Z-Pulley
Anti-Slip Hauling System

 
Z-Pulley System Requirements
   
  Two Ice Pickets Left / Right Acsenders  
   
  Oscillante Pulley Fixe Pulley  
   
  30 or 60 cm Runners (2) Oval Carabiners (4)  
 
Note on Oval Carbiner Selection:

Oval Carabiners are preferred in the building of a Z-Pulley system when using Pulleys and Ascenders. The Oval shape equalizes the pulleys and ascenders when connected  as shown here.

The graphic on the right, shows the pulley is not self-centered and will cause additional strain on the pulley which can lead to binding during operation.

 
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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

Install a second secure anchor to act as a backup to the primary anchor.

Step 3

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.

   
  figure 1, Ascender with Oscillante figure 2, Ascender configuration at anchor.  
Step 4

Pull the loose rope toward the anchor system and install the Fixe pulley. Install two Oval Carabiners, one to attach to the ascender, the other connects to the anchor using a short sling or directly through the supplied holes in the picket.

Step 5

Attach the second ascender and attach it to the Oval Carabiner, as shown in figure 2.

Step 6

Run the remainder of the rope back through the Oscillante Pulley. The loose end of the rope is pulled to take up the slack, see figure 3. NOTE: In figure 3, we pulled on the take-up rope laterally to stretch the Z-Pulley configuration for clarity. When using the hauling system, the take-up rope is pulled in-line with the load for greatest advantage, see figure 4.

   
  figure 3, Complete Assembly figure 4, Complete Assembly  
One person is designated to apply the force using hand over hand, or walking backward methods. The other person repositions the ascender closest to the fall when it has been pulled up close to the anchor. The Ascender attached to the pulley at the anchor will hold the load while the first ascender is repositioned.

NOTE: The force applied on the load end of the rope will act as a saw into the glacier. To prevent this condition, place a ice axe, backpack or any object between the load and the glacier.

 

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