A couple of different USAF pararescue squadrons have paid us a visit in Ouray, Colorado this spring. The PJs are specially trained operators within the US Air Force, with skill sets that include rope rescue, climbing, scuba, parachuting, medical, and recovery – just to name a few.
Because of the nature of their typical mission profile, the PJs tend to operate more like a remote mountain rescue team – similar to the rangers in Denali or Rainier National Parks. Weight is paramount to their speed of ingress/egress when operating in mountainous terrain. Less is more when it comes to gear and system requirements.
Our recent rope rescue training’s included a lot of work with the SKED litter platform, lighter weight rope rescue systems/devices, as well as movement skills in 5th class terrain including multi-pitch rock climbing and rappelling. Where else but SW Colorado in the spring can you be surrounded by snow/ice and be rock climbing on dry rock in a t-shirt?