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Self Rescue


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Well I tried to upload a photo of a super munter for those who were interested, but it didn't quite work out. For some reason I couldn't get it to post correctly. Oh well...


There are three types of rappels that are kind of nice to know which may help in a rescue scenario:


1) The Counterbalance:


This one was described in one of the earlier posts, but I thought I would make it a bit more clear. Essentially a counterbalance rappel is when there is a climber hanging on one end of the rope and the rappeller is on the other end. The rappeling climber must rap down to his injured buddy, clip a sling or a cord from himself to his buddy and then continue the rappel. After the attachment is attained, both will be able to descend simultainiously.


The trick to this particular descent is that the rope must be able to slide freely through caribiners on the anchor. Otherwise it just wouldn't work.


The climber in control of the situation should have an autoblock on the rope.


2) The Spider:


In this rappel configuration, there is one rappel device attached to the rope. One climber is attached to a single shoulder length sling which in turn is attached to the rappel device. The climber on the short sling is usually the injured climber. The second climber is attached to a double shoulder length sling and he is the one in control of the rope. His double shoulder length sling goes from him to the rappel device.


Once again, the climber in control should have an autoblock on the rope.


3) Pre-rigged Rappel:


Generally this rappel would be saved for someone who is conscious and alert as he or she will be required to help in the descent. In this system, the injured climber is tied into a sling which is then tied into a belay device on the rap line. The rescuing climber will then rappel down, leaving the other climber to hang from the sling attached to his belay device on the rope. The injured climber will generally not be tied into the anchor as the rappeling climber's weight will keep him in place. Once the fit climber reaches the ground, he can give a fireman's belay to the injured climber or even lower him using a fireman's belay.


A lot of people practice the different rappels when they are out doing a route and aren't in a rush. Why not? Messing around with these on random descents usually nails them down in your head.


Good stuff. Good thread.



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#2 works pretty well if you have to tend to the patient a bit and you can shield them from irregularities on the face. It puts the patient in the position he/she would be in during a typical pickoff done by a rescue unit and works well. You can even cradle the patient a bit in your lap to stabilize their spine, etc.

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