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Winter Skills Training

Eight members of the Team have been undergoing Winter Skills training in the Northern Cairngorms this weekend. ‘Viking 4’ on loan from Mercedes-Benz of Teesside once again proved of great value by carrying team members and their winter kit up to the Coire Cas Ski area.

Due to high winds gusting 70 mph at summit elevations on Saturday, the Team operated on the snow aprons below the crags of Coire an t-Sneachda. Movement skills using ice axe and crampons were practiced along with some entry level rope-work. The Team’s ‘Technical Rescue’ lead-member Louis said ‘Even in the relative shelter of the coire basin the gusts knocked us over at times and given the number of other Mountain Rescue Teams also staying low (930m) we felt we had made the best of challenging conditions’.

The second day of the Team’s Winter Skills weekend began with a chance encounter with the Cairngorm reindeer herd. Resident on the Cairngorm plateau since their introduction from lapland in 1952, they are tame enough not to have been spooked by our Team red jackets, moving closer while we watched them. 

Coire an Lochan was today’s venue where the Team learned about Scottish snowpack and avalanche risk using the debris visible from several avalanches triggered in the coire the week before. Movement on steeper terrain and snowpack assessment were practiced before the Team split with a small contingent topping out on Cairn Lochan and practicing ice axe arrests on the return to twin burns.

Training such as this prepares Team members to work in adverse weather conditions back ‘home’ on the North York Moors and also equips them with the skills necessary if called upon to assist other mountain rescue teams in more extreme environments.

Join the team

Applications can be made to join the team in a support role (Operational Support) or as a hill going (Search and Rescue) member.

Applications for either role can be made at any time. Intakes for Operational Support members occur at various times of the year. There is one annual intake for Search and Rescue normally each September.

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