by Dave Spencer

November’s Search And Rescue Practical put our Team Members’ minds and our Unit equipment in gear for vehicle winching. A gorgeous Saturday morning in Brunswick Canyon provided the backdrop as the Team assisted “motorists” whose day had not turned out the best.

Scenario 1 was a simulated two-wheel drive vehicle that had dug the rear tires into the dirt while on a 50ish degree incline. Oh, and the right rear tire was now flat. Team Members dug out (pun intended) the “Theory of Winching” information (linked below), so they could do the math for this pull. Applying the “Theory of Winching” in this training application provides a great baseline for the members and their future winching applications; i.e., “Remember when the red vehicle equaled XXXX because of this, this, this, and this? This pull will be easy!” These training opportunities are also excellent for proving theories. Think XX will work but not sure? Take the time to try it! The Team dialed in numerous questions, thoughts, and applications not necessarily needed, then tested them out to see how they worked out.

The “simulated two-wheel drive vehicle” was rescued without incident. Although there was shock on a few faces when as soon as the vehicle was disconnected from the winch it was backed down the incline again. “We have to do this again!!” Nah, the owner wanted to drive it up the incline in four-wheel just for the fun of it.

Scenario 2 was a disabled vehicle stuck in a rocky wash. The objective was to safely move the vehicle to the road for towing into town. After winching the vehicle out of its precarious position, the Team made some towing applications for further movement. Here again the group made some applications that were not really necessary, such as connecting tow straps as shown in the photo below. Items other than a magazine will work here, a small piece of wood can be applied as example. Just be aware of potential “missile hazards” if there is a strap failure. Application over theory won out in this scenario too, as it was determined that continued winching to the road would have been quicker than towing.

So, another great day in Northern Nevada with a great Team applying skills learned and then honed in the field. All in a non-emergent setting.

WARN Guide:

Skidmore/Superwinch Theory of Winching: