Responsibility in the backcountry takes many forms. Having the right tools when misadventure strikes can be the difference between a manageable task and a nightmare. Anyone who has ever gotten injured or broken a piece of equipment knows that being even a mile away from the trailhead can be a disaster to get out safely.
As part of their new ski mountaineering camp, Jackson Hole Mountain Guides introduces their students to several additional tools one should familiarize themselves with when taking on bigger or more remote objectives in the mountains. As part of their classroom time, JHMG guide Mike Poborsky lays out a Brooks Range Ultralite™ rescue sled, while touting the values or personal preparedness that come with more ambitious pursuits. For more info on the camp and/or real-time education on Brooks-Range products, go to JHMG.com
Let’s back up. No one wants to carry an injured friend out on a stretcher. But the ergonomic sled can give would-be rescuers a much better chance at dealing with a negative event.
The Brooks-Range Ultralite™ Rescue sled uses a proprietary bright red rip-stop nylon tarp that weighs a scant 8.7 ounces (247 g). It features straps for securing a victim onto the skis to become an integral part of the sled assembly. Two aircraft quality aluminum Pro Stretcher bars are constructed with slots cut to double as cross beams when mated with a pair of skis to form a robust skeleton. When deconstructed they fit inside each other, packing down to a single, nested 10-inch-long cylinder. Five two-foot ski straps tie the skis, poles and the expanded stretcher bars together to create a solid frame that won’t fall apart under load. Complete, it lives in a taco-style nylon pouch that lives comfortably in the depths of your pack.
If you want to really trick out, but remain prepared, you can use the shaft of any of our Brooks-Range shovels as stretcher bars and leave the duplicate metal of the Pro Stretcher Bars behind.
For part of the JH Mountain Guides’ camp, the guides share their own stories and explain the reasons for self-sufficiency in the backcountry. “It’s all fine until it’s not,” says Rob Hess, owner of JHMG and American Mountain Guide Association examiner. Practicing with your equipment and getting it dialed is the unsung workload that many guides and accomplished mountaineers do regularly. Like any empowering guide outfit, JHMG wants students to learn the value of self-rescue and preparedness as it pertains to responsible mountain travel. Brooks-Range knows this, and that’s why their rescue sleds make it a lot easier.