Set up an anchor

Once the fall is stopped (fig. 13-6a), the middle climber on the three-person rope stays in self-arrest to support the weight of the fallen climber. The end climber slowly gets out of self-arrest, making sure the middle climber can hold the weight alone, then sets to work establishing an anchor (fig. 13-6b). However, if another rope team is on hand, both climbers can stay in self-arrest while the other team sets up the anchor.

The anchor goes between the middle climber and the lip of the crevasse. (If it's placed instead on the other side of the climber, eventual tension on the rope could make it impossible for that person to untie. ) It takes a bombproof anchor because at least one life will be riding on it. Whoever establishes the anchor must work quickly, but without taking shortcuts.

Solid anchors can be made from the following types of protection: pickets pounded into firm snow; ice screws placed in ice; or snow flukes, ice axes, or skis buried as deadmen in soft snow. Ideally, put in two independent anchor placements (or more), with slings to equalize the load. A solitary ice axe driven vertically into the snow is not a good candidate as an anchor to carry the loads of a rescue.

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