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Noob question about 3 people tying into rope.

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Noob question about 3 people tying into rope.

Postby JonnyAces7 » Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:50 pm

Hi all,

So I have been looking around for this on the forum but my search words are not getting me exactly what I am looking for so thought I would see if someone can help offhand. 2 friends and I have been doing some winter mountaineering in the White Mtns of NH and looking to move onto something bigger (Rainier). Gear-wise and fitness-wise we are pretty prepared. What I am trying to determine is the best way for 3 of us to get roped in for the glacier travel. We have a 50m 10mm dry rope and here is where I want to find out:

1. Distance of rope between each of us (min or max?).
2. Where the slack will go? (i.e. slack distributed between first and last climber or all on the one climber?)
3. Best knots to use for tying in at each spot? Was maybe thinking Alpine Butterfly for the middle guy would work but was not sure about first and last since I did not know if one would have an end of the rope or not.

Sorry if some of this is painfully obvious. Still learning the ropes (literally) and like to do my homework. Seems like the folks on here really know their stuff. Ofcourse, some trips to the rock gym will be in store for us well.
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Postby JHH60 » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:14 pm

The answer to these questions (and many other questions you should be asking :) ) may be found in the following book, which Rhyang kindly recommended to me when I mentioned to him that my crevasse skills were rusty and I needed to practice them.

http://books.google.com/books?id=lGeadHgrMBQC&printsec=frontcover&dq=glacier+travel+tyson&source=bl&ots=B6e7AkWww4&sig=yf4jWBPli746YuZcls0AVts4fl8&hl=en&ei=ZrBETL7SGI6gsQOCrMmqDA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCUQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

Crevasse rescue is something for which there's no substitute for hands-on experience. You need to get someone who knows what they are doing to walk you through it in the real world.
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Postby JonnyAces7 » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:20 pm

Thank you much.
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Postby RamblinWreck » Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:19 am

I'd also check out the book "Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills", has a lot of great info in everything from backpacking to crevasse rescue (of course some is person preference and style, but the book covers a good bit of that). I love this book if I have a question about something or just want to refresh.

From what I know and use is to tie in with a rewoven figure eight on the ends with a double bowline for the center climber. The distance between climbers can vary depending on how technical the current section of the route is, but the general is around 37-50m for the whole 3-4 person team (climbers spaced within that distance). You almost always try to keep the minimum slack in the line while not letting it tighten, letting it "slide" in between climbers without bunching. This minimizes the distance and force should a fall occur. Again, some is adapted depending on the route/terrain.

Do some reading and you can figure out the nitty gritty, and how you want to approach it based on the route and your climbing preferences.

Thats my 2cents and just some basics, hope that helps!

Edit: I'd distribute the slack/extra rope between climbers to minimize the coil each person is carrying and make it easier to manage the rope, most likely using a kiwi coil...
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Postby Alpinisto » Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:09 pm

JHH60 wrote:The answer to these questions (and many other questions you should be asking :) ) may be found in the following book, which Rhyang kindly recommended to me when I mentioned to him that my crevasse skills were rusty and I needed to practice them.


This book is a great resource. I have a more recent printing, the cover of which looks like this (in case you're looking for it in your local B&N or Borders):

Image

My partner and I studied it well before taking a 2-day crevasse rescue class with IMG, right before our Kautz climb. Understanding the process and logic behind the techniques made the class very easy for us, and let us focus on some of the finer details. If you have friends/partners that know glacier travel and crevasse rescue techniques, they -- along with this book -- could likely get you pretty well dialed-in.
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Postby mrchad9 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 4:32 pm

Distribute your slack between the first and last climber- that way if there is a crevasse incident, you have plenty of rope to work with to set up a rescue system.
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Postby Hotoven » Wed Aug 11, 2010 12:07 am

In my experience, an easy practical way to be safe is simply carry a portable teleporting system.

Image
Last edited by Hotoven on Wed Aug 11, 2010 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Jukka Ahonen » Wed Aug 11, 2010 5:57 am

JHH60 wrote:The answer to these questions (and many other questions you should be asking :) ) may be found in the following book...


Thanks for the tip! I just placed an order for this book, and even though I have to wait two weeks to get it, it seems just like the sort of book I was trying to find :)
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Re: Noob question about 3 people tying into rope.

Postby Brad Marshall » Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:34 pm

JonnyAces7 wrote:1. Distance of rope between each of us (min or max?).
2. Where the slack will go? (i.e. slack distributed between first and last climber or all on the one climber?)
3. Best knots to use for tying in at each spot? Was maybe thinking Alpine Butterfly for the middle guy would work but was not sure about first and last since I did not know if one would have an end of the rope or not.


