you know what we find out.

If anybody has any thoughts, questions or comments on this, or would like further training on operating on rope in an urban environment please feel free to leave a comment below or send Kelly an email directly at