The Texas prusik

This alternative method of ascending the rope also uses two slings, but this time only one goes to the feet while the other attaches directly to the seat harness (fig. 13-9). The foot sling has a separate loop for each foot (though an option is to provide just a single loop used by only one foot.)

As with the stair-step method, attach the slings to the climbing rope before you start walking on the glacier. The seat sling should extend to head level when you slide the prusik knot upward. The prusik for the foot loops should be tied below the seat prusik, with the knot at waist level when you are standing on the sling. (Attach a safety loop from the top of the leg sling to the locking cara-biner at your seat harness.) Experiment to find the sling lengths that are best for you.

Fig. 13-9. Texas prusik dimensions

This is how to use the Texas prusik after a fall into a crevasse (fig. 13-10):

Ascending Foot Prusik

Fig. 13-10. Ascending a rope using the Texas prusik: a, leg-raise position; b, stand-up position; c, rest position.

Fig. 13-9. Texas prusik dimensions

This is how to use the Texas prusik after a fall into a crevasse (fig. 13-10):

1. Remove the foot loops from your pocket and slip one over each boot, cinching up on the slip knots. (If you have a sling with just a single foot loop, slip it over one boot.)

2. Stand up in the foot slings.

3. Loosen the prusik knot attached to the seat sling and slide it up the rope until it is taut.

4. Sit down in the waist harness, putting all your weight on the seat sling.

5. Loosen the prusik knot attached to the foot slings and slide it up the rope (18 to 24 inches, if the sling is adjusted properly).

6. Once again, stand up in the foot slings.

7. Keep repeating the process.

The Texas prusik is a simple system that permits more progress per cycle and more comfortable rests than with the stair-step prusik. A climber with an injured leg can still ascend the rope because only one leg is required if you choose to make use of only one foot loop. This method is harder to perform than the stair-step in very narrow crevasses.

With either the stair-step or the Texas prusik, some climbers attach etriers rather than conventional slings. The steps in these ladder-like slings can help you climb up and over a crevasse lip if the rope is entrenched in the snow.

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