- Now, create a loop of rope and clip a Petzl Mircro Traxion into the end of the loop and then clip a screwgate karabiner into the Micro Traxion (seen in the diagram).
Important – the Micro Traxion needs to be attached onto the rope, so that the direction it locks in is correct. The Micro Traxion should lock on the rope, when the persons weight down in the crevasse comes onto the ‘fixed’ rope side of the system i.e., the side of the rope 'fixed' to the snow anchor with a tied-off Italian hitch.
- This means, that when the rope is pulled up by the rescuer, it runs freely through the Micro Traxion, but when released, the Micro Traxion locks onto the rope and holds the persons weight who is in the crevasse.
- Now lower the loop of rope with the Micro Traxion and screwgate karabiner attached, down to the person in the crevasse. Once the person in the crevasse has clipped the screwgate karabiner onto the central loop of their harness and has done up the gate safely, then you’re ready to go.
- The rescuer needs to now pull up any slack in the rope, as it runs through the Micro Traxion and comes tight on the person in the crevasse.
- The person in the crevasse can now help themselves by puling down on the ‘fixed’ side of the rope, whilst kicking into the side of the crevasse with their crampon front points and with their legs try and stand up…this action of kicking in, standing up and then pulling through the rope is in essence, one part of the assisted hoist.
- If the person down in the crevasse is having trouble in understanding which rope to grab and pull down on, then it’s the rope which is moving down towards them, before it goes through the Micro Traxion - they're essentially helping pull the rope through the Micro Traxion in a pull down motion, as the resuer then pulls them up and out.
- The other part of the assisted hoist is the rescuer assisting in this process, by pulling up the rope and helping take some of that person’s weight who is down the crevasse.
- If a break is needed, then all the person in the crevasse needs to do is gently put their weight back onto the ‘fixed’ rope by relaxing their grip of the rope they were pulling down on and siting back in their harness. The rescuer can also relax their hold on the rope until they both decide to go again - The Micro Traxion will only run freely in one direction, locking in the other direction.
- One key point to mention here is that the rescuer must pull the rope ‘up’ directly in line with the ‘fixed’ rope, so not to pull the snow anchor at a different angle and possibly upset the buried axe in the snow. You must also 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!
- Be aware that crevasses have a lip on the edge and if the rope has cut into that edge at all, if you keep pulling and pulling the person will eventually get jammed up against the lip, and 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, try to pull them out and around the lip or you may need to 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 an assisted hoist, 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
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.