Monday, April 19, 2010


Old Rag Mountain Stewards (ORMS)
Spring 2010 Training
Partly Sunny Coolish Days Chilly Nights
Sat & Sun, April 17&18, 2010

Do not adjust your set, the following pictures are blurred on purpose.

During its regular season while ORMS is helping plants, animals, rocks, and hikers it also manages to fit in continuous training each and every day it is on the mountain. Despite all that on-the-job training, ORMS also has weekend training sessions that are dedicated to just training. These weekends are filled with highly focused training during the day with a little bit of good food, and socializing in the evening.

While we managed to have a little bit of fun on Saturday evening the days were packed with training for; wilderness first aid (WFA), Leave No Trace (LNT) and preventative search and rescue (PSAR).

The Shenandoah National Park(SNP) has been an absolutely wonderful sponsor and joint creator of our highly successful ORMS program. SNP graciously hosts our annual training sessions somewhere within the park each year. You may want to check out the rich history of the National Park Service at:

As always, the staff from Shenandoah Mountain Guides (the other joint creator and sponsor of ORMS) provided a phenomenal training weekend. If you or your organization ever need a professional program for; team development, environmental education, mountain sports and outdoor education, youth development, or backcountry guiding this highly professional and public spirited organization should be tops on your list. Their web-site can be found at:

While the staffs of ORMS's two sponsoring organizations all have a huge amount of baseline training, each staff member of these organizations also brings a wealth of personal experiences, knowledge and skills and a unique personality and style to their job. One of the advantages of volunteerng with ORMS is that you get to learn from this group of dedicated public servants and professional guides who in addition to their vast knowledge are also a bunch of great folks.

The next picture shows us getting to meet one of the many wonderful SNP Rangers. SNP's Law Enforcement group is the authority in charge of SAR activities within SNP. I have always enjoyed the time National Park employees (not all were rangers) have shared with me and the lessons they have taught me.

The BackCountry Management part of SNP is another group within SNP that is a major supporter of ORMS. Steve Bair who was instrumental in ORMS's formation as an alternative to Old Rag hiker restrictions came by and spoke to us during the weekend. I did not get a picture of him but if you click on the label called Rockfest in the labels list to the lower right you will see a picture of him and Wendy Cass doing a presentation to a lot of rock climbers who did volunteer work for SNP last year. In addition to those already mentioned and Bob, Bridgette, and Stacy many thanks to all of the SNP employees who made this weekend possible.

The following picture shows patient assessment training.

In the next picture you see the end result of an exercise in inclement weather patient packaging.

The next picture shows three stewards during scenario training which required the care of a serious leg injury.

As part of our Leave No Trace LNT training we broke into small groups and each group put together a short lesson demonstrating one of the seven LNT principals. Being a very creative group many of the lessons involved humorous skits.
In the next picture we see a simulated scenario where Splish Splash the simulated, cheerfully inebriated, singing hiker was both taking a bath and washing his cloths in the simulated mountain spring (blue tarp). In the skit an ORMS member arrived and helped educate the wayward hiker.
Most the hiking public might think something like this would never happen but dealing with large numbers of the general public ORMS members eventually run across very colorful characters from which ORMS' legends and sometimes tall tales are made.

In the next picture we see a skit of an LNT knowledgeable ORMS member discussing how to plan ahead and prepare for the Old Rag Hike with two novice hikers. In this skit the two novice hikers were anything but planned or prepared.
This skit was also a good example of what is called Preventative Search and Rescue or PSAR. SAR organizations would much rather prevent the need for a search or rescue and one of the tools used in PSAR is providing outdoor participants good advice before something bad happens.

During the middle of our training weekend the ORMS class got to assist with a real carryout.
A hiker had badly hurt her leg near Camp Rapidan and needed to be carried out.
In the next picture you see ORMS members unloading the liter from a SNP SAR vehicle which is parked at the intersection of a trail and a back country fire road.

The following pictures show the patient being carried out to the SNP SAR vehicle.

Finally the patient is loaded back into the SAR vehicle for transport to an ambulance located at the end of the fire road and then on to a front country medical facility.

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