Knots in rope for glacial travel

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Icemass

 
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Knots in rope for glacial travel

by Icemass » Thu Apr 26, 2018 11:24 pm

I am curious about anyone's thoughts regarding knots used in rope to arrest crevasse fall. I have also read that they are effective. There are many videos and descriptions that recommend using knots between climbers when travelling across glaciers. However as far as I can see, none give detail in what to do if you have to haul someone out and you have knots in the system. Petzel have a description, but it is shown using their "Tibloc" device. They also recommend that it is for use of only 2 people on a rope. Does this mean that using knots with 3 or more people on the rope is not recommended? I would appreciate your thoughts.

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ExcitableBoy

 
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Re: Knots in rope for glacial travel

by ExcitableBoy » Sat Apr 28, 2018 7:40 pm

I have used the system you describe. We put a butterfly knot every 5 meters or so between us. The trick to this approach is to carry enough rope in your rescue coils to reach your partner should they have a crevasse fall. The unknotted ends of the rope are key, you will definitely need a 60 meter rope for this.

I actually used this system in the Ruth Gorge, Alaska. My partner and I were descending from the Ham and Eggs Couloir on The Moose's Tooth. At the margin of the glacier it is quite broken up, and my partner, on skis, broke through a snow bridge.

His weight never came onto me as the knot jammed in the groove in the snow made by the rope. My partner was free hanging above a lake of very cold water.

I set up an anchor by picketting my skis and padded the lip and pulled out his skis and pack with the second rope I happened to be carrying and then he ascended the rope.

In a three person rope team knots are not needed as two people should be able to set up an anchor and haul system. Knots in the system would just complicate matters.

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Icemass

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Icemass

 
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Re: Knots in rope for glacial travel

by Icemass » Mon Apr 30, 2018 2:15 am

Thank you for your reply. So I think you have more or less confirmed what I thought.
They are:
1) Using knots in rope is really suitable for a 2 person team.
2) Knots are very effective at arresting a fall.
3) In a two person team you have the option of either letting the victim prussik out or by using the other end of the rope the second person can haul the victim out.
4) As you say in a 3 or more team, knots just complicate matters and it is not recommended.
If anyone has any further thoughts (agree or disagree) about this, I would be interested to hear. Thanks

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ExcitableBoy

 
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Re: Knots in rope for glacial travel

by ExcitableBoy » Fri May 04, 2018 7:27 pm

Timely piece by AAI guide/program director Jason Martin: http://blog.alpineinstitute.com/2018/05 ... rk-to.html

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Icemass

 
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Re: Knots in rope for glacial travel

by Icemass » Sun May 06, 2018 10:15 pm

Thanks for that link. Looking at that site, I could add one item more to my list - 5) If using knots in a rope with a 2 or 3 person team, then be prepared how to use a 'drop loop'. My guess is that many climbers know how to use the 3:1 haul system (with variations), however many simply just don't know (and are not taught in courses) the drop loop.


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