This would be my answers to your questions based on how I was taught:

Distance between each climber (25 feet), slack goes in pack and use overhand knots for all.

Method: Locate the middle of the rope, tie an overhand knot, grasp knot in your left hand and pull both strands through your right extending your arms straight out to each side. Transfer the strands in your right hand to your left and repeat for a total of 5 times. When finished measuring out the strands tie an overhand knot in each strand, coil the remaining rope and place in the top of first and last climbers' packs.

Note: Overhand knots are fine due to the low impact forces involved during simple glacier travel.
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Postby DukeJH » Wed Aug 11, 2010 8:54 pm

I generally concur with Brad:

- Distance between climbers is the width of the widest crevas e that can be expected in the given terrain. I've used 45 feet in the North Cascades and 12 feet in Mexico. We didn't expect to see any crevasses in Mexico but wanted some space between us. Nothing like seeing nothging but the pack in front of you.

- Slack is distributed between the first and last on the rope. Key is that the man in the middle is in the middle of the rope. The rope can go over the top of the pack (practical) or around the first and last like a bandolier (looks cool for pictures).

- I've tied in with bowline on a bight, overhand on bight, figure eight on bight and follow through, and alpine butterfly. It really depends on your preference but if you us the bowline, you MUST CLIP the bight with a biner to your harness as this not may work loose. I prefer the bowline or figure eight for the end climbers.
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Postby mrchad9 » Wed Aug 11, 2010 9:36 pm

DukeJH wrote:12 feet in Mexico. We didn't expect to see any crevasses in Mexico but wanted some space between us. Nothing like seeing nothging but the pack in front of you.

Why were you roped?
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Postby Brad Marshall » Thu Aug 12, 2010 12:58 am

mrchad9 wrote:
DukeJH wrote:12 feet in Mexico. We didn't expect to see any crevasses in Mexico but wanted some space between us. Nothing like seeing nothging but the pack in front of you.

Why were you roped?


Don't want to speak for DukeJH but my guess would be intelligence.
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Postby mrchad9 » Thu Aug 12, 2010 1:27 am

Brad Marshall wrote:
mrchad9 wrote:
DukeJH wrote:12 feet in Mexico. We didn't expect to see any crevasses in Mexico but wanted some space between us. Nothing like seeing nothging but the pack in front of you.

Why were you roped?


Don't want to speak for DukeJH but my guess would be intelligence.

Har Har! You cleared that right up...

If you aren't concerned about crevasses, then I see no reason to use a rope unless the slope is too steep, in which case protection should be placed, but 12 feet seems too close for that to have been the situation.

12 feet also seems too close if the reasoning is for crevasse protection. If there is a moment where any slack at all gets in the rope (inevitable) and a crevasse incident occurs, then even if the remaining party is able to react instantly someone will likely be right on the lip of the crevasse. And there is likely no margin for a delayed reaction.

Just seems a little close together, if for crevasse protection. But if it isn't, so be it. That's why I ask.
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Postby DukeJH » Thu Aug 12, 2010 6:41 pm

I think the equation changes when the group is guided clients versus a group of experienced mountaineers.

Mexico was a guided trip and the guide roped us up, it might have been a more than 12 feet but it seemed pretty close to me. I believe his intent was for safety to have the shear mass of the team stop the fall. We had 4 on rope and the slopes weren't particularly steep although an uncontrolled fall would result in one hell of a ride. The largest crevasse we saw on the Jamapa Glacier was 6" wide and nobody stubbed their toe. A guide from another team took a client down to the hut and was returning to her team, unroped, which I think demonstrates the guide/client versus experienced mountaineer difference.

In my experience (I've done business with 3 different services and a total of 5 guides), guides tend to rope up their teams any time they're on a glacier whether or not experience or conditions indicate the possibility for concealed crevasses. I've come to the conclusion this is because they feel the mass of the rope team will likely stop a slip. In Switzerland, we did not rope up on lower portions of the Wildstrubelglacier because it was not snow covered and crevasses could easily be seen. Clear blue water ice. We did rope up once we reached the snowline and there were indications of some crevasses opening up based on the apparent slumping of snow bridges.
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Postby mrchad9 » Thu Aug 12, 2010 7:07 pm

That makes more sense DukeJH, than the other's explanation.

I too have see guided groups rope up, or behave differently than I think might actually be optimal.

Thanks.
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