/ Self-rescue technique – a question

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Charlie Evans - on 12 Apr 2011
Dear UKC,

I'm doing some self-rescue homework from Libby Peter's 'Rock Climbing Essential Skills and Techniques'. But I am left with a question I'd like to put to anyone who has been trained in self-rescue.

There are excellent diagrams for the scenario “escaping from the system” with anchors either “out of reach or not centralised” (p 130-131, example 2). However, in the final picture the load is taken by two prusiks, backed-up by a tied-off belay device on the central rope-loop – the belayer cannot escape yet. Can anyone tell me the next text-book stage?

To back-up the prusiks, I'm thinking:
tie-off the anchor ropes with two clove-hitches onto a big HMS on the slack rope between the klemheist and the central rope-loop;
clove-hitch the other end of the HMS to the slack rope between the belay-device and French prusik on the rope leading to your partner (or use a tied-off italian-hitch), then escape.

Or:
having tied-off the anchor ropes;
use a short sling, doubled or tripled, to link the HMS on the anchor ropes to another HMS;
clove-hitch the second HMS to the slack rope between the belay-device and french prusik (or again use a tied-off italian-hitch);
then escape.

I'm thinking, that's a lot of HMSs. It's not unusual for me to have used up my HMSs in rigging the anchor. I might just make sure I have one big-ish HMS spare on my harness just in case.

And, it's important to make sure there is enough slack between the klemheist and central rope-loop and between the French prusik and belay-device to tie the clove-hitches.

Would these solutions be practical and safe? I'd like to learn the tried and tested text-book solution, so I would really appreciate a properly informed answer.

All the best,
Charlie
Craig Geddes - on 12 Apr 2011
In reply to Charlie Evans: Without my Libby Peters to hand I can't recall the diagram exactly but:

Once you have isolated the belay plate (by doing the two prussics thing) untie the belay plate and *slowly* let the load come onto the prussics (check that they are holding).

Now take the dead rope from the belay plate and put it into a italian hitch on the belay.

While keeping hold of the dead rope from the italian hitch take the belay plate out of the system.

Take in the slack on the italian hitch and tie it off.

You are now free to untie from the rope assuming you are safe to do so. You can also retrive the prussics and sling at this point if you remembered to do a french for the lower one as you can gently release it an let the load come onto the tied of italian hitch.

If you're going to need to abseil on the now free end of the rope don't load the backside of the italian hitch directly but create a small isolation a foot or so down the rope to ab from.
Charlie Evans - on 12 Apr 2011
In reply to Craig Geddes:

Thanks very much Craig! I appreciate the detailed reply! And I had not thought of retrieving the prusik, sling and screwgates. Or of creating the isolation for abseiling.

What I'm still unsure of is what to do when the anchors are out of reach - when it's not possible to tie an italian hitch directly to one or more anchors. I'm often miles away from my anchors so that I can look over the edge for better communication with the second, so I'm keen to know how to deal with this situation.

Charlie
Mark Reeves - on 12 Apr 2011
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsnZVl9EMdE

Link to a video I made, hope it helps
andy_e on 12 Apr 2011
In reply to Mark Reeves:


Voiceovers clash, but otherwise good. :)
stvredmond - on 12 Apr 2011
In reply to Charlie Evans: assuming your on about using the rope to create the anchors, grab the anchor lines (all of them) and pull them together, wrap a sling in the form of a kleimheist around this bundle and whack a screw gate on it. this screwgate is now your central point you use to attach the prussick and italian hitch too.

obvidouly its a kleimheist and using this as strong point is questionable so further stages needed to be considered to transfer the system on to a new and stronger central point, easier to show than write out an explaination
stvredmond - on 12 Apr 2011
In reply to stvredmond: just seen the vid, thats easier than typing it out. pretty quick but if you watch it a few times it will make sense
Charlie Evans - on 12 Apr 2011
In reply to Mark Reeves:

Great! Thanks Mark! It's good to see a full demo : )

It is a bit un-nerving that for a moment it's only a klemheist holding your partner and protecting you, though do I see you quickly tie (a clove hitch?) below the klemheist to back it up?

Charlie
Charlie Evans - on 12 Apr 2011
In reply to stvredmond:

Thank you! : )

So the klemheist will work around four (two anchors out of reach) or six ropes (three anchors out of reach)?

Charlie
Mark Reeves - on 13 Apr 2011
In reply to Charlie Evans: Yes it is just a klemhiest, however you should really use a sling here, as it is rated to 22kn, and you have both the friction from the klemhiest and the knot in front of it to stop it sliding anywhere.

I think I tie an italian hitch, and tie it off. The reason for this is that it is releasable under load. By never tying an unreleasable knot you can avoid many problems that require you to raise the rescue load!
Mark Reeves - on 13 Apr 2011
In reply to Charlie Evans: Klemhiest can go round any number of ropes.
stvredmond - on 13 Apr 2011
In reply to Charlie Evans: yes you should be able to get a kleimheist around them all.

when ive escaped the system in the past i retie the figure of eight( i was attached to) back on to the krab where the anchors are clove hitched to your rope loop, this then creates a new central loop in essence and with a bit of tinkering i can swap the tied off italian hitch on the kleimheist on to my new central point.

the post above mentions just to stay on the kleimheist, havent though about this but would seem to work as there will be knots in place to stop the kleimheist sliding off the clove hitch central krab.......Rope work gets confusing :D good fun though
ashaw - on 13 Apr 2011
In reply to stvredmond: got stuck once in a gap whilst abseiling down between a face and a flake. the gap was about 8 feet wide and i had not seen it from the top. the problem was i had a prussik loop below my belay device which became really tight once loaded and i couldnt move up or down and to make matters worse my knife was in my ruckask at the bottom of the crag. I had to wait about 20 mins for my mate to come up who threw me a piece of rope so i could take the weight off the prussik. I have asked numerous guides etc and no one has come up with a way of getting out of it safely. And yes I know i should have had my knife or more prussiks and scanned the route etc
stvredmond - on 13 Apr 2011
In reply to ashaw: hello, so you had only the one prussick? bet you carry at least two now :D. what prussick did you use, french or the normal?

not sure on a "safe" way out it to be honest. maybe a sling above your belay plate as a prussick to get the weight off the prussick? wouldnt recommend (heard slings slip) but if needs must. or tie a clove hitch back to your harness below the prussick for saftey, hold on to the dead rope before the prussick and then just untie the prussick, lower down to the clove hitch and re tie the prussick and remove clove hitch, continue as nothing has happened.

sure others will give a better and safer way to get out of this than me.
ashaw - on 13 Apr 2011
In reply to stvredmond: yer your right I always carry 2 but then I normally have my knife with me. However my group were heading down to the minibus and the abseil rope had got stuck ( i was blowing a force 9 and it was stuck somewhere on the ryholite) so i decided the easiest thing to do was to ab down and free it big mistake
stvredmond - on 13 Apr 2011
In reply to ashaw: the joys of hindsight, things like that always seem the best course of acition until it all goes tits up and an epic ensues :D. Glad you got out of it ok though
Charlie Evans - on 13 Apr 2011
In reply to Mark Reeves:
Awesome! Thank you very much! Charlie
Charlie Evans - on 13 Apr 2011
In reply to stvredmond:
Much appreciated! Thanks to everyone whose posted I've been tinkering happily on the stairs all evening! Happy climbing!
Charlie
stvredmond - on 13 Apr 2011
In reply to Charlie Evans: haha brilliant, a bit of indoor rope skills practice, one sure way to get odd looks from the family
ashaw - on 14 Apr 2011
In reply to stvredmond: i remember years ago before they knocked down a college in birkenhead the principle wanted to take part in a sponsord abseil off the top. However he was dead nervous so i had him practicing off a staircase at the site in eastham. In fact the rope marks are still there in the bannister 10 years on. But then he had to look confident and smiling for the local press though eh
cheers allan
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Mick Ward - on 14 Apr 2011
In reply to ashaw:

It sounds as though the principal absorbed the principle!

Mick
ashaw - on 14 Apr 2011
In reply to Mick Ward: ha ha suppose he did and made sure he didnt look to scared or embarrased.

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