Our own story began in May 1993 when president, Lance Piatt, an avid outdoorsman faced a life or death crisis when he and two friends got lost on his first climb up Mount Hood.
“This was a route that every body and their mom does,” Lance remembers, “People in high heels, you name it. It’s a trade route, but there is one catch. Because the route has open space, should bad weather hit, you could lose your bearings.”
Which was exactly what happened.
After the climbers finished ascending to Mt. Hood’s Pearly Gates, the weather nose-dived. Within minutes, the climbers found themselves in blizzard conditions with freezing ice and no visibility. Becoming disoriented, they drifted off the trail heading towards the treacherous Zigzag Canyon.
“Suddenly I realized that we were in an ‘oh shit’ moment. There I was, thirty-two years old, realizing I was finished. I choked back tears, prayed and thought about my six-month old son, Torrey, and my wife, Monika. It was hard to accept that my life was about to take a turn.”
The men used the only tool they had to call for help: a cell phone, which, in 1993, was something no climber had ever used before to activate a rescue. Incredibly, the call got through to 911. “The mountain rescuers knew exactly where we were. Within hours, they reached us. We had hypothermia but were okay.”
Getting pulled off Mount Hood changed Lance’s life.
Lance Piatt Rope Access“Sitting at the Timberline Lodge, I saw that my lack of experience and training almost got me killed. Still, the whole thing made me want to go right back up on the mountain again. In that moment, I realized how much I loved the world of gear, rigging and rescue.”
Following that passion, in less than a year, Lance moved his family to Sisters, Oregon where he started volunteering with Deschutes County Search and Rescue, then with Jefferson County SAR, staying with them for nine years. “I wanted to repay the debt to the guys who risked their necks to get me off Mount Hood.”
Knowing firsthand what can happen if you don’t have the know-how, gear or ability to handle the unexpected, Lance began working in the field of rigging and gear, eventually building a company into the present Rescue Response Gear. Now, many years later, Rescue Response Gear is a recognized leader throughout the industry as a source of best products, gear analysis and rigging education and training. In addition, the company’s Red Ibex Films, aka Raven Collective Media, has close to 400 use-specific videos and Brand In Use videos on gear and rigging. You know this company as Rigging Lab Academy.