Canadian Rangers Learn Rope Rescue Techniques

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Leading Seaman Christine (Tina) Gillis climbing on a high rock face. credit: Sergeant Peter Moon, Canadian Rangers
Leading Seaman Christine (Tina) Gillis climbing on a high rock face. credit: Sergeant Peter Moon, Canadian Rangers
 Leading Seaman Christine (Tina) Gillis climbing on a high rock face. credit: Sergeant Peter Moon, Canadian Rangers

Leading Seaman Christine (Tina) Gillis climbing on a high rock face. credit: Sergeant Peter Moon, Canadian Rangers

THUNDER BAY – NEWS – Ten members of the headquarters staff of 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group at Canadian Forces Base Borden have acquired a new series of rescue skills that they will be passing on to Canadian Rangers in the remote and isolated communities of northern Ontario.

They spent eight daysl clambering over rock formations and climbing on cliff faces in the Parry Sound area learning how to rescue people in a variety of challenging and potentially life-threatening situations.

“I’ve had a great time and a great experience,” said Leading Seaman Christine (Tina) Gillis, a combat storesman with 3CRPG. “The first time on the really high part of the training, leaning back on the rope and looking down below, with a huge drop below you, it’s a little bit scary. But you just have to trust that you’re set up properly, that you are safe, and that you are doing what the instructors have trained you to do.”

The strenuous training included learning about different kinds of rope used in rescues, a variety of knots, and how to use specialized pieces of technical equipment.

They learned how to perform low angle rescues, such as an over-the-bank situation when a car leaves a roadway and falls down a steep slope onto a high river bank. Steep angle rescues are usually higher risk and involve a number of situations where people have to be rescued from places like towers or high cliffs.

“I’ve only been rappelling once before this, during basic training on a rappelle tower, but never up high on cliffs like this, this high, and with so many sharp rocks below us,” LS Gillis said.

The weather helped to make the training realistic. After several days of sunshine there were two days when there was snow and then heavy rain.

Low and high angle rope rescue is a specialized skill that is rarely taught within the Canadian Armed Forces, said Captain Caryl Fletcher of 3CRPG.

“This is a skill we’ve decided we want to pass on to the Canadian Rangers,” he said. “There’s nobody with this kind of training in northern Ontario. There’s always going to be a need for it if a Canadian Ranger or a member of one our remote communities gets into trouble.”


(Sergeant Peter Moon is the public affairs ranger for 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group at CFB Borden.)

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Sergeant Peter Moon is the public affairs ranger for the 3rd Canadian Ranger Patrol Group. Canadian Rangers are army reservists who provide a military presence in Canada's remote and isolated regions, including Northern Ontario. They provide skilled assistance in emergencies such as searches, plane crashes, forest fires, and floods. They also operate the Junior Canadian Rangers, a youth programme for boys and girls aged 12 to 18.