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Trip Report    

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

Students performed each of the three positions on a rope team for a Z-Pulley crevasse rescue. Direct Pull and C-Pulley demo were covered afterward in the clubhouse.

  • Road suitable for all vehicles
  • Normal conditions applicable to a Clubhouse meeting in Tacoma.

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 but Wednesday went much smoother.  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.

We had exactly enough instructors for eight groups of three and one of two.  This enabled me to circulate between all the groups and check the clubhouse for stragglers.  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

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