Crevasse Rescue using the Z-Pulley Hauling System.
When a team partner drops into a crevasse, it requires fast
and decisive movement by all team members sharing the rope.
Without hesitation, drop into the self arrest position
facing away from the pull. If the fall is in front of you,
you must turn away from the side the rope is on and position
your ice axe over your shoulder drop to the ground digging
the ice pick deep into the surface. Push up on your toes
which allow the front points to dig in.
Once you stabilize
the fall, talk to everyone on the team and formulate a plan
to rescue the fallen climber. Determine who can hold the
fall. In a 3 or 4 person rope team, the middle positions are
assigned the task of holding the weight alone. The end
climber should slowly release their self-arrest position to
determine if the weight can be supported by the middle
position. The end climber should remain secured to the rope
and establishes a secure anchor using an ice picket or buried ice axe
to name just two.
Setup a secure anchor system between the crevasse edge
and the person holding in the self-arrest position, see
Anchor Systems. Once the anchor system is setup, attach
a prussik or ascender toward the middle positions and
release the end of the rope from your harness. Connect to
the new prussik or ascender which allows the free end of the
rope to be used in the hauling system.
Find out if the fallen climber has been injured. If they
respond that they are not injured, have them do a survey of
his or her surrounding to determine if they can self-rescue
using prussiks or ascenders. One option that should always
be reviewed might include lowering the climber if there
exists a stable bottom that may allow for a scramble out of
either side of the fissure.
If the climber is injured or does not respond, quickly
formulate a plan to build a hauling system to pull the
climber up. The Z-Pulley system utilizing ascenders provides
a fast method which can be setup by one person. If you're
traveling with a larger group, you can gang together using
tug of war to man-haul him up without rigging pulleys.
Setting up the Z-Pulley Hauling System.
Transfer the load from the climber holding
the with self-arrest to the secure anchor by attaching a
prussik or ascender along the rope and connecting it to the
anchor using a short sling or a carabiner and a double
bow-line knot. Position the prussik or ascender by sliding
it down the rope until it is taunt. Test the anchor by
releasing the person holding in self-arrest until it is
certain the anchor system will hold the weight.
Install a second secure anchor to act as a
backup to the primary anchor.
For these examples, we will assume
ascenders are being used. Attach the ascender to the taunt rope near the edge
of the crevasse. This will become the main gripper when
pulling the rope. Connect a Oval Carabiner and Oscillante
pulley to the ascender, as shown in figure 1.