Crevasse Rescue: Rescue Response
By Don Graydon.
Stop the fall immediately! Drop into self-arrest (facing away from the direction of pull) and hold the fall. Your other rope partner will do the same thing.
Once the fall is stopped, the critical steps in crevasse rescue begin. To learn these procedures well requires training in the field, augmented with annual practice.
- Set up a secure anchor system. The goal is to anchor the climber who is in the crevasse and allow the rescuers safe access to communicate with their fallen comrade.
- Communicate with the fallen climber. The goal is to develop a complete understanding of the fallen climber?s situation in order to be able to devise the rescue plan.
- Devise a rescue plan. You have two basic choices:
- Self-rescue?the fallen climber ascends the rope with prusik slings. Often the easiest and fastest form of crevasse rescue, regardless of party size. Of course, it requires that the climber be basically uninjured and able to maneuver in the crevasse.
- Team rescue?team members use a hauling system to pull the climber out.
- Carry out the plan. The goal is to see the fallen climber safely out of the crevasse.
- For a self-rescue, assist the fallen climber as needed.
- For a team rescue, set up the chosen hauling system; then haul the climber out.
As you work to save the fallen climber, observe these primary safety considerations:
- All anchor systems must be absolutely reliable, with backup anchors to guard against failure.
- All rescuers must be connected to anchors at all times.
- The rescue must proceed as quickly as is consistent with efficient, thorough execution of every essential step.
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