Search and Rescue Teams from all over California came to Lone Pine over the weekend to test their skills in the Alabama Hills. Every year, rescue teams affiliated with the Mountain Rescue Association have to prove their rescue abilities on rock, in snow, and in searching for lost hikers.
The jumbled piles of rocks and short cliffs of the Alabama Hills provided the terrain to test SAR teams on their ability to rig rope rescue systems and haul an injured patient to a waiting helicopter.
Three rescue teams had to cancel on the test in order to search for a lost climber on Mt. Baldy in Southern California, but Saturday morning about 250 volunteer rescuers from sixteen teams around the state arrived at the command post at Movie Road to get their simulated rescue assignment. Utility trucks full of gear and people then headed out to the rocks to attempt to rescue their simulated victim.
With victims stashed high in the rocks of the Alabama Hills, rescuers rigged elaborate rope systems to lift, carry and lower the victims safely to the ground. Most of the teams were finished by mid afternoon. Rather then head back to home when the testing was done, a good sized crowd stayed in the area for the barbecue put on by Inyo Sheriff Bill Lutze. Lutze cooked up enough food to feed a small army. There were no reports of rescuers going to bed hungry.