Volume 3, Issue 3
12 March 1998
and Mickey Jojola
"That Others May Live..."
If anyone is interested in the tracking course ($125) offered by Universal Tracking Systems in Gallup, May 1-2-3, please leave a message on the hotline prior to the April meeting. We will vote on reimbursement, if there are any potential attendees, at that meeting.
|Top of the Hill
||by John Mindock
Please send in your registration forms for the ESCAPE as soon as possible. This helps those NMESC Board members who are handling the paperwork, because it doesn't flood them at the last minute. The ESCAPE is an excellent opportunity to learn about SAR topics from experienced and qualified instructors.
With our busy season approaching, it's time to work on physical fitness. The new PACE Study Guide includes a sentence indicating that the SAR field volunteer is expected to be able to walk up to ten miles and spend up to twelve hours on assignment.
One way to get a workout is the Hike of the Month. You are encouraged to make those treks, both for the trail knowledge and the exercise. Wear your search pack and clothing, so you can make adjustments and discover any problems. Of course, exercising only once a month is probably a little short of the requirements for a healthy life, let alone SAR.
I would like to congratulate the five members of CSAR who passed the litter evaluation this month: Scott Pierce, Jason Metzger, Susan Corban, Melinda Ricker and Ryan Jackson.
|Boots and Blisters
||by Paul Husler
The Whitewash Trail is named after the smooth waterfall rockface which
is at the bottom of Whitewash Canyon, at the end of Candelaria. This
is also known as the Piedra Lisa Canyon, offering a bit of confusion
with the altogether-different Piedra Lisa Trail, which is in the north
portion of the Sandias.
|Hike of the Month||Whitewash Trail area||0800, Mar 28/29, 1998\01998|
|Trailhead: East end of Menaul|
|R.T. Distance: 4.0 miles||Elevation Min/Max: 6000/8100|
|Hiking Time 3.5 hours||Hazards: The usual|
|Topo Maps: USFS map of the Sandias|
At the beginning of this hike, there are many intersecting trails from
which to choose. Eventually, they all wend their way along the south
rim of Whitewash Canyon, and then up one 'master trail' which leads to
the top via steep switchbacks.
The first goal is to reach the top of the ridge east of the parking
area. Begin on the obvious wide trail at the southeast end of the
parking area, which will turn eastward and wind around the south edge
of the ridge. Although there are many routes up the ridge, for this
hike, use an arroyo which has metal fence embedded in the ground
acting as prevention for soil erosion. Follow this up and keep going
north until, about 1/2 hour into the trek, you see a meadow with two
prominent trails heading North/NNE. Either of these trails will
eventually lead to the south rim of Waterfall Canyon.
Off to the east, you'll see a high tree-lined ridge, which is the
eventual goal of this hike. (Actually the trail continues beyond that
ridge, across two more ridges, finally ending at the Oso Pass
junction, but that's not part of this hike.)
It will take less than 2.0 hours to get to a knoll on top of the
tree-lined ridge at the 8130 foot mark. This knoll is conveniently
known as 'the 8130', and it provides a view into Three-Gun Canyon and
even the cement plant in Tijeras. Its UTM's are approximately 366.5
and 3886.8. From here, turn around and head back, noticing the various
arroyos and ridges which might serve as opportunities to head south
into the west end of Embudo Canyon.
||by John Mindock
Orienteering - Part 1
This series of mini-lessons will focus on orienteering - the skills associated with map and compass. The goal of the series is to detail the aspects that are required to accurately use map/compass in the field. In addition, the student will be informed of common terminology associated with orienteering.
Many books have been written about orienteering - this series cannot cover every facet of the subject. The emphasis will be on those aspects that SAR personnel would most likely utilize on missions.
Finally, there is no substitute for field work. The best usage for this series is to attempt to comprehend the subject matter, then perform the suggested field exercises.
This first lesson describes salient features of topographical maps.
The word 'topography' refers to the 'layout' of the land ( hills, valleys, cliffs, etc.). A topographical map (topo, for short) depicts those aspects of the land's surface by using contour lines, colors, and other devices. The common topo is known as a 7.5 minute map, because it depicts 7.5 minutes of latitude and 7.5 minutes of longitude. The scale on a 7.5 minute map is 1:24000, roughly equating to 0.1 miles of terrain per 1/4 inch on the map. Another name used often is a 'quad', referring to the quadrangular shape of the map. Topos are named after a significant feature which they encompass (I.e., the Sandia Crest quad).
Most topos were developed in the 1950 - 1960 timeframe, and revised in the mid-1970's. This often results in mis-representation of current features.
Picture a set of imaginary flat vertical surfaces ('planes') that are parallel to one another, twenty feet apart, and slicing through the land. The contour lines shown on the topo are the intersection of the land with any of those planes, so that the outlines scribed by the lines provide a bird's-eye representation of the terrain.
The distance between adjacent contour lines is called the contour interval. Some maps use forty-foot contour intervals, while others use twenty. There is a phrase on the bottom margin of the map which states 'contour interval xx feet'. For the remainder of this series, we'll assume a contour interval of twenty feet.
If an area has many contour lines, the land rises upward more steeply compared to a place where there are few. With practice on a topo, one can become accomplished at envisioning the type of terrain depicted, recognizing features such as cliffs, ridges, valleys, arroyos, and saddles.
- Brown - contour lines
- Blue - places where water might occur (dashed if water is intermittent)
- Red - surveyor's markings (primarily land 'sections')
- Green - areas where tree-like vegetation existed when the map was made
- White - areas where the vegetation is smaller than trees (but not necessarily barren)
- Purple - modifications to the original map as a result of subsequent surveys
- Black - man-made things (trails, buildings, minor roads, fences, power lines, etc.) Black is also used for county lines, labels on map features, and other items.
