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Helitack Short-Haul Training Course Held

Yosemite National Park

National Park News

On Tuesday, May 21st, and Wednesday, May 22nd, Yosemite helitack, Yosemite law enforcement rangers, and YOSAR (Yosemite Search and Rescue) personnel completed short-haul rescue training on Slab Happy Pinnacle on El Capitan. Short-haul training occurs several times per year in the park.

“Short-haul” is described as the technique of transporting personnel beneath a helicopter while suspended on a fixed rope that is attached to the aircraft.  This type of rescue technique permits insertion and extraction of personnel from a site where a helicopter cannot land, such as on steep cliff faces or landing areas that are too small.  Short-haul training is essential for Yosemite helitack, rangers, and YOSAR personnel to maintain proficiency in difficult and unique rescue missions.

The training included the “throw-bag” rescue technique which is specifically used on high angle (or vertical) rock climbing routes, such as El Captain. It is typically used in situations where the only option to connect with a victim and/or other person is by throwing a “throw-bag” attached to a rope.  The rescuer is then pulled over to the wall to obtain contact with the victim. 

Pilots for the training included Tim Lyons and Richard Shatto, who traded turns flying the ship throughout the morning. Lyons and Shatto have worked for Yosemite National Park for a combined 15 years and are both highly skilled and experienced pilots.  Designated spotters included Jeff Pirog and Andrew Davenport from Yosemite helitack and Matt Stark, Mather District law enforcement ranger.  Short-haul rescuers included Yosemite law enforcement rangers and YOSAR personnel.  



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