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plark42

Crevasse rescue teaching methods??

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Hey CC'ers-

 

I was wondering if any of you have an effective system, method or steps to teach someone else crevasse rescue technique(s). I want to teach in steps, because crevasse rescue requires using a bunch of small things lumped together (equalizing anchors, muenter mule hitch, snow anchors, ascending a rope... etc). Does anyone have any recommendations/preferred methods? I want to teach in small steps starting at home with ascending a rope and move on to the knots and hitches in the system(s) and eventually go out to Elliot glacier on mt. hood and build snow anchors and do a mock rescue.

 

I was taught crevasse rescue techniques in one long day of class and to tell the truth not a whole lot of it sunk in... I've had to refresh myself (which hitch goes where and when etc) with books and pictures.

 

Thanks for the help!!

 

Also- are there any good "anchors" to build on household items (e.g., rapping a sling around a recliner or tv?) to demonstrate systems in the house? hahaha.gif

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It honestly sounds like you've got a good system figured out already. Doing it in steps, maybe a week apart, will allow a person to retain more, I think.

 

Only thing I'd add is to go over z-pulley, or whatever rope/pulley system you're going to teach, at each session. Just doing it once doesn't really make it "stick." When you do the ascending the rope thing at home - layout the z-pulley setup on the floor and talk through why each piece goes where it does. The more times the folks see it before they do it themselves, the more sense it'll make. The goal is not really to have the people just memorize the picture of what it's supposed to look like - but to understand WHY they're doing what they're doing so they can set it up by thinking it through.

 

-kurt

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Having taught crevasse rescue, I'd have to say the hardest part is getting everybody to keep themselves safe during the entire proceedings. When you practice your Z-Pulley in your living room, you need to pretend that there are hidden crevasses all around you. Everyone must be either clipped into an anchor or attached to a rope using prusik cords with no slack between them and their anchor.

 

All it takes is a momentary lapse of awareness that allows slack in the rope and tragedy can result, as in the following example:

 

RANGER ACTIVITIES DIVISION

MORNING REPORT

 

 

Attention: Directorate

Regional and Park Chief Rangers, USPP, BIFC, FLETC

Ranger Activities Division Information Network

 

Day/Date: Tuesday, May 26, 1992

 

INCIDENTS

 

92-214 - Denali (Alaska) - Climbing Fatality

 

Terrance "Mugs" Stump, 41, a highly-regarded mountaineer and guide, died in an accident on Mount McKinley on May 21st. His death was the seventh in seven days on the peak. Stump, who was employed by Mountain Trip, Inc., was following two clients as part of a three-person rope team at about 14,400 feet on the South Buttress when they stopped, looking for the route. As Stump moved to the front of the line, the snow broke away under him. Stump's clients were able to arrest their descent only when the rope from Stump stopped pulling. One client descended into the crevasse twice in hopes of locating Stump, but was unable to find him. The pair then continued down the mountain and reported the accident on May 22nd. After hearing a description of the accident and the crevasse, rangers decided to make no recovery effort. [cc:Mail message from John Quinley, Public Affairs, ARO, 5/25]

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i agree that in the field, it is important to be safe, but i strongly disagree with the "pretend there are crevasses in your living room" theory. ISTM that difficulty in learning crevasse rescue often comes in because the diagrams in the book are usually step-by-step from ice axe arrest to completed rescue. i think this is very confusing to beginners; i've found that if i teach the z-pulley system as an abstracted concept, it sticks better and people are much more able to remember it later and adapt it to the specific situation in the field.

 

i've found that for crevasse rescue technique to sink in with beginners, it is very helpful to separate the basic system of pulleys from all the trappings of the climbing environment. we start in the backyard with only the absolute minimum of equipment - the rope, 2 pulleys, 2 prussik slings, a few biners. only after people are really clear on the concept do i start to introduce "how dow i get here starting in ice axe arrest." once people realize that the basic 3:1 system isn't that complicated, it reduces the intimidation factor that makes it hard for people to learn.

 

it depends on your audience, but i've often found that doing more complicated 6:1 and 9:1 systems on the first day - again, abstractly, ignoring the "climbing" part - is actually a very good way to get people to clearly understand how the system works. remember, many people haven't played with mechanical advantage systems since high school physics.

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You might actually see if there are any friendly Seattle Mountaineers running around. They actually put out a DVD a couple of years ago that goes over their standard crevasse rescue method. (Pretty much the same as discussed in FOTH)

 

That said, sounds like you've got a good handle on it. Doing it in the backyard or at a park is a great way to start, but actually taking a team out to do reps, either on a relatively benign glacier under heavy supervision, or if the snow is sufficient i've even heard of people doing it off the overhangs in the Paradise parking lot. Going through the full scenario in a mountain environment, while actually getting a feel for the hauling etc really helped things sink in with me.

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All excellent ideas expressed. FWIW a thought I would like to add is to have a couple different "media" available. Everyone learns differently- some people need diagrams, some people need hands on, some need abstracts.....

 

Definately and highly recommend to do some real world simulation too. Some of the best mountaineering training I did was a moderate snow slope with about 6-7 of us taking turns on a 3 man rope team. We each took turns "falling" which meant running downhill yanking on the others until the fall was arrested and a z-pulley set-up. