This is a great class. I highly recommend it for those who are interested in such activities...Belize, Central America
Cave and Wilderness Rescue
This 8-day and 8 night course will challenge and thrill you while learning
rescue skills in the depths of the jungles of Central America. Based out of
Ian Anderson's Caves Branch Jungle Lodge and the Sibun Training Lodge,
participants will spend each day learning and training in the caves, rivers,
jungles and underground rivers that surround the lodge. Designed by Bruce
Hagen for the jungle and cave guides of Belize, the focus is on providing
rescue in the caves and wilderness with a minimum of equipment and
resources. Participants will train with local Belizean jungle guides from
Caves Branch and other districts of Belize.
Your primary instructor will be Bruce Hagen, a caver, rescue instructor and
paramedic from California who designed and has taught this course since
1996. No prior caving or rescue skills are necessary to participate in this
Level 1 course. Upon successful completion of the course the participant will
be well versed in the equipment, knots, rigging, anchors and anchor systems,
hauling and lowering systems, mechanical advantage, rappelling, SRT, litter
management, patient packaging, incident management and many other skills
and techniques necessary for rescue in a remote or challenging environment.
Because of the remote nature of this course there is a strong emphasis on
improvisational skills and 'making do'.
The training will include several scenarios in the rivers, jungles and caves of
Belize. Scenarios will include rescues in the jungle; cave passages, river
caves, underground waterfalls and deep underground pits. The last scenario
is a full day and evening exercise, often requiring 16-20 hours to complete.
The skills learned in this course are applicable to any wilderness setting and
are not just specific to caves.
Each day will begin with a hearty breakfast, followed by lecture and
demonstration. The class will then move to the jungle or cave location for
practice and training. Each day of training will build upon previous skills,
with the complexity and difficulty of the exercises increasing daily. We
break for lunch on location, and continue training until it is time to return to
the lodge for dinner. After a full course dinner we will gather around the
tables for coffee and participants will review and practice the various skills.
The haunting cry of the howler monkeys and other nocturnal sounds of the
jungle will provide a memorable backdrop for late night tales of adventure.
The Sibun Lodge is the site of the rescue and medical courses. The stucco
and thatch 3-story lodge overlooks the Sibun River. The top floor is the
classroom, a beautiful open-air room with vaulted thatch roof ceilings, and a
spectacular view of three jungle river valleys surrounded by limestone
mountains and cliffs. Students will bunk at the lodge, and outdoor showers
provide a welcome opportunity to scrub off the day's accumulation of sweat.
At the end of the day most students spend time cooling off or playing a
game of 'combat Frisbee' in the beautiful Sibun River, or enjoying a cool
beverage on the decks that overlook the river valleys.
Lodging at the Sibun Lodge is in thatch roof bunkhouses on a hill overlooking
the Sibun River. Meals are all you can eat tasty and traditional Belizean
fare, and served family style.
During the course the participant will demonstrate to the instructor
competence in over 4 pages of skills. Each skill will be signed off by an
instructor. Upon successful completion of the course the participant will
receive a Certificate of Completion, a copy of the signed Skills Checklist, a
signed Course Outline and Belize Cave and Wilderness Rescue Team T-shirt.
Only members of the team and those who successfully complete the course
wear the Rescue T-shirt. No t-shirts are ever given or sold except to those
who have earned the right to wear one. Outstanding participants will be
accepted as members of the Belize Cave and Wilderness Rescue Team and
will be placed on a response list for extended operations.
Awarding of Certificates and T-shirts, and the legendary 'Final Scenario
Night Party', follows the Final Scenario. Reggae and Dance music will
compete with the nocturnal jungle sounds for this one night only.
Upon completion of the course participants may choose to stay on at the
Caves Branch Jungle Lodge with a 20% discount in food, lodging and
expeditions. The Caves Branch district of Belize has many ceremonial caves
and Maya archaeological sites. After the course we may go horseback riding
in the jungle, explore a newly discovered cavern, take a trip to the coast or
dance the night away in a reggae bar.
Course dates: See calendar
Fees for this 90-100 hour Level 1 course are as follows:
Course Fee: $1390.00. Deposit of $500.00 required to hold a spot in the
Course fees cover your food, lodging, rescue training, course materials,
rescue T-shirt and equipment* and transportation* during the course. The
fees do not cover airfare or transportation to the lodge. Round-trip airfare
on Continental or American from California is usually about $550.00. (for
comparison, a typical 40-50 hour course in the U.S will cost about $600.00
and do not provide food or lodging). This course is a minimum of 90 hours and
takes place in a truly unique and challenging environment. Class size is
limited, and spaces usually fill 4-6 months early.
The refund policy is a happy blend of simplicity and fairness. The deposit is
non-refundable but can be transferred to another course minus 25%. Course
fees are non-refundable but can be transferred to another class minus 20%.
* You will be required to purchase your own helmet, headlamp, batteries,
gloves, seat harness, lifejacket and 5 caribiners, for use during the class. All
other equipment is provided.
** Occasionally arrangements can be made for you to be picked up at the
airport via shuttle for a fee. The busses from Belize City to the Caves
Branch District are reliable, inexpensive and easy to use.
Many participants have had no prior rescue training. Most are adventurous
souls with a passion for the unusual or the unknown. The majority of all
participants from the U.S have been adventurers who wish to expand their
horizons and be challenged in a truly unique and rare environment. Students
have attended this course from a variety of backgrounds including
paramedics, EMT's, firefighters, river guides, rangers, police and SWAT
officers, mountain and cave rescuers as well as people who are looking for an
opportunity to 'push the envelope'.
To obtain more detailed information or to make arrangements to attend the
class you may contact Bruce Hagen at: [email protected]
or at 831-
596-0184. You can check the Caves Branch website at: Cavesbranch.com or
contact Ian Anderson in Belize at: [email protected]