SRT - Single Rope Technique

Single Rope Techniques are used extensively all over the world for many rope operations. This is a 2-4 day course with optional certification, designed to teach multiple rope skills using a single rope.

SRT can significantly enhance the capabilities of technicians of other rope disciplines, including rope access, tactical operations, and technical rescues.

Skills include vertical rope movement, horizontal movement, passing obstacles. and navigating re-belays, deviations and edge transitions.

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Small Party Assisted Rescue

This advanced course is about using SRT techniques to perform interventions and rescues utilizing only lightweight and personal gear.

  • SPAR requires SRT proficiency, and an understanding of several rescue topics such as mechanical advantage, closed loop rigging, and counterweight techniques.
  • SPAR rescue tactics can be integrated into virtually every rope operation and rope rescue industry, i.e. Mountain Rescue, Tactical Operations, Arborist, Rope Access, Cave, and Fire Rescue.

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Tactical Rope Operations Program

Vertically Speaking is proud to offer a comprehensive, reality-based program on tactical rope operations, with several certification options available.

Our tactical instructors have integrated techniques and skills from MANY rope industries into a uniquely capable and diverse program that combines urban, rescue, mountain, SPAR, tree and cave operations techniques. Each of these industries has techniques and tricks that can be utilized in various tactical situations, so long as the limitations of each technique is understood.

Combining techniques from these industries into hybrid solutions gives our operators unique capabilities.

What is Tactical ?

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Arborist - Tree Operations

Trees present a unique challenge to workers, rescuers, and tactical operators. More and more, police, fire, military, and rescue units are called to conduct rescue (people, planes, parachutes) or intervention operations (protestors / suicide) in tree canopies... a high-consequence environment almost exclusively traveled by arborists using special techniques and gear. Unlike conventional rescue, they require bottom-up approaches almost by default, without the benefit of directly inspecting your anchors or suspended tie-in's. Bucket trucks are frequently not available. The skills of remote rigging with a throw line, and managing multiple types of vertical mobility systems in a tree, are critical for safe rescue operations or work.

Our courses focus on tree specific mobility and intervention with other subjects. We do NOT cover tree care or chainsaw operations. (Contact ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) for more sources on this.

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M - SPAR (Mountain - Small Party Assisted Rescue) Lightweight Mountain Rescue

Every technical rescue team and mountain rescue team has its go-to, pre-planned rescue system. But what happens if part of your planned system is missing? What if you have to rescue one of your own responders / teammates?

What about remote venues such as high alpine, glacier, canyon, cave, etc.? Many teams will carry heavy systems to these venues out of fear of losing redundancy or safety factors. This course teaches how to utilize Mountain - Small Party Assisted Rescue advanced techniques for M - SPAR teams consisting of two to four members responding to high urgency alpine rescues using lightweight minimal gear. The training focuses on rapid emergency glacial extrications and responder self rescue in the alpine environment.

SPAR rigging techniques and philosophies enable a team to perform high-urgency rescues without the need for a large number of personnel or gear, WITHOUT sacrificing safety.

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Law Enforcement Mountain Operations - Including Tactical Tracking and Backcountry Mobility

Most police academies do a great job preparing officers for urban duty. But few teams have routine experience operating in remote areas.

This course addresses different kit requirements for backcountry duty gear, unique mobility and environmental challenges (such as water obstacles, vertical surfaces, snow, ice, cold), and prolonged exposure to grueling mountain environments.

  • Tactical Tracking is a major component of backcountry operations. We teach law enforcement and the military how to track fugitives in the wilderness, over rough mountain terrain, snow, and water.
  • Signcutting is a valuable tracking technique for jumping ahead, reacquiring lost spoor, and securing perimeter security for high-value installations and buildings.

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Tactical Subterranean Operations

Cave rescue is one of the most extreme and demanding types of rescue in the world under the best of circumstances.  Now add the element of an armed human antagonist that requires tactical intervention, and you have one of the lowest frequency, highest consequence situations an operator can face.

  • Zero ambient light, unpredictable airflow, confined space, little to no underground to surface communications, and brutal environmental conditions makes this one of the most challenging types of tactical deployments.


  • This course was requested of Vertically Speaking by law enforcement agencies that have had to respond to barricaded gunmen, kidnapping suspects, and suicidal subjects that have entered recreational cave systems or mines.

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Why Use Vertically Speaking?

1. Vertically Speaking is not monogamous to any one rope industry.
We pull from mountain rescue, cave rescue, swift water, arborist and aerial rescue, fire-based technical rescue, and tactical rope operations. No single discipline has ALL the answers. One policy, standard, or dogma won’t necessarily fit all situations, even within a single industry.

Many of our solutions are hybrid integrations of several industries. The result is a truly unique skillset that virtually no one else teaching rope work can provide.

2. We teach “Have a reason for everything you do,” versus “Always do it this way.”
Environments and conditions vary widely, and sometimes change mid-operation. Ropes vary according to industry, region, country, and culture, and your anchoring, redundancy, and rope travel techniques will vary accordingly.

There is a difference between dogmatic redundancy and risk-assessment based redundancy. Ironically, the latter is typically just as safe as the former, but often less obvious because it is rigged internally, instead of with 2 of everything.

3. We train technicians, not riggers.
If your team is only choreographed for 2-rope systems or specific niche gear (specific devices or rope diameters), you're limiting your team’s capability... which is fine, as long as you can guarantee your rescue conditions stay within those parameters. But rescues and extreme rope operations tend to be unpredictable and evolving, so we feel a diverse tool box is better than a lean one.

  • A “rigger” memorizes patterns and works with familiar gear, harnesses, ropes, and maneuvers. They can rig and perform, but their understanding of the underlying physics and ability to problem-solve are somewhat diminished. What happens when “rigging bag 1” isn't available?
  • A “technician” internalizes the physiology of rope work, is fluent in rope travel, and can do nearly anything with anything. We urge our students to become masters – not just of their specific rope discipline, but in others as well.
  • The best rope lab for these techniques is NOT in a lab with new ropes. It's in the real world, where ropes are used, wet, and dirty; where operators are tired, in the dark, or the cold.  It comes from decades of experience, from technicians who actually performed these skills in these various industries. Our cadre has this kind of diverse, real-world experience.

Next Steps...

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