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2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

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2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby Josh Lewis » Sat Apr 21, 2012 11:31 pm

I plan on heading to Paradise tomorrow with a buddy of mine to practice crevasse rescue for training to climb Rainier this Spring. We intend to go up the Gibraltar ledges as a 2 man team. For a long time I been doing many trips as a 2 man team which in the past I knew how to do it but over time have become rusty in doing it.

So does anyone happen to know a link to a site, video, diagram, or would be kind enough to explain it to me, it would go very appreciated. I've practiced 3 man rescue many times. It's possible I remember the 2 man team properly, but I want to make sure. 8)
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Re: 2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sun Apr 22, 2012 12:01 am

Hey Josh,

The only real difference is insted of a Z haul system is setting up a Z x C system. There are a couple of different ways to set one up. Here is an image of one: http://images.summitpost.org/original/700712.jpg I haven't been able to find a good video online, but I think either Freedom of the Hills or Andy Selter's glacier travel book covers it well. Practice at Muir before heading up the Ledges. You'll each need to carry two pickets and three pulleys.

If you haven't been up Gibralter Ledges before, bear in mind it is a hard route to protect and exposed. I have found it easier to not rope up from Camp Muir to the top of the exit chute. From there to the summit are some monster crevasses, although they should be well bridged this time of year. If you decide you need to protect the Ledges, pitons and a stubby ice screw or two may be your best bet.
Last edited by ExcitableBoy on Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:17 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby Josh Lewis » Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:34 am

Thanks EB for the reply. :) I admit I am not familiar with the C system, the method I performed the 2 man rescue was by using caribeaners with no pully device. But the method your mentioning sounds better.

I was a bit confused with the diagram with the power point and atc part. The belay device is used for it? I have the Freedom of the Hills Book (8th edition) which I read again today which it doesn't seem to go into details about how exactly it works although it says something about using a 3:1 system.

As for the route itself, my buddy plans on bringing a few ice screws, I was planning on having us each have an ice axe in one hand and a ice tool in the other. I might be doing this route in a few days. 8)
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Re: 2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby mconnell » Sun Apr 22, 2012 1:49 am

You will definitely want pulleys. A while back, I set up an ZxC with biners. I was barely able to lift my son (60 lbs at the time) due to the friction in the system.

An ATC can be used to build an autoblock. You tie a prussik to keep the system from letting the victim go back down. Run it through the ATC so that the prussik is pushed up the rope as you raise the victim. Hopefully someone will have either a better explanation or a photo.
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Re: 2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sun Apr 22, 2012 2:13 am

mconnell hit the nail on the head. The ATC is there to keep the Prusik from getting sucked into the pulley. Some pulleys are built to be 'Prusik minding' meaning you don't need an ATC.

Another method of setting a Z x C is to attach a third pulley to the anchor power point and running the pulling end of the rope it. This will result in pulling towards the crevasse and fallen climber. Another method involves dropping a loop to the fallen climber who attaches it to his/her harness with a pulley.

I can't find my copy of FOTH, may have loaned it out. I'm surprised it didn't cover the Z x C, but I'm reasonably certain Andy Selter's book covers it.
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Re: 2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby dmiki » Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:43 am

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Re: 2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby mountainsandsound » Sun Apr 22, 2012 3:53 pm

Josh: In "Alpine Climbing" Mark Houston and Kathy Cosley make a good case for the dropped loop system as the best for a two person team. I don't think it is discussed in freedom of the hills. It is 6:1, and you need a decent length of rope (each climber needs spare coils), so if you're travelling with a full length of rope this won't work. I practiced it last weekend with a friend and it worked pretty well. You have the luxury of setting up the rescue rope so it is running nicely over the lip and not entrenched.
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Re: 2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:47 pm

Some more thoughts. Take at least a 50 meter rope, this will give you enough rope to drop the free end to the climber while maintaining a safe distance between climbers, about 50 feet for Rainier. Tie butterfly knots in the rope between the two climbers at 5 meter intervals. If one climber goes in a crevasse, one of the knots will jam in the trench created by the rope, stopping the climber. Each climber must be carrying enough rope in coils to drop into the fallen climber to prusik out on or create a hauling system. Don't forget to pad the lip of the crevasse.

This is done by guides quite a lot and I have used it myself in an actuall crevasse fall in the Ruth Gorge. It worked so well that when my partner took a full crevasse fall the impact never hit me - the knot took the full brunt of the fall. Fortunately, I was carrying the second rope which I was able to drop in. We had to cut the rope that we were tied into as it was so deeply embedded in the snow as to be unretrievable.
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Re: 2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:28 pm

pinang wrote:how did he fall in, slip bridge collapse? if you have a 3+ man team you do the grab the rope and pull your friend to safety trick. BTW how the freak was the rope unrecoverable?


We were returning from the Ham and Eggs Couloir route on the Mooses Tooth. The margins of the Ruth glacier were heavily crevassed, although mostly covered. We had both skied over a slumping bride on the way up. On the way down I skiied over the bridge and my partner was skiing across it when it fully collapsed. The snow was soft and deep, so much so that I used my skis as giant pickets for the anchor. The soft snow allowed the rope to entrench as deeply as it did and the butterfly knot likely also made it even more firmly entrenched.
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Re: 2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:16 pm

pinang wrote:Silly boy going back across when you new it was slumping, I guess you had no other options right?

No other options.
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Re: 2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sun Apr 22, 2012 10:20 pm

pinang wrote:good cards lucky you had a rope on.

I always insist on roping up on glaciers.
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Re: 2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby BigMitch » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:08 am

Please forgive the highjack, but "Ham and Eggs" = expert. Do what EB says.
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Re: 2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby ExcitableBoy » Mon Apr 23, 2012 1:22 am

BigMitch wrote:Please forgive the highjack, but "Ham and Eggs" = expert. Do what EB says.

Not sure I'm an expert, but I have some experience and as the saying goes "Good judgement is born of experience, experience is born of bad judgement."
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Re: 2 Man Crevasse Rescue Advice Wanted!

Postby dadndave » Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:51 am

pinang wrote:how did he fall in, slip bridge collapse? if you have a 3+ man team you do the grab the rope and pull your friend to safety trick. BTW how the freak was the rope unrecoverable?


Don't forget that ice and snow melt under pressure and quickly refreeze when the pressure is off.
What is this "scientific method" you speak of?
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