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February 2012


P.O. BOX 357

A self-supporting, not-for-profit group of volunteer citizens dedicated to improving safety in the Arizona wilderness.

Operating under the authority of the Gila County Sheriff's Office
John Armer, Sheriff

TRSAR Squad meets monthly

General Public Welcome
2nd Thursday @ 7:00 - 9:00 PM
Payson Public Library Meeting Room
328 N. McLane Road - Payson, Arizona


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Don’t forget.
The meetings this month are:

Board  Meeting: Tuesday the 7th, 1600 Hrs at the Squad Building.

General Meeting: Thursday the 9th, 1900 Hrs at the Library.


Commanders Corner

Mission Debriefs:

We had one mission for January. On Sunday night about 10:00PM, I received a call from John France regarding a lost hiker on Milk Rank Point above Camp Geronimo. The hiker was attempting a loop of one trail to the top of Milk Ranch Point, then another trail back down to Camp Geronimo. He missed the trail down, and attempted a canyon east of Weber Creek, and eventually got ledged out where he could not go up or down in very rough train. John France was able to get DPS Ranger who was able to locate him and give coordinates. In order to determine the best approach, Ranger picked me up with rope gear, and showed me where he was. There were no trails in the area. We decided it would be best to descend from the rim above him with rope gear. The best LZ we could find in the dark was a meadow about 1.5 miles from his location. I requested 2 more rope team members, and DPS Ranger flew in Warner Thompson and Anthony Miotto to this meadow.

With some postholing through deep snow, we set a course for the point of the rim above his location, but discovered we had to head Weber Canyon which added another mile to our approach. When we reached the edge of the rim above the subject, DPS Ranger arrived back from refueling and assisted us in identifying the specific canyon the subject was in as we could not see his light from above. We arranged for DPS to bring more ropes and drop them on top of the rim. Warner stayed behind to get the ropes, and Anthony and I headed down into the canyon. It was very steep, but so brushy we opted to not use ropes. We were able to get down to the subjects location without using ropes, but he was on a 20 foot vertical ledge.

We determined we had come down about 800 ft vertical, and were 1200 ft vertical above Camp Geronimo, so we opted to continue down the canyon rather than attempt a climb up through the thick brush. We secured the subject and ourselves to the wall then rigged a rappel anchor. We lowered the subject down the vertical section in a pickoff harness, then double rope rappelled ourselves down. Shortly after this vertical section, the canyon started to open up, and we were able to hike the rest of the way out. We arrived back at command at around 8:00AM.

Warner was picked up by JJ Logan and Gary Hall who took the tracked quad up to the 300 Rd and drove in to his location.

Thanks to all who showed up. It was an excellent turnout for late Sunday night. Sorry we couldn’t make use of everyone, but that is the nature of these sometimes, especially given the terrain and being limited to helicopter support for transporting resources.

Stay safe and stay prepared.
Bill Pitterle – Commander, #500




Tonto Rim Search and Rescue Squad
Mission Debrief Form Instructions

After each mission the Mission Debrief Form will need to be filled out.

If you haven't already filled one out at the mission site it can be easily done in the comfort of your home.

The form is in the Members Only area under "Mission Debrief Form Instructions"

After you complete the form just click the "Submit Survey" button at the bottom of the page.

This will cause an email with all the info in the form to be sent to Sgt Hudgens, Board Members and other necessary personnel.

Thank you.



February 2012 Training


The purpose and objectives of the Squad shall be:

A.  To maintain a fully trained and qualified volunteer team on call 24 hours a day to perform     search and rescue operations; and

B.  To provide professional assistance on search and rescue missions, and recovery of injured or accident victims as requested by the Gila County Sheriff’s Department.



A.  All members are required to attend a Search and Rescue Academy within one year of being accepted as a member, per GCSO.  Extensions may be granted on an individual bases at the Board’s discretion.

B.  Members wishing to remain on active status must attend at least three official Squad functions per quarter of the calendar year, as well as two training exercises per six months of the calendar year.

C.  Members who wish to remain on reserve status must attend at least one official Squad function per quarter of the calendar year as well as one training exercise per six months of the calendar year.

D.  All Technical Rope Team members must attend at least two rope-training exercises, or rope missions, per six months of the calendar year and complete an annual skills checklist. 

E.  Mantrackers must attend at least one classroom training per calendar year and three field trainings, or mantracking missions, per calendar year.

F.  All Swiftwater Rescue Team members must attend at least one swiftwater training exercise, or swiftwater mission, per calendar year and complete an annual skills checklist.



8 February (Wed) – Rope Rescue – Participants:  Members scheduled for Mountain Workshop.  Others welcome – Time:  1000 – Place: Flowing Springs - Instructor: Roger Miotto


9 February (Thur) – Instruction Technique – Participants:  instructors, assistant instructors, anyone interested in instruction technique - Time: Immediately following General Membership meeting – Instructor: Claudia Bullard


11 February (Sat) through 17 February (Fri) - Mountain Rescue Workshop –Participants: Margaret Bullard, Cheryl Essary, Darrell Floyd, Paul Morgan - Time: 0800 - Place: Sedona – Instructor:  Reed Thorn


18 February (Sat) – First Aid & CPR –Time: 0900 to 1630– Place: American Legion, 706 E. Hwy 260 – Instructor: Dave Burkhart - Call Dave at 928-476-4257 to register


18 February (Sat) - Rope Rescue – Specific topics: rappelling, ascending, mid-ascent switchover to rappel, team based stranded climber pick-off, rescuer based stranded climber pick-off – Time: 0800 - Place: Forest Road 184, Rye Creek Bridge – Instructor: Roger Miotto


Thursdays and Saturdays - SAR Dog Training - Time: TBA – Place: TBA - Call Susan at 480-278-3806 for more info, or email at kansasstarr88@yahoo.com to be put on the list for regular time and location updates. Lost people welcome!



Requested Training Sessions

If you would like to volunteer to run a training session, or if you have a training session request, contact any Board member, or Morris Brown 

Squad Web Site:  www.trsar.org


Training Notes

Feb 2012

By Morris Brown

Mantracking Instructor

Jim McMillion is our new mantracking instructor replacing Kim Donau and Eddy Floyd.  Thanks to Kim and Eddy for doing a terrific job in our mantracking training program over the last several years.  Also, thanks to Jim for accepting the challenge.  I’m looking forward to working with Jim as we get into our 2012 training program.  Certified mantrackers are encouraged to participate in Jim’s training sessions this year as much as possible.

GPS Functions

The secret to conquering your GPS unit is practice, practice, practice until the functions become second nature.  Functions that members should be able to use are listed below.

What you need to know on your GPS for SAR:

  1. Know how to save your current location    
  2. Know how to enter/edit/name a waypoint    
  3. Know how to “Go To” a waypoint
  4. Know how to stop navigation (cancel Go To)
  5. Know how to delete waypoints
  6. Know how to read coordinates
  7. Know how to select map datums

WGS 84, NAD 83, NAD 27

  1. Know how to select position formats (coordinate systems)

Latitude/longitude, UTM

  1. Know how to set up and use the Tracking feature
    1. Record Method: Auto
    2. Interval: Normal
  2. Know how to set up map orientation to North Up or Track UP
  3. Know how to clear saved Tracks
  4. Know how to calibrate your GPS compass (for some models)
  5. Know the difference between “Bearing” and “Heading”
  6. Know the difference between “True North” and “Magnetic North
  7. Know the estimated battery life of your GPS unit
  8. Know how to adjust the backlight


GPS Mentors

Members needing help using GPS functions listed above may contact mentors.  To date, the following have volunteered to be mentors:  Hal Baas, Kathy Baas, Morris Brown, John Logan, Jim Oelerich, Dave Pirtle, and Bill Pitterle.  If you would like to be a GPS mentor, please contact Morris Brown.  

 Instruction Technique

Numerous recommendations were made regarding instruction technique during the December training survey.  To help in this area, Claudia Bullard volunteered to give us some insights and hints in training processes and approaches in a training session following the General Membership meeting on Feb 9.

 Training Data Base

Members needing to review their training attendance status may view it on the TRSAR website.  Questions may be directed to Kathy Baas. 



 TRSAR Rosters Available

Available on our Members Only page.

Blank Sign-In Sheet

Mission Debrief Instructions


Business Cards for Active Members


All active members are permitted to have business cards with your SAR info on them. If you do not have them yet, or if you have used up the ones you had, contact Mike Taylor to place your order. They are nice to have when you are doing any Squad activities, and the best part is they are free. A common use for them is to hand out to family members of the search/rescue subject.

Email miket@trsar.org or call 978-8009.



Tonto Rim SAR Members can now have your very own email address through our site. Just contact our Webmaster at jack@jackswebs.com  to arrange for it, no cost to you or us.



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