Rescue Response

You're the middle person on a three-person rope team traveling up a moderately angled glacier. The climber walking 50 feet in front of you suddenly disappears beneath the snow. What do you do?

Do not stop and think. Your immediate reflex must be to drop into self-arrest in the snow (facing away from the direction of pull) and hold the fall.

The climber at the end of the rope will be doing the same thing. (Chapter 12 details all the steps in self-arrest with the ice axe.)

After that, you and your ropemate topside, along with any other climbers in the neighborhood, get started on the rescue operation, working together with your fallen friend. The principal steps you will take (fig. 13-6), starting right from the instant of the fall, are:

1. Arrest the fall.

2. Set up an anchor.

3. Attach the rope to the anchor.

4. Check the fallen climber.

5. Devise a rescue plan.

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