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Hauling on a thin static cord (crevasse rescue)


Original Post
Charles Proctor · · Somerville, MA · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 75
Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 661

Have you checked out the Petzl RAD system?

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

You'll be skiing unroped, but will carry a rope? Make sure the one of you that falls into the crevasse doesn't have the rope! 

Charles Proctor · · Somerville, MA · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 75
Charles Proctor · · Somerville, MA · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 75
FrankPS wrote:

You'll be skiing unroped, but will carry a rope? Make sure the one of you that falls into the crevasse doesn't have the rope! 

That's the whole reason for both of us having a rope!

Jack Servedio · · Raleigh,NC · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 35

Microtrax and microscender grab 7mm PMI cord and hold just fine. ATC guide is not going to work reliably because it's thin enough for the load strand to slip next to or underneath the brake strand.

Sunny-D · · SLC, Utah · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 700

What about the Beal gully 7.3 dynamic or another super skinny set of ropes so they could be used in a pair or individually in glacier travel mode...

Nick Sweeney · · Spokane, WA · Joined Jun 2013 · Points: 661

Yeah, the RAD setup is spendy.  It is on sale for $299 on backcountry for the whole kit, and you could easily flip the whole setup on MP after your trip without losing much cash (if any).

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275
Charlie Proctor wrote:

That's the whole reason for both of us having a rope!

I missed the part about both of you having a rope. I hereby retract my smart ass comment. :)

Bill Lawry · · New Mexico · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 1,630
Charlie Proctor wrote:

That's the whole reason for both of us having a rope!

The confusion boils down to semantics.

I think you mean ...

"That's the whole reason for each of us to have a rope for a total of two ropes!"

... instead of ...

“That's the whole reason for us to bring one rope”


Charles Proctor · · Somerville, MA · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 75
Bill Lawry wrote:

The confusion boils down to semantics.

I think you mean ...

"That's the whole reason for each of us to have a rope for a total of two ropes!"

... instead of ...

“That's the whole reason for us to bring one rope”


Yes! What I meant to say is that each of us will have a rope for a total of two. My friend already has a 8mm dry-treated twin/half rope that we will use to rope up together where appropriate so I am trying to go as minimal as possible with the second rope as it will likely always stay in my pack. 

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 14,459

A few ideas to consider -- from a non-expert who nevertheless has done lots of skiing on glaciers in the European Alps, together with European partners of different nationalities and training + certification backgrounds, and who has observed lots of Euro ski parties on glaciers - (and who has skied solo lots on Euro Alps glaciers).

* crevasse rescue with a 2-person party is serious and tricky and difficult in the best of circumstances. Then consider the actual event with broken terrain, worsening weather - (and partner injured because he was not roped when fell in?)

* therefore a key safety factor is to be able to summon larger rescue party with serious (heavier) equipment -- by choosing to do your tours in areas with good mobile phone service, and carry a phone with a SIM card with good "roaming" service, so you have a chance to get a connection, and know the mountain rescue phone# for your chosen region -- (and think about consequences of "saving money" on your trip to Europe by getting a cheap international phone plan). Certified mountain guides who lead ski tours in areas with any question about phone coverage are required to carry two-way radios which are easily tuned to local rescue frequency.

* SPOT or other satelite rescue beacons likely will not work if the person carrying the beacon is down in the crevasse (or outside the crevasse but on the north side of a steep cliff or mountain peak) -- because the satelites are in near-equatorial orbits (while the Euro Alps are around 45 degrees latitude).

* Most skier crevasse falls are unroped, which has the interesting consequence that those victims who survive the first thirty minutes without dying from head injuries or internal (or external?) bleeding, often get _wedged_ down into the narrowing walls of the crevasse. Often the victim's harness is surrounded by compressing snow/ice, so rescuers simply cannot connect a rope or helicopter winch cable to the harness.

* therefore (perhaps more important than a rope) is to wear a sling or lanyard or PAS leash attached to harness (belay loop?) and also connected high to your shoulder, so the well-equipped rescuers have a usable attachment point for the winch cable.

* the probability of punching down into a hidden crevasse in the same area of a glacier - (somewhat like with Avalanche hazard) - varies widely with recent snowfall and wind, seasonal snowfall history, overnight re-freeze temperature and sky cover, time of day and temperature, etc. If you learn about those things, you can choose not to go out on more dangerous days (and in more dangerous years).

Ken

Ryan Swanson · · Pepedidnothingwrong, freejg · Joined Jan 2018 · Points: 50
kenr wrote:

* Most skier crevasse falls are unroped, which has the interesting consequence that those victims who survive the first thirty minutes without dying from head injuries or internal (or external?) bleeding, get _wedged_ down into the narrowing walls of the crevasse. Often the victim's harness is surrounded by compressing snow/ice, so rescuers simply cannot connect a rope or winch cable to the harness.

I'll just nope the fuck away from glacier travel in my future

kenr · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2010 · Points: 14,459

Well ... non-skiing _climbers_ on glaciers usually do rope up, so less likely to get wedged (tho rescue with a 2-person party can still be plenty tricky).

And because (smart) skiers tend to go out on glaciers only when the crevasses are solidly bridged, and have their body weight spread over a much larger surface area so put less stress on weak "sweet spots" of a crevasse bridge, (smart) skiers falling into hidden crevasses is not frequent in the Euro Alps. So skiing down unroped is pretty routine in that context.

And skiing on some glaciers is very very interesting and spectacular (and sometimes a good way to access a very interesting ice climb or rock route). So I will surely continue to do it (on the right day, in the right year).

But first have to find some strategy to "get lots of experience + learning" without the dying part.

Ken

P.S. Old climbers' saying:
"Good judgement is the result of experience. Experience is the result of Bad judgment."

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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