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2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

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Re: 2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby ExcitableBoy » Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:38 pm

x15x15 wrote:i have limited experience here, thankfully, but i will still throw a wrench in this discussion. who here has really used pickets, deadmans and icescrews, etc... and i mean really used them? taken falls on them?

what happens when you have no real anchor point? ok, maybe a deadmans buried, but that aint much. there is a ton of stress being placed on your system as you raise the fallen...

just another thing that the dhude standing on top will have to figure out.


I've taken lead falls on ice screws.

I have been involved in three real life crevasse falls. At 13,500 on the Gibralter Ledges route in January I fell the entired distance between my partner and I into a poor bridged and hidden (by sastrugi) crevasse. I was able to prusik out, my partner had self arrested one foot from the crevasse edge.

My partner in Alaska fell all the way into a crevasse, was stopped by a butterfly knot in the rope. The snow was too soft for pickets so I picketed my skis for an anchor, hauled out his pack and skis, padded the lip, dropped the extra rope in anchored to the skis, and my partner was able to prusik out.

I responded to an incident in which two hikers were sledding down a gulley and fell into a deep moat. I equalized flukes for an anchor and lowered my partner in, and hauled, with help, both victims and my partner out.

Water and glacier ice take ice screws well. Hard neve take pickets well. But you are correct, there are snow conditions where nothing works well. Pickets in T slots, backpacks stuffed with snow and deeply buried, the heavy guy sitting in a deep hole, can all work as anchors. In my experience, in soft spring snow, flukes work best.
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Re: 2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby WouterB » Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:50 pm

Wastral wrote:Anyone else found that a straight 2:1 is generally sufficient if the guy in the hole helps even a tiny bit on a 2 person team?

Yes. Travelling on a 3 man rope team we once crossed a crevasse by downclimbing to a snowbridge. I put an anchor in before letting anyone attempt it, as they had to downclimb and as I wasn't too sure about the bridge. The first person passed without any problems. The second downclimbed without issues and as he was rearranging part of his gear that had shifted on his backpack (while I was shouting to move off the bridge first), the bridge collapsed. He lost part of his gear, including his axe, and was now dangling above a seriously big crevasse. Since I had the anchor in, and he wasn't hurt I threw down the remained of the rope creating a C. The angle of the crevasse was slightly overhanging so with no axe he wasn't able to help much. I still dragged him out of there within less than two minutes with minimal help from him.
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Re: 2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby WouterB » Wed Apr 25, 2012 11:54 pm

x15x15 wrote:i have limited experience here, thankfully, but i will still throw a wrench in this discussion. who here has really used pickets, deadmans and icescrews, etc... and i mean really used them? taken falls on them?

what happens when you have no real anchor point? ok, maybe a deadmans buried, but that aint much. there is a ton of stress being placed on your system as you raise the fallen...

just another thing that the dhude standing on top will have to figure out.

Don't think this is entirely the right place for this discussion, as in theory you don't take falls on this kind of gear in glacier rescue. Seriously if your partner fell in, especially when on a two person rope team as in the opening post (but really always) probe the area for crevasses before you move around too much. The last thing such a situation needs is you dropping in as well.

To quickly answer your question for as far as I can: I've abseiled on deadmans before and they obviously held without problems. I've abseiled from my burried ski's before without a poblem, and I've taken falls on ice screws when climbing without a problem. Never used pickets this far.

@EB, what are flukes? I've googled them and came up with fish.
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Re: 2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby ExcitableBoy » Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:00 am

WouterB wrote:
@EB, what are flukes? I've googled them and came up with fish.


This is what we called flukes. Image It is a deadman anchor that 'dives' deeper into the snow as it is loaded, provided it is placed properly.
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Re: 2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby Wastral » Thu Apr 26, 2012 12:51 am

An answer in regards to snow pro is that it is highly variable. There is another thread on here on snow anchors that just came up. It had the NZ testing numbers for pickets in vertical and horizontal orientations in variable conditions. There is another report out there done in Colorado I believe along with another report by the CAG.

Likewise you better not be very far from snow pro as it will fail under the dynamic load.

So, either carry a TON of snow pro, or DO NOT SLIP. IF you do slip, make sure you are very close to a piece of pro. Its why you often read the mantra, DO NOT SLIP. It is also why much ice climbing/mountaineering is mixed as it allows the use of far lighter better holding, generally speaking, protection. Obviously there are buckets of routes that use all ice screws. Hard ice is the exception rather than the rule in my experience. Sun changes everything in a significant way fairly quickly.

