Self Rescue for Climbers 3 - Lowering Past a Knot

by Steve Long Mar/2011
This article has been read 19,144 times

In part 3 of this short video series, Steve Long shows how to lower a climber past a knot.

If a helpful tug on the rope and shouts of encouragement are not enough to solve a problem situation, a solution may well be found without any need to untie knots or tamper with belays.

Unless the start of a climb is tidal, or you approached it by rappel, the simplest evacuation will generally be by descent. If you are climbing on double 50 metre ropes, you can lower your partner almost a hundred metres; this should be enough to clear many British crags in one go! However, a long lower will be more complicated to initiate if there are runners between the leader and second on the rope to be used for the first half of the lower (the knot joining the two ropes would get stuck at the first runner).

Self Rescue for Climbers - Lowering Climber to the Ground
© Steve Long
Italian (Munter) Hitch

Lowering a heavy person down overhanging ground should be approached with caution as it can be surprisingly tiring to keep sufficient grip on the rope, and failure to hold the rope could be catastrophic. Because of this, a backup prusik should be attached to the live rope and linked back to the belay. One hand keeps a grip on this to prevent it locking onto the rope in normal use, but if control is lost the prusik automatically grips the rope and prevents it paying out further. Considerable mechanical advantage can be gained by passing the rope from the belay device through a high anchor prior to commencing the lower—even better, fix an Italian (Münter) hitch at this anchor to provide extra friction.

Self Rescue for Climbers DVD, 103 kb

Self Rescue for Climbers DVD

Aimed at recreational climbers, Self Rescue for Climbers is a comprehensive guide to solving problems encountered in such situations as multi pitching in the mountains, sea cliffs or roadside crags. The DVD's format enables the viewer to access relevant information quickly, providing a basic toolbox of techniques which can be applied in any situation.

With scenarios filmed on famous climbs in locations including Malham, Gogarth, the Llanberris Pass and Tremadog, Self Rescue for Climbers is not only 90 minutes of expert instruction, but also a stunning tribute to the possibilities available to the recreational climber in North Wales.

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