Tech Skills


In many backcountry wilderness SAR operations, the lost persons have some sort of injury or condition that prevents them from coming out of the backcountry under their own power. In the situation where the patient is injured and requires evacuation through rough terrain, technical rope systems may be needed to provide the safety, leverage and/or friction needed to complete the operation.

In this class, we teach candidates the proper knots, harnesses and rigging techniques so they can assist in a low-angle or high-angle technical rescue operation. Candidates will also learn basic rappelling techniques used to safely access steep terrain in search operations.

When & Where

Current Cal-ESAR Candidates and Members: Please log in to the Member Portal for schedule and location details

Skills emphasized

  • Knots and harnesses

  • Raising systems

  • Lowering systems

  • Litter packaging & rigging

  • Rope care & maintenance

  • Rappelling techniques

Gear list

Everyone needs to bring a pair of leather palmed gloves, they are required for rappelling. All leather is preferred. Any glove with a nylon palm won't do, they melt under friction.

If you're a climber, bring your climbing helmet. If you're not, we have loaners.

Note: you don't need to pack a dinner for Saturday night, since it will be the swear-in dinner (read more below.)

Disaster service worker swear-in dinner

When: Approximately 5:30-6:00 (confirmed on Wednesday training call)

Immediately after training at Battery Wallace we'll be headed downhill to the Point Bonita YMCA dining hall where we'll have dinner indoors provided by the YMCA. After dinner Greg Smith, OES coordinator for Northern California, will talk to us about what goes on 'behind the curtain' from the time a mutual aid request is received by OES until calls are made to SAR units. At the end of the conversation Greg will administer the DSW oath to all the new candidates.

This is a special event that the unit partially subsidizes, but has an extra cost...

  • $10 for candidates and training staff. (We think that any candidate would spend about $10 on a Mountain House dinner so cost should be a wash)

  • $20 for current members-current members have not paid training fees so close to full cost is passed on to you.

  • $20 for guests

If you have any special dietary restrictions, put that in the comment field in the attendance form below.

Guest policy

This is the one opportunity to invite a interested family member or partner that wants to see what this training is all about. They'll appreciate actually seeing who you're hanging out with all these weekends! They are welcome to come to watch training on Saturday and then join us for dinner if they wish. If they are going to join us for dinner, just pay the fee and give us their name so we know they are coming so the Y has an accurate head count.