Ian Pendergast-White

Rescue training -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale graduate assistant Ian Pendergast-White of Charleston recently completed the intensive Ropes that Rescue Team Rescue Workshop training program. Here he practices rescue techniques as fellow trainee Mark Kuhn, in the basket, portrays a person needing rescue. Kuhn is a member of the Jackson County Rope Rescue Team and Pendergast-White anticipates he’ll soon be the newest member of that team. (Photo provided) Download Photo Here

December 01, 2009

Pendergast-White completes team rescue workshop

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Climbing rocks, hills and bluffs is Ian Pendergast-White’s idea of a good time. The Southern Illinois University Carbondale graduate assistant and avid outdoor adventurer recently completed intensive training that gives him additional tools to take his passion for climbing to a higher life-saving level.

Pendergast-White, of Charleston, logged 77 hours of training in October through the Ropes that Rescue program’s Team Skills Rescue Workshop. Based in Sedona, Ariz., the internationally renowned rescue-training program came to Draper’s Bluff in Lick Creek, where Pendergast-White was among a small group completing two days of classroom training and five days of ropes rescue training.

“It was very hands-on training,” said Pendergast-White. “I was well-versed in rescue operations from a climbing standpoint where you generally rely on the skills of yourself and your partner, but these team-based operations are entirely different since you have a larger group of rescuers, resources and equipment.”

After completing the intensive training, Pendergast-White, the son of Althea Pendergast and Randy White, will soon become the newest member of the eight-person Jackson County Rope Rescue Team. Police officers and paramedics comprise the rest of the rescue team.

Even before this advanced training, Pendergast-White demonstrated his climbing and rescue abilities on more than one occasion. He led a three-man team from SIUC that helped rescue a couple of O’Fallon area Boy Scouts stranded about 75 feet in the air on a rock formation in the Shawnee National Forest in September 2007.

He’s been a climbing specialist, rifle range instructor, paddling specialist and wilderness field staff member in a Wyoming wilderness program for youth at risk. That meant summers of mountain range horse packing trips, canoeing, water rafting, rock climbing, rappelling and exploring the Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. And, more than once, he’s helped someone emerge safely from a potentially dangerous situation.

The University’s Recreational Sports and Services Outdoor Adventure Programs have employed him at the base camp and climbing wall during his six-year collegiate career. He expects to graduate with his master’s in forestry in May 2010 and plans to continue working with a university-based outdoor program or with a government agency in a position utilizing his outdoor abilities.

“I hope to stay in the area,” Pendergast-White said.