Zpulley System

The Z-pulley system is a simple, easily constructed hauling system (Figure 7-26, page 7-30).

a. Considerations. Anchors must be sturdy and able to support the weight of the load. Site selection is governed by different factors: tactical situation, weather, terrain, equipment, load weight, and availability of anchors.

b. Theory. Use carabiners as a substitute if pulleys are not available. The mechanical advantage obtained in theory is 3:1. The less friction involved the greater the mechanical advantage. Friction is caused by the rope running through carabiners, the load rubbing against the rock wall, and the rope condition.

c. Construction. Use the following procedures to construct a Z-pulley system.

(1) Establish an anchor (anchor pulley system [APS]). Place a carabiner on the runner at the anchor point, place a pulley into the carabiner, and run the hauling rope through the pulley.

(2) With a sling rope (preferably 7 millimeter), tie a middle-of-rope Prusik knot secured with a figure-eight knot on the load side of the pulley. This will be used as a progress capture device (PCD). A mechanical descender may be used in place of the Prusik knot. Take the tails exiting the figure-eight and tie a Munter hitch secured by a mule knot. Ensure the Munter hitch is loaded properly before tying the mule knot.

(3) At an angle away from the APS, establish a moveable pulley system (MPS) to create a "Z" in the hauling rope. Tie another Prusik knot on the load side of the hauling rope. Secure it with a figure-eight knot. Using the tails tie a double-double figure-eight knot. Insert a locking carabiner into the two loops formed, then place the working end into the carabiner. Mechanical ascenders should not be used as an MPS. Move the working end back on a parallel axis with the APS. Provide a pulling team on the working end with extra personnel to monitor the Prusik knots.

Pulley System


Figure 7-26. Z-pulley system.


Figure 7-26. Z-pulley system.

d. Other Factors. If the two pulleys touch, the "Z" is lost along with the mechanical advantage. For greater efficiency, the main anchor should be well back from the edge and all ropes should pull parallel to the load.

Note: Avoid the possibility of overstressing the anchors. Be aware of reduced sensitivity to the load due to the mechanical advantage. Use belays and backup safeties. Protect the rope from edges and other abrasive parts of the rock.

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