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Rescue techniques white alpine climbing: Express pulley

Subchapter: Rescue techniques on the rock face

Rescue techniques on the rock face

You should be able to avoid accidents in alpine terrain by preparing well and judging your own ability realistically. Exposure, large gaps between pitons or difficult rescue conditions can quickly lead to life-threatening situations. If an emergency situation arises due to other factors outside the alpine climber’s control, these simple rescue techniques can help them at a push.

An express pulley or the prusik technique are rescue methods that can aid the follower in ascending the rope. But knowing how to bivouac in the mountains can also be important in an emergency.

Rescue method: Express pulley

The express pulley is traditionally considered a rescue technique, although it’s basically impossible to use it to rescue someone by “pulling up”. Much more often it is used as a pulling aid for the follower. An express pulley briefly provides “more traction”, helping the follower – for example, by allowing them to get to the belay quicker in the event of a minor injury.

Note: An express pulley will not help in the event of severe rope friction.

Slip knot Fixed rope, tie in a prusik Loosen slip knot Sliding back the prusik

1. SLIP KNOT

If you have to help yourself or your partner with a makeshift rescue, securing the belay device is usually the first step so that you have both hands free to work.

EXPRESS PULLEY

2. FIXED ROPE, TIE IN A PRUSIK

If you are not belaying with a belay plate, (where the reverse lock is already in place), the belay device must first be secured using a slip knot in order to have both hands free for working. You can then tie a short prusik over the tensioned rope and hook in a carabiner. Redirect the loose braking rope through the carabiner and guide it upwards.

3. LOOSEN SLIP KNOT

Now hold on to the braking rope, loosen the slip knot with one hand and start pulling up. When pulling upwards, the HMS will veer round and move along with it when pulled. With a belay plate, simply draw in the rope.

4. SLIDING BACK THE PRUSIK

As soon as the prusik has moved up far enough, hold the brake rope securely and push the prusik back down again. You can now pull on the rope again. Repeat this process until the climber has negotiated the difficult spot.

Rescue method: Prusiks

The prusik knot is not only used for rappelling: In emergency situations, the prusik technique can be used to climb on a hanging rope. This method is helpful for both crevasse rescue and for alpine climbing. It needs the climber to be conscious and physically able to use the prusik technique.

Tie prusik slings around the rope Push up the prusik Sit in the harness, repeat the process

Rescue method: Prusiks

The prusik knot is not only used for rappelling: In emergency situations, the prusik technique can be used to climb on a hanging rope. This method is helpful for both crevasse rescue and for alpine climbing. It needs the climber to be conscious and physically able to use the prusik technique.

PUSH UP THE PRUSIK

You can now stand in the foot loop. At the same time, push the upper prusik upwards until the body loop is taut and you can sit in it.

SIT IN THE HARNESS, REPEAT THE PROCESS

Once the body loop is taut and you are sitting back in the harness, the leg loop can be released and pushed upwards.

Video

Bivouacking in an emergency situation

Bivouacking on the mountain

If it’s planed or unplanned and the result of an emergency situation: There are some basic rules to observe when bivouacking in alpine terrain. This is the only way the rope team can protect themselves from hypothermia or other health hazards.

BIVOUAC SITE

The ideal place to bivouac is safe from hazards such as falling rocks and ice, avalanches, storms or falls. It also offers protection from the wind and sun and provides sufficient space for the rope team to lie down fully extended. In winter a snow cave can protect from the wind, in summer larger pines or trees can provide protection.

SETTING UP A BIVOUAC

An insulating lower layer is extremely important because it protects from hypothermia. If you didn’t bring a mat, you can use the climbing rope, climbing equipment or backpack as a base layer.

BIVI BAG

Bivi bags that provide space for two people are advantageous in an emergency situation. The climbers’ mutual body warmth can provide additional protection from hypothermia. A good bivi bag is water and dirt repellent and windproof thanks to a PU coating. An additional silver coating on the inside that reflects body heat is also helpful. In addition, bivi bags in a signal color can be spotted quicker by mountain search and rescue or other search parties!

Essential emergency equipment:
Bivi bag

Whether it’s a short climb or a multi-day high alpine climb: a bivi bag is a vital piece of equipment for every mountain climber. It is very versatile in emergency situations and offers protection from the cold and the elements.

Bivi bag

Essential emergency equipment

BIVY PRO

EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT
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BIVY PRO

BIVY ULTRALIGHT

EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT
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BIVY DOUBLE

BIVY DOUBLE

EMERGENCY EQUIPMENT
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