Rappelling and Diving Waterfall Fed Ponds

 

The picturesque Santa Paula Mountains are an inviting place for day hikers, backpackers and people who just want to escape the soaring summer temperatures by relaxing at the crystal-clear streams and cool ponds filled by local waterfalls.   The mountains, though fresh and breezy, are not always calm, however. The yearly flood season brings danger to recreational users of the area with swiftwater conditions. Steep cliff faces also pose a hazard, especially in wet weather. The photo to the left shows 'Copter Seven doing a fly-by at Buckhorn Falls during the flooding of 1999. 

The dive team must respond occasionally to call-outs in these mountain ponds. In order to be best prepared, specific training is required. This page documents the April 2002 training in the Santa Paula mountains.

 

Tanks and weight belts are flown in to the staging area by helicopter, while team members hike the rest of their gear in by way of  mountain trail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gear is unloaded at the landing zone (LZ).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The VC SAR Upper Ojai team joined us on this training to assist with rope work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ojai team members work to set anchors for rappelling down the cliff face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dive team's training objectives include rappelling down the cliff and diving in the waterfall fed pond below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Final preparations are made before  the exercise begins.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dive team members receive rope training from, Mike Jauregui, Team member of the Ojai Team. Mike has been a member of the moutain rescue team for over 24 years and has extensive climbing background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dieter Schwake rappels down first to act as water safety for the operation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team members first rappel in skin gear, then don full scuba for a second descent and dive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Climbers pull themselves back up the cliff with the help of an ascender. It becomes more difficult with the added weight of full scuba gear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sheriff Bob Brooks (shown here in blue shirt) and Undersheriff Craig Husband (below, white shirt) joined us for the rappelling exercise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After his dive, Tim Coates (not shown) finds out that not all disposable cameras are waterproof.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the training comes to an end, the helo returns to the LZ to be loaded up with gear too heavy to hike the 2.7 miles back to the starting point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

All loose ground items are secured before the copter takes off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team members gather the rest of their belongings for the hike back down.

 

 

 

 

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