The high pressure in the North Atlantic continued unabated for another RfR seminar.  This one was hosted by Ice Sar and held in Vestmannaeyjar (aka Westman Islands) off the SW coast of Iceland.  The training sites were abundant and diverse.  Exercises included stretcher work, pickoffs, specialty techniques like the Pike ‘n Pivot, a long Guiding Line, and a multi-pitch steep slope evacuation.
The anchoring in Iceland is often unique and somewhat improvised.  To contend with the sub-optimal rock quality and a lack of sizable vegetation anchors – btw, as the local advice goes, if you get lost in an Icelandic forest, just stand up – rescue teams have devised a variety of anchoring methods and tools including ground stakes and angled aluminum wedges for pounding into the turf.  Get enough of anything and you can improvise a solid anchor. 
On one of our raising scenarios, the lines were ‘trenching’ into the turf due to a low mainline focal point and some convex terrain between that focal point and the edge.  Fighting all of that extra friction made it very difficult to raise the load back up.  Additionally, advancing the Prusik rope grab for the next raise became a real chore.  It reminded me of some of the same challenges in a crevasse rescue scenario when your lines cut into the snow/ice.  I showed them a simple and effective solution which was to move a large stone to the top of the convex roll and anchor some edge protection on top of the stone (see image below). This caused the ropes to ‘float’ and alleviated the suffering on the mainline haul team. 
Use of a boulder high directional

Fore!!  Playing through…

165m Guiding Line


Difficult edge transitions

Icelandic high directional

Scenic spot for training

Pike ‘n Pivot

The Westmans