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The Climbing Club • View topic - Crevasse Rescue

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 Post subject: Crevasse Rescue
PostPosted: Wed Apr 28, 2010 9:19 pm 
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Dr. Crevasse
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Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2002 11:17 am
Posts: 921
Location: Seattle
This is not meant to be a detailed guide, but a reminder of the steps involved. I highly recommend getting a book with good illustrations. This is my favorite: .

The basics steps of crevasse rescue:
1. Arrest the fall. The last climber talks with the middle climber to ensure the middle climber can hold the fall. The last climber then uses his prusik to belay himself towards the middle climber. While moving forward, he uses his ice ax to probe for more crevasses.

Image

2. Build an anchor. Place two pieces of protection (usually pickets or ice screws). After the climber places the first piece, he should clip it to the rope so that if the climber who is arresting slips, the one piece should catch the fall. Connect the two pieces together with a long sling and make a master point of the anchor. Tie a prusik knot (ratchet prusik)around the rope going to the fallen climber and connect it to the anchor with a locking biner. In more advanced technique a should be used so the system is reversible. Now the climber who was arresting gets up slowly and the anchor is weighted. Above the the ratchet prusik, a figure eight on a bite is tied and clipped into a separate biner to act as a backup to the prusik.

Image

3.Check on the climber. The climber on the end now prusiks towards the lip of the crevasse to communicate with the fallen climber. As he travels he should be probing for additional crevasses. Once he reaches the lip, he should determine the condition of his fallen comrade and what rescue technique is appropriate. If life threatening injuries exist then rappel in to treat them. He should also pad the lip with ice axes or packs. While this is taking place, the middle climber undoes his foot prusik and uses a girth hitch to attach it to his harness. The other end gets clipped into the anchor. Once he is attached to the anchor, he can undo his alpine butterfly knot.

4. Rescue*. Assuming a z-pulley is required. The end climber goes back to the anchor (belaying himself with his prusik) and gets a prusik from his partner. He now goes back and places the prusik on the line going down to the fallen climber. A pulley gets clipped to this line and the 'z' of the z-pulley is formed. The climber at the anchor puts in a pulley attached to the anchor with a locking biner. When they are ready to haul, the backup figure eight is removed. They system should look like this:

Image

Now both climbers can haul. The climber attached to the anchor must tend the pulley to ensure that the prusik does not get sucked through. The system can be reset by weighting the ratchet prusik and moving the lower prusik closer to the lip of the crevasse. Once the fallen climber gets close to the lip, care must be taken not to crush them. Assist the climber over the lip as needed.

5. Regroup: Give additional first aid if necessary. Is the group ok to continue? Is it safe to descend? Etc.

*Here we have gone through the steps of the z-pulley construction. However, just because you know how to build one does not mean that's what you should do first if someone falls in a crevasse. Hauling someone out is time consuming. Other options should be considered first:
1. Can the climber climb the walls of the crevasse?
2. Can the climber prusik out?
3. Can the climber be lowered to a ramp and walk out (keep him on belay)?
4. Do you need to haul the climber out (z-pulley)?

_________________
"It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid." Q


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