Entrenched ropes

The upward progress of a person climbing out or being pulled out of a crevasse can be stopped cold by a rope that has dug itself into the lip.

The situation calls for some improvisation. For instance, a rescuer can attach prusik slings or etriers above the entrenched portion of the rope and drop them down for the climber to step into.

Another option is to switch to a new rescue rope. A rescuer can lower a new rope to the climber. Or the fallen climber can, in effect, provide a new rope by tossing the loose end of the climbing rope up to the rescuers. This is done by prusiking up to the lip, untying from the end of the climbing rope (after first tying in higher up), and throwing the loose end up to the rescuers.

A new rescue rope, carefully padded at the lip of the crevasse so it doesn't also get entrenched, opens up several rescue possibilities. The climber can switch prusik slings from the original climbing rope to the new free rope. Or the rescuers can haul the climber up and out on the new rope. Or the climber can merely transfer all weight to the new rope to give rescuers a much better chance of freeing the entrenched line.

Continue reading here: Roofed crevasses

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