Ice is great, V thread it and amount of pro goes WAY down. Take a 22cm +++ Ice screw, a hanger or slightly stiffer wire and webbing, push it through and tie. make the webbing loop long as the triangle degree will be smaller. Such a system can hold 3kn to breaking the rope.
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Re: 2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby x15x15 » Thu Apr 26, 2012 2:36 pm

My partner in Alaska fell all the way into a crevasse, was stopped by a butterfly knot in the rope. The snow was too soft for pickets so I picketed my skis for an anchor, hauled out his pack and skis, padded the lip, dropped the extra rope in anchored to the skis, and my partner was able to prusik out.


good job, this sounds like a text book extraction. now, lets take this a step further. what if, and it is a BIG what if, your skis would not hold? what if getting to the edge to pad the lip is suicidal, or at least a high risk of putting you in? what if your partner in the hole is unable to anchor any gear to the crevasse wall? what if you have to sit on-top of your anchor to keep it in place? what if prussiks freeze to the rope? what if... extractions can take a long time in poor conditions, and it is damn cold in those damn, dark and frozen tombs...

again, the dude left on top better be a problem solver and willing to do whatever it takes to get his partner up.
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Re: 2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby ExcitableBoy » Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:55 pm

x15x15 wrote:good job, this sounds like a text book extraction. now, lets take this a step further. what if, and it is a BIG what if, your skis would not hold?


T-Slot both skis, bury my pack as a deadman. If that didn't work we would have been in a pickle. Stuck in a storm on the Ruth Gorge in early May with few other parties out.

x15x15 wrote:what if getting to the edge to pad the lip is suicidal, or at least a high risk of putting you in.

It was - I self belayed myself on the free rope anchored to the skis that I was dropping in -basically rappelling with an prusik back up.

x15x15 wrote:what if your partner in the hole is unable to anchor any gear to the crevasse wall?
My partner was free hanging and could not reach the crevasse walls, but I don't see what difference that makes.

x15x15 wrote:what if you have to sit on-top of your anchor to keep it in place?
Build a better anchor - T-slot pickets, flukes, skis, buried snow filled stuff sacks/back packs whatever it takes.

x15x15 wrote:what if prussiks freeze to the rope? what if... extractions can take a long time in poor conditions, and it is damn cold in those damn, dark and frozen tombs...
The Alaska crevasse fall was during a storm, it was damn cold, both in the crevasse and out. I've taken crevasse a fall in the winter on Rainier and it was warmer in the crevasse, out of the wind, a relief even - except the crevasse was 100 feet across over 200 hundred feet deep. .
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Re: 2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby x15x15 » Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:45 pm

ExcitableBoy wrote:
x15x15 wrote:good job, this sounds like a text book extraction. now, lets take this a step further. what if, and it is a BIG what if, your skis would not hold?


T-Slot both skis, bury my pack as a deadman. If that didn't work we would have been in a pickle. Stuck in a storm on the Ruth Gorge in early May with few other parties out.

x15x15 wrote:what if getting to the edge to pad the lip is suicidal, or at least a high risk of putting you in.

It was - I self belayed myself on the free rope anchored to the skis that I was dropping in -basically rappelling with an prusik back up.

x15x15 wrote:what if your partner in the hole is unable to anchor any gear to the crevasse wall?
My partner was free hanging and could not reach the crevasse walls, but I don't see what difference that makes.

x15x15 wrote:what if you have to sit on-top of your anchor to keep it in place?
Build a better anchor - T-slot pickets, flukes, skis, buried snow filled stuff sacks/back packs whatever it takes.

x15x15 wrote:what if prussiks freeze to the rope? what if... extractions can take a long time in poor conditions, and it is damn cold in those damn, dark and frozen tombs...
The Alaska crevasse fall was during a storm, it was damn cold, both in the crevasse and out. I've taken crevasse a fall in the winter on Rainier and it was warmer in the crevasse, out of the wind, a relief even - except the crevasse was 100 feet across over 200 hundred feet deep. .


okay, this is starting to sound like an argument that you are right and i am wrong. never my intention. i don't want to argue. i've been through the learning curve too and i know the ABCs of this topic. but, i feel it is crucial to let everyone know that crevasse rescues don't go by the text book , and you better be prepared.

but since you want to be told your right, Your Right! you know what you are doing.

now lets hope all the internet learners don't think it is going to be as easy as you make it out to be...

and ranier is the lower 48, so who cares...
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Re: 2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby ExcitableBoy » Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:03 pm

x15x15,

I never viewed our exchange as an argument or a pissing match. I honestly thought you were raising questions of 'what if' and I was answering what I did in those exact circumstances. You also raised some questions that I had no answer for. I've learned things the hard way, not just by books or courses and I've been around the block once or twice, but I don't need to be told I'm right, sometimes I'm wrong and I learn new things. As for Rainier being in the lower 48, well, it is not characteristic of the lower 48. It really is on more of an Alaskan scale, but you probably already knew that.
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Re: 2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby nickmech » Sat May 05, 2012 10:29 am

Josh, ignore these guys arguing back and forth. Get the book EB suggests by Andy Selters. 'Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue' Only one you need.
Easy to understand with good drawings. Then go out and practice.
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