Mountain rescue organizations team up with 10 Israelis

Groups share rescue advice
Mountain rescue organizations team up with 10 Israelis
The Daily Camera - June 25, 2005
By Corey Dahl

Two mountain rescue groups and 10 Israelis joined forces on Friday to search for a family of lost hikers that wasn't really lost.

Members of the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group and the Alpine Rescue Team staged a mock search and rescue for a group of volunteers with the Negev Highlands Rescue Team visiting from Israel. The groups exchanged ideas and shared techniques while searching for volunteers "lost" in the woods.

"One of the most valuable things that we get from it is, with all these people doing the same thing, you get completely different perspectives," said Steve Chappell, assistant group leader for the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group.

The Israeli group has been in Colorado for two weeks and will spend the weekend training with the Colorado groups. Sometime next year, a group from Colorado will travel to Israel to do the same. The two groups started the exchange program in 2002. Chappell said the Israelis have taught his group quite a few things.

"They are very good at man-tracking skills," he said. "In Israel in 2003, we were amazed at how they could track someone. We've sent some of our people to man-tracking training classes since then."

The Negev Highlands Rescue Team is a volunteer squad that performs rescues in an area of southern Israel, where the terrain is dry and sandy, with few trees and steep cliffs.

Israeli Dovi Roll, 37, said his team benefits from practicing their techniques in Colorado's forests and mountains.

"We're not used to trees," he said. "It's a good opportunity to see if our desert skills can help us in this terrain."

Some of the techniques the Israelis have learned in the United States haven't worked as well in their home country, though.

"We tried to use dogs once," said Israeli Eran Doron, 33. "But, after awhile, they want a Coke and air conditioning. They're exhausted. We use horses now."