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  • During the Utah Artificial High Directional Workshop (AHDW), a Monday morning tour of the Rock Exotica factory with Rock Thompson is always a highlight of the program. The AHDW in Utah is always a Monday through Sunday affair starting with this tour and ending on Sunday at the Salt Lake City Fire Training Center which is normally not busy on weekends. Here, Rock is showing off one of the most difficult (code intensive) parts being milled by the Rock Exotica milling machines: The gin pole head for the Arizona Vortex. See this part on the next slide.

    See more photos of the factory and the process in this slide show.

  • The Arizona Vortex gin pole head milled from from one solid piece of T-6 aluminum. Rock indicates that this one part has a long list of code which needed to be written to make it. 

  • As you enter Rock Exotica, this is the entrance display.

  • Darrell Coats at the Utah 2019 Artificial High Directional Workshop (AHDW) at the South Davis Metro Fire Station 81 training tower where students have constructed a multi-Vortex frame. For lack of a better term for it (we try and name them when we come up with something different) we called it a K Frame.... It is a quasi A-Frame / Sideways A-Frame!

  • View of the AzVortex "K-Frame" from above. The South Davis Metro Fire Department is our usual training location for the first initial part of the program. It has many great possibilities fort rigging the AZ Vortex. 

  • Students get a good mixture of wilderness and industrial venues in the Utah Artificial High Directional Workshop which is sometimes hard to find (where both are readily available). 

  • We just cal him "JH" for short. JH is one of our students who has been coming to RTR for many years from South Korea. He usually leads a strong South Korean "Contingent" to the States for some type of program. He is a strong rigger and his business in SK has sold much Rock Exotica gear over the years. 

  • This is a rock formation called a "prow" which may simulate the outside corner of a building or a situation you see here. Students set up two "Watson Frames" in one day here at Big Cottonwood Canyon above the highway on a large cliff face overlooking the parking lot. The Watson Frame gets its name from the place where it originated which was Watson Lake Dam in Prescott's Granite Dells, Arizona. 

  • The study of "outriggers" using the Arizona Vortex is one of the topics in the Utah (or anywhere) Artificial High Directional Workshop. Here at the Salt Lake City Fire Training Center, we are using an outrigger to widen the guying angle on a gin pole. 

  • A "lazy leg" Sideways A-Frame set up in one of the windows of the Slat lake City Fire Training Center. 

  • Utah Artificial High Directional Workshop: On the top of the South Davis Metro Fire Station 81, there is a rather nice covered rooftop venue which is ideal for multiple complex Vortex arrangements like you see here. We have rigged a rigging pod upside down to the beam above and used it to stabilize a standard "lazy leg" Sideways A-Frame at the edge. 

    See the next slide for a side view on this. 

  • Del Miller, (far right) RTR Instructor for Mississippi, helping with Instruction at the Salt Lake City Fire Training Center during the final day of the Artificial High Directional Workshop in 2019. That means it is Hawaiian Shirt Day! Coming out of a confined space suing an interior AZ Vortex. 

  • Within industrial and wilderness settings, the study of "jamb poles" is essential for making complex anchoring attainable. here at the Salt Lake City Fire Training Center, students have used an AZ Vortex to anchor pulley systems and also the capstan winch used in a frame luffing operation.

  • Another Jamb Pole anchoring arrangement at the South Davis Metro Fire Station 81.  The lower jamb pole is working in tandem with the upper to hole it from lifting out. 

  • Multiple Arizona Vortex kits were used to construct this elaborate "luffing" gin pole to extricate multiple victims straight up the shaft away from the walls and then bring them into the door opening with the two AZTEK kits above. Hawaiian Shirt Day 7 exercise with students of the Artificial High Directional WorkshopThe frame actually resembles a saw horse on its side. 

  • Big Cottonwood Canyon is the venue for the wilderness portion of the Utah Artificial High Directional Workshop. Here a rather nicely done Sideways A-Frame with a cantilever head. 

  • At the Salt Lake City Fire Training Center there are large pits in between walkways where it is ideal to actively luff a frame out into the space. Here we are using opposing pulley systems to accomplish this task. Notice the two gin pole heads used together at the top of the A-Frame instead of using the standard blue A-Frame joiner. 

  • RTR has been 'sponsoring' (Adopt-A-Highway) a two mile section of Arizona scenic highway 89-A in Oak Creek Canyon since 1993. This beautiful scenic section is just above Midgley Bridge and includes a spectacular vista of the red rock Mitten Ridge and famous Teapot Rock (just behind the right sign post). 


    This John William Waterhouse painting illustrates Alfred Tennyson's poem The Lady of Shalott. Draped over the boat is the fabric the lady wove in a tower near Camelot. But she brought a curse on herself by looking directly at Sir Lancelot. With her right hand she lets go of the chain mooring the boat. Her mouth is slightly open, as she sings 'her last song'. She stares at a crucifix lying in front of her. Beside it are three candles, often used to symbolize life. Two have blown out. This suggests her life will end soon, as she floats down the river.

    From Reed Thorne: The classic Brittish Pre-Raphaelite style John William Waterhouse painting of The Lady of Shalott from the Tenneyson Poem. The painting is my favorite classical piece found in the Tate Museum in London. I stood in awe of it when I visited the Tate in 1974.