Vol. 17: Makeshift: Mountain Bike Rescue

You need to figure out a way to get your friend, who weighs a good 30 pounds more than you, up off that ledge and back down the trail to your car before nightfall.



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Mountain Bike Rescue

The Scenario:

You and your best friend, both experienced mountain bikers, take off on a daylong jaunt to explore a little-known and rocky canyon trail. The ride is challenging but spectacular until, as you finally decide to turn around and head back, your friend's bike hits a loose rock, skids out from under him, and they both topple off the edge of the trail down into the canyon. Smashing his knee in the fall, your friend manages to land on a thin, unstable ledge about 15 feet straight down from the trail, only able to keep himself from falling farther by grabbing onto a small but secure tree branch jutting out from the rock, while his bike cartwheels out of sight to the bottom of the canyon.

The Challenge:

Your friend is clearly in a lot of pain and there's no telling how long the ledge he's on will hold, so riding the many miles out to the trailhead to call for outside help is not an option. And, as is always the case in these situations, your cellphone gets no signal out here. Bottom line, you need to figure out a way to get your friend, who weighs a good 30 pounds more than you, up off that ledge and back down the trail to your car before nightfall - which is maybe four or so hours off.

What You Have:

In addition to your bike, you've got your daypack, which contains a canteen of water, some protein bars, a basic bicycle repair tool kit, an extra inner tube, your Swiss Army knife or Leatherman tool, a strong, flexible, 3-foot wire saw with split-ring finger-handles on both ends, some waterproof matches, and roughly 30 feet of strong nylon cord you use to tie your bikes onto the car. Since you know from experience that you can’t predict the weather, you also have some waterproof nylon rain gear and a warm jacket.

There are some small trees on the upper side of the trail but none immediately adjacent to the ledge where your friend fell. Though he's conscious, it's best to assume he can do very little to assist you in getting him off the ledge below, and he certainly won't be able to walk if and when you do. However, he does have enough strength in his arms to hang onto the tree branch, at least for now. So what are you going to do?




Send a detailed description of your MakeShift solution with sketches and/or photos to by May 22, 2009. If duplicate solutions are submitted, the winner will be determined by the quality of the explanation and presentation. The most plausible and most creative solutions will each win a MAKE T-shirt and a MAKE Pocket Ref. Think positive and include your shirt size and contact information with your solution. Good luck! For readers' solutions to previous MakeShift challenges, visit makezine.com/makeshift.

And the next MakeShift challenge could be yours! That's right, we're throwing open the doors and offering you the chance to create your own MakeShift to challenge the world. Just submit an original scenario in the familiar format - the challenge, what you have, etc. - with some ideas of how you think it should be solved. The winning scenario will not only be published right here but will also earn you a $50 gift certificate for the Maker Shed. The deadline is May 22, 2009, so get out there and start looking for trouble!

Extras

Additional content for this article, available only online.

MakeShift 17: Analysis, Commentary, and Winners


by Lee D. Zlotoff; June 30, 2009 | Technorati | del.icio.us

MakeShift 17: Frank Tipaldo's Most Creative Winning Entry

Frank Tipaldo's entry was awarded the MakeShift Master Creative award for his solution to MakeShift 17.
by Lee D. Zlotoff; June 30, 2009 | Technorati | del.icio.us

MakeShift 17: Andy Tran's Most Plausible Winning Entry

Andy Tran's entry was awarded the MakeShift Master Plausible award for his solution to MakeShift 17.
by Lee D. Zlotoff; June 30, 2009 | Technorati | del.icio.us

MakeShift 17: Jayne Johnsen-Seeburger's Honorable Mention Entry

Jayne Johnsen-Seeburger's entry was awarded an Honorable Mention award for his solution to MakeShift 17.
by Lee D. Zlotoff; June 30, 2009 | Technorati | del.icio.us

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