Scenario Day

Field trip: Climbing Self Rescue II

Scenario Day - Mountaineers Seattle Program Center

Self Rescue Field Trip 2D

  • Sun, Nov 11, 2018
  • Seattle Climbing
  • Climbing
  • Intermediate Alpine
  • Adults
  • Moderate

Meet at 8:00 AM in the basement at the Seattle Program Center. This on-site field trip runs until 4:00 PM.

In order to continue the Self Rescue 2 module, each student will show proficiency regarding the following techniques from the Self Rescue 1 module:

  • ascending techniques
  • descending techniques
    • counterbalance rappel 
    • tandem rappel
    • counter-balance rappel
  • transferring from a rope to an anchor, and an anchor to a rope
  • belay escape
  • rescue spider or equivalent (using a cordelette to create a Cow’s Tail with plenty of cord left to tie a Munter-Mule-Back up)

Learning Objectives for Self Rescue 2 Module

  • Discuss possible self-rescue scenarios for fallen/injured leader.  
  • Practice one scenario and become proficient in rescue techniques for that scenario.
  • Discuss possible pitfalls and problems that students may encounter.


Scenario: The leader has fallen with more than half a rope length out on vertical terrain and is unconscious.

  1. Lower your partner as far as you safely can to an (possible) anchor point.
  2. Escape the belay so that the rope is connected to the anchor with a MMO and back up figure 8 on a bight.
  3. Ascend the rope to your partner.  (Note that you rely on your partner as a counterbalance while you ascend and you rely on their top pieces of protection to be bomber enough to hold both of you while you ascend.)
  4. Build an anchor near your partner and attach yourself to it.
  5. Attach your partner to this anchor with a Cow’s Tail and LRH (or Rescue Spider) and back-up it up with their personal anchor.
  6. Transfer your partner’s weight from the rope to this new anchor.
  7. SEE OPTION 1 & OPTION 2 below.
  8. Attach yourself to the free tail of the Cow’s Tail or Spider, transfer your weight to it, and remove your ascending system.

  9. Set up a rappel device on the head of the Cow’s Tail or Spider and an autoblock on your partner’s harness belay loop.  Hand-tighten the rappel system.

  10. Transfer all tension to the rappel rope using the Mariner’s hitch (LRH).  Remove your partner’s and your backups (personal anchors). You’re on rappel.

  11. Continue building anchors and descending systems as needed.


Option 1 (Note, there are other safe options not included here.)

  • Attach the rope to the anchor with a prusik (one of yours may still be on the rope) so you prevent the possibility of losing it.
  • Use a carabiner block-and-tackle to create enough slack in the rope to untie it from your partner.
  • Pull the rope from the upper pieces of protection and attach it to the anchor with a clove hitch backed up with a figure 8.  Leave enough slack in the line to rappel.
  • Rappel the rope to the belay anchor and disassemble the anchor.  
  • Connect ascending system to the rope, weight it and remove your rappel device.
  • Ascend to your partner.


Option 2 (Note, there are other safe options not included here.)

  • Attach the rope to the anchor with a prusik (one of yours may still be on the rope) to minimize the counterbalance effect on your partner and to minimize the damage if the top piece of protection fails.
  • Use your ascending rig to descend the rope to the lower anchor.
  • Transfer your weight to the lower anchor and remove your ascending rig.
  • Use the MMO at the lower anchor to transfer your partner’s weight from the rope to the higher anchor.
  • Reattached your ascending rig to the rope and disassemble the lower anchor.
  • Ascend to your partner.




Mountaineers Seattle Program Center

Required Equipment

Required Equipment

Gear you would take on a multi pitch rock climb

Trip Reports