Tyrolean Traverses

Tyrolean traverses are most often used to return to a main wall after ascending a detached pillar. Ropes are strung between the main wall and the top of the pillar, allowing you to traverse through the air, attached to the rope.

You can establish a Tyrolean traverse like this:

1. After setting up a bombproof anchor on the main wall—one that can take both a horizontal and vertical pull—rappel on two ropes to the saddle between the main wall and the pinnacle. (You can use just one rope for the rap-pel if the traverse will be short enough.) Do not pull down the rappel ropes. If it takes more than one rappel to reach the saddle, you'll have to tie a light line to the two ends of the main rappel rope to give you a way to retrieve the ends once you're on top of the pinnacle.

2. Climb the pinnacle using an additional climbing rope. The second climber brings up the free ends of the rappel ropes.

3. Once atop the pinnacle, the free ends of the rappel ropes (now the traverse ropes) are stretched tight and anchored to the pinnacle.

After the traverse, you will not be able to recover the equipment used for the pinnacle anchor.

4. While belayed, one climbers now "jugs" across the open area on one of the ropes, using the Texas prusik (which is explained in Chapter 13, in the section on crevasse rescue). The forward ascender is attached to the harness with a daisy chain. To the rear ascender is attached an etrier, and a second daisy chain attached to the climber's harness. Finally, the climber connects an additional safety sling between the traverse rope and the harness. This sling rides on a carabiner between the two ascenders. What would normally be the lower ends of the ascenders must be clipped to the rope with a safety carabiner (as shown in figure 11 -6, earlier in this chapter).

5. After the first climber has jugged across, the second climber unties the ropes at the pinnacle anchor, threads the end of one rope through the anchor, and ties the ropes together as if preparing a rappel. This climber notes which rope will be pulled when it comes time to retrieve the ropes. (If it's a short traverse and you are using just a single rope, the climbers on each side of the traverse need to pull the rope around so that its center moves to the pinnacle anchor and the two ends are back on the main wall. Otherwise you will have problems retrieving the rope later.)

6. The first climber then tightens and anchors the rope ends on the main wall and belays the second, who will traverse in the same manner as the first.

7. Once both climbers are reunited, the ropes are untied at the main wall and retrieved by pulling on the appropriate rope.

Continue reading here: Seconding

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