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Trip Report    

Tacoma Basic FT 6 Prep: Crevasse Rescue/Tacoma Clubhouse - Mountaineers Tacoma Program Center

20 students and 7 instructors practiced the Z-Pulley setup with each student as Climber A, B, and C. Direct Pull and C-Pulley demo took place inside the clubhouse after that.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Held at clubhouse.  Crevasse rescue exercises were held on lawn by Carr Street, and west in the Park.  Dry weather made the lawns quite firm and mud-free.  No staking of pickets allowed.  Some students had to travel further and given the hour, we had to allow for traffic conditions.

The main purpose of the evening was for students to practice the Z-Pulley technique in all three rope team positions:  Climber A (victim), Climber B (middle climber) and Climber C (end climber).  Most of the students arrived in time to be ready (harnesses on) to start at 6:30 PM.  This allowed three runs of 40 minutes apiece for the students to assume each of the three positions.  Student preparedness ranged from needing  considerable prompting to smooth performance with little or no guidance.  We discovered the first night that vetting for the best-prepared student to go first as Climber C saved time.  This provided beta for the others that enabled them to finish faster. 

To avoid running afoul of Metro Parks we disallowed pounding in pickets or using stakes to secure them.  In most cases Climber B was able to place their boot over both initial and main anchor slings to provide sufficient stability when pulling and resetting.

It was challenging to finish Z-Pulley exercises Tuesday to allow enough time for the C-Pulley demo.  We managed to cover the material well without going past 9:30 PM, stressing that it was more likely direct pull or C-Pulley would be used than Z-Pulley.

I made myself Climber A for two students remaining after trios were formed, but managed to periodically visit the other groups and check the clubhouse for stragglers. We had one instructor for every trio.  I made sure all students had page 16 in their books completed.

Other items when instructors polled:

  • Recommend e-mailing every student the nice Z-Pulley diagram Dawn Fast created.  It's in their book but as a small image.
  • Some chest harness slings were too long.  This reduced the difference needed to ensure victim stays upright.
  • Some Bachmann slings were too short.  Purpose of carabiner in Bachmann needs to be explained.
  • Some prusiks slipped on thinner glacier ropes.  5 mm perlon is recommended.
  • A number of main anchors were too close to initial anchors due to slings being too short.  Recommended a double plus single girth hitched together for main anchor.
  • Everyone stressed rope management, including where Climber C's prusiks were when traveling down to the victim.

-Rick Yasger