Typical Land Features
Contour lines for typical land features appear as follows:
- Hill - a series of misshapen concentric ovals, progressively smaller as altitude increases.
- Ridge - similar to a hill, except the 'ovals' are more elongated in two directions, like cigars.
- Cliff - a number of lines very close together on one side, with fewer lines on the other.
- Spur - a set of misshapen concentric triangles, progressively smaller as altitude increases.
- Canyon - a succession of 'V-shaped' lines progressing upwards towards the points of the 'V's.
- Saddle - a set of lower-altitude lines with hills/ridges on either side.
- Valley - a large area with few contour lines and higher features on either side.
- Peak - the top of a Hill, often with the uppermost point depicted as an
'X' , and that point's altitude nearby.
Grids are man-made schema devised to provide reference lines/points for map features. The most interesting to SAR is the UTM (Universal Transverse Mercator). For this document, suffice it to say that UTM's are a set of numbers representing meters from the equator and meters from one of a group of 'North/South' lines. Although Latitude and Longitude are depicted on the map, their scale is usually too large for field personnel to use accurately.
Exercises - Orienteering Part 1
- Why are topos also called 7.5 minute maps?
- About how far (on land) is a distance represented by 3.75 inches on a topo?
- What are two differentials in altitude that contour lines often represent?
- How can one recognize steep areas by looking at a topo?
- What features are represented by the various colors on the topo?
Go to a valley for which you have a topo. Locate nearby peaks, hills, saddles, etc. and compare what you see to the contour lines on the map. Then go to a high point and notice the appearance of the same features from the new perspective.
Well another month has gone by and spring is almost upon us. I would like to
take this opportunity to congratulate Susan Corban on becoming our newest
active member. Currently we have 4 prospective members awaiting orientation.
Or should I say I am waiting for them to let me know when they are ready for
orientation. As stated earlier, it is up to the new recruits to inform the
membership officer that they are ready for their orientation and subsequent
field deployment. I look forward to getting together with these and future
recruits for orientations which will enable them to get into the field.
|Who's Who and New
||by Mickey Jojola
Next month's minilesson will be the second part of the knots lesson which was promised for this issue. Unforseen delays in photo processing required putting it off.
In revamping the web-based database functions I find I've bitten off a touch
more than I can chew given the time I have to spare at the moment --- I've got
all the basic functions and information that were in the original system in
place, but there are a few projects that I've been asked to implement which
will take a bit of careful consideration before plunging into the
implementation. If you have any experience with SQL-based database
application design I could use any help you can offer. I'll still do the
programming, but haven't the time right now to plan the details of the
database design as carefully as they need to be planned. Call me if you've
got the time and experience to help out on this.
||by Tom Russo
Well the NMESC successfully hosted another WFA (Wilderness First Aid) course in Rio Rancho the weekend of Feb. 28 through March 1. Both I and Randall Wahlert were there from Cibola. To be honest I was very impressed with the class. I learned things that I had no idea could be done. The most important being the patient assessment. I now feel confident that in the event that I may become injured in the field (and am still coherent) I will be able to assist myself. I highly recommend this course to those who are interested in increasing their first aid skills and relating them to the wilderness.
||by Mickey Jojola
|Safety During Off-trail Searching
||by John Mindock
The measurement of "danger" of an activity is not simply a function of the intrinsic aspects of that activity. Rather, it is depicted by the severity of its unmitigated risks.
For example, a skilled climber rappelling down a 900-ft cliff may actually be considered safer than a roping novice simply peering over the top. Why? Because much of the rappelling risk is mitigated by the climbing expert due to equipment, training, and experience.
The key to safety is mitigation of risks. Specific to this article, there are a number of ways to mitigate the risks of off-trail searching. First, the hazards:
- Rocks can be loose, slippery, jagged, and tilted. They can cause loss of footing and subsequent injury. Leaping from rock-to-ground or rock-to-rock is always a bad idea.
- Cactus and yucca needles can cause serious injury and infection. Cholla can be taller than head-high, and prickly-pear spines can work their way into any boot. It makes no sense to crash through cactus if the subject couldn't do so. An ordinary comb is a good tool to remove cholla, while tweezers/pliers are the best for other cacti.
- Foliage such as thorn bushes, trees, and weeds can cause puncture wounds, scratches, and irritation. In addition, sometimes they can break loose when used as a handhold.
- Slopes can cause you to lose your balance, especially when carrying your search pack. Well-traveled off-trail slopes are often characterized by rolling pebbles and loose dirt, which tend to slide out underfoot. Going downhill is more risky than uphill.
- Animals such as snakes, coyotes, and larger predators can be lurking off-trail. When scrambling over boulders, be certain you can see where your hands and feet are being placed.
- Route diversion to get around obstacles can cause inability to remember the return route. In addition, it's common to encounter a steep boulder-face with no easy way up. One must shun the temptation to try extraordinary climbing feats in order to save a few minutes or to avoid the disgrace of retracing previous steps.
- Fatigue builds up quickly when struggling off-trail. The trek is more grueling than a trail, and more mental attention is also required.
To mitigate the risks of off-trail searching, wear proper clothing (such as sturdy boots, gaiters, long-legged pants, long-sleeved shirt, gloves, eye protection, and a hat).
Additional facets include physical fitness, selective choice of handholds, prudent decisions about the next step, judicious choice of routes, and practicing off-trail hiking.
Backpacking stove: "OLICAMP SCORPION" - very compact and lightweight; including fuel = $30.00. Contact Andrew Parker @ H: 842-9502/W: 239-3938
The information in this newsletter was gathered from many sources and presents facts as we believe them to be true. This newsletter is not meant to be an official document, but a means to disseminate team information.
||(20 words maximum, no services)