Alpine and Cliff rescue (ACR) is a team of about thirty volunteers – people equipped with the skills necessary to carry out specialised, technical rescues involving high angle or alpine terrain, requiring specialised climbing or rigging techniques. It can be the windswept mountain top, crevasse field on a glacier, river gorge, cliffs or tree top – anywhere technical skills are required to carry out the rescue safely.
The team is made up of keen amateur climbers to professional alpine guides and includes a doctor. They train on a regular basis and cover such topics as helicopter rescue, anchor systems, raising and lowering systems, crevasse rescue, advanced rope rescue and alpine survival. They are expected to maintain a high level of competency in all of these areas and be ready and equipped to be called upon at any time of the day or night.
ACR has three team leaders (Aaron HALSTEAD, Tarn PILKINGTON and Dave McLEOD) who are all professional Alpine Guides with numerous qualifications and who facilitate training sessions and maintain training logs and the contact details of all the team members. The team leaders report to the Wakatipu SAR committee and the Police ACR liaison representative (Senior Constable Julian CAHILL).
Whilst the ACR guys and girls are required to be self sufficient in terms of personal gear, the rescue equipment on hand is extensive and includes all manner of ropes, hardware and spare personal equipment. The group undergo regular training which includes high angle raising and lowering, strop work, advanced rope rescue, anchors, crevasses rescue.
The motivation to join ACR varies from individual to individual but the sense of satisfaction at the end of a rescue is very high and the thought in every team members mind seems to be that, “it might be me that needs to be rescued one day and it is nice to know there is a competent group of people out there who can do get the job done”.
Photos courtesy of Chris Prudden, more in our Photogallery.