- Now, before you start pulling the unused end of rope, you’ll need to pad out the lip of the crevasse in some way. If you don’t, the rope will act like a saw and will cut a deep, narrow groove into the snow lip, making it extremely hard to pull the person out over it. The easiest way to do this is by using either a walking pole or maybe a backpack to wedge under the rope to help prevent against this happening.
- Once this has been done, take the slack out of the unused end of rope so that you can see the ‘Z’ shape.
- Now, close to where the rope is clipped into the screwgate karabiner and classic prussik, tie a ‘clove hitch’ in the rope and clip that to the central loop of your harness.
- Face as if you were laying face down in the snow with one leg either side of the live rope, take up the tension in the rope by kicking in your front-points giving maximum purchase and drive through the legs as you walk back towards the snow anchor that you’ve constructed.
- We do this as it’s a lot more efficient and uses less effort that just pulling the rope with your hands and arm muscles.
- To help even further, you can use your arms as well, by grabbing the rope that runs from your snow anchor back down to your classic prussik and pulling down hard on this rope as you walk, kicking into the snow back towards your snow anchor.
- One key point to mention here is that as you start pulling you must pull the rope up directly in line with the live rope so not to upset your snow anchor and you must keep your eye on the snow anchor so that you can observe even the slightest of movement and can then stop and do something about it – your snow anchor is THE most important link in the system and so always keep an eye on it!
- As you walk back, the person's weight in the crevasse will be lifted. Once you get to the snow anchor and have run out of space to pull the classic prussik up any further, slide the classic prussik back down the rope towards the crevasse edge and repeat.
- Be aware that crevasses have a lip on the edge. If the rope has cut into that edge at all and you keep pulling and pulling, the person will eventually get jammed up against the lip, and then what you’re in effect doing is trying to pull them through the lip rather than over it.
- With this in mind be aware where the person is, and as soon as they’re close to the lip top, go to the edge and physically just help them over it, or carefully dig around the rope to create an exit for them. If you use the adze on your ice axe to dig, be incredibly careful not to hit the tight rope!
The whole process does need some instruction and coaching, as there
as many elements to it, safety issues to consider and a huge amount
of judgement needed.
important to practise arresting a fall, making snow anchors and understanding how all the final elements around creating a simple 3:1 pulley system to help your climbing partner safely out of a crevasse fit together. Once understood and practised, these skills will give
you so much more confidence to travel and explore mountain glaciated terrain in the future and be able to make a difference in a crevasse rescue situation.
ISM teaches these elements and much more on our Level 1 - Summits & Skills 4000m six-day instructional course, which is a great foundation to summer alpine mountaineering.
If you need a refresher, then also check out our Level 2 – Classic AlpinISM instructional course.