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Day 1 • Saturday, December 15, 2012

Today was the self-rescue workshop put on by Alpine Training Services (ATS). We had a good showing. After a few demonstrations by ATS founder Darren Jeffry, the attendees jumped in and started practicing. Initially they had a large assortment of hardware to use for ascending and passing knots. Slowly they switched over to using software (Prusiks) to accomplish the same tasks. They simulated knot passing as well as ascending over an edge. Some experimented with “emergency” rappels on webbing and 6 mm high strength rope. Many discovered it can take a while to “tune” their ascending systems. Most attendees enjoyed Chinese food across the street! Tomorrow the group will descend Rubio canyon in the San Gabriel mountains. As the day progresses, they will clean up any trash found as well as repair anchors.

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Day 2 • Rubio Canyon • Sunday, December 16, 2012

It was a misty, chilly day! Interestingly, the first rappel was off three equalized 2 foot metal rods pounded into the dirt. We rapped down a hillside we could easily walk down. Darren Jeffry of ATS explained that by rappeling, less damage would occur to the hillside and hence less erosion. ATS has worked with the National Forest service with concerns like this in the San Gabriel mountains for quite a few years. The canyon had just a trickle of water flowing. Despite the fact it is now December, it had numerous green plants. During the descent Darren challenged the participants with a wide variety of concerns including strategies for anchoring, approaching the anchor in dangerous conditions, unloading a blocked rope, changing ropes mid-rappel, principles of rope management, efficiency of movement down a canyon. A variety of ropes and diameters: polyester, nylon, Technora and polypropylene were used. The only trash located were two pairs of old gloves. Despite the relatively cold temperatures, one individual managed to get a bee sting. As the group exited the canyon, three Utah canyoneers were met who are doing SoCal canyons for the next few days. Arrangements were made for them to stay in two local canyoneer’s homes. Beats paying for a hotel! Overall it was an enjoyable event.