An annual event for OMEGA is a summer camping outing to practice rescue skills. Members of the team spend 48 hours in a remote area of Colorado sharpening their outdoor skills and practicing rescue skills.
This year’s trip was on the Western Slope. Participants used the first evening to set up camp in a remote area of the White River National Forest. The site selection was very deliberate, forcing the team to give basic survival greater consideration. The camp site was on a plateau, miles away from civilization. Bathroom use required digging a hole and covering up the deposit. Water was restricted to what was brought in. More water was available from a creek a mile away and a good three hundred feet down. It would need to be purified before it could be used.
First thing in the morning of the second day, the team received a simulated callout for a missing hiker. A male in his 20s went hiking in the area the day before and had not returned as was expected. The reporting party was able to provide some directions to where the missing hiker was supposed to be. This required some orienteering skills on the part of the team in order to look for the subject. Along the way they encountered various clues, mostly in the form of discarded items, helping them rebuild the hiker’s path.
The hiker was located on the far end of the plateau in a cave entrance pit, which he fell into. He was unconscious with possible spinal injuries and hypothermic. Several members of the team entered the pit to stabilize and package the hiker for transport. The rest of the team rigged a haul system above the pit to get the hiker out.
The exercise relied on the participants to use a variety of skills to successfully locate and extract the patient and a little brawn to get him off the plateau to a waiting vehicle.
The evening activity was exploring caves in the area – a little recreation and developing navigation skills on the surface and contortion skills underground.
Sunday morning was a time to break camp and get ready to leave the wilderness. Several members went on a hike to enjoy nature’s beauty. Mission accomplished.