z pulley system crevasse rescue

  • Creator
  • #65092


    a little outside the scope of training, but living in Virginia its obvious that I don’t get much glacier time. I have learned how to do a z pulley system on Rainier, but looking for any recommendations for reading refreshers so that I can practice prior to my climb. thanks for any pointers that you guys would recommend.


  • Participant
    Anna Hern on #65151

    Steps from an RMI guide. I’ve practiced a his in my backyard using a Halloween decorative skeleton and one of my sons larger stuffed animals. It’s not perfect but helps keep the practice up.

    Catch fall
    Commuicate to see if middle person has the weight of the fallen climber
    release all weight to middle person
    Put a friction hitch (auto block) on rope leading to middle person and walk toward them with ice axe
    get to middle person, build anchor
    transfer load off of middle person by attaching friction hitch to loaded stranded and clipping it to the master point of anchor (locking carabiner)
    back up friction hitch with a clove hitch on the shelf (can be non-locking carabiner)
    tell middle person to slowly release all the weight onto the anchor, untie their knot
    milk the clove to get all the slack out between it and the friction hitch
    *you are now at baseline*
    Next go check on the fallen climber
    Attach a friction hitch to the unloaded strand of rope and slowly approach the lip of the crevasse with your ice axe in hand
    communicate with your fallen climber (are they ok, injured, is their an overhang)
    pad the lip with your ice axe, work the lip so the rope isn’t cut into the snow
    Put a friction hitch on the loaded strand
    clip the unloaded strand to the friction hitch with a non-locker, behind your personal friction hitch so you can re-ascend the fixed line
    *you have created a 2:1 pulley*
    make the current configuration a 3:1 by undoing one of the lobes of the clove hitch, keep a hand on the unloaded strand as you do this
    *now you have a 3:1*
    Begin to haul your fallen climber out
    Have someone tend to the friction hitch near the master point so it doesnt get sucked through the master point
    to re-set the 3:1 move the lower friction hitch towards the lip of the crevasse

    **Remember to communicate with your fallen climber when they are near the lip. You can pull them into the lip of the crevasse and kill them. DO NOT BREAK YOUR FALLEN CLIMBERS NECK by hauling them into the side of the crevasse**

    2 locking carabiner (this is at the master point, one is on you for your personal friction hitch)
    4 non-locking carabiners (2 are on the anchor, one for the lower friction hitch, one for the clove)
    3 prusik cords (2 for friction hitches in the pulley system, 1 your person friction hitch, 6mm cord 2 at 6′ each and one at 12′)
    1 anchor cord (7mm 15-25′)
    2 pickets

    MarkPostle on #65183

    Barrett, Great you’re brushing up. Crevasse rescue is tough as its rarely practiced by most folks and then how you actually do it in the field is very situational. In reality the 2 times I have had to do it I didn’t use a 3:1 z pulley setup either time. (You commonly have enough people its unnecessary or so few it isn’t helpful) Regardless its good to refresh as much as you can, I find the video series linked below to be fairly helpful on the topic. Theres about 6 videos covering building the anchor to hauling.

    pataylorbl on #65259

    thank you all very much!!

Viewing 3 replies - 1 through 3 (of 3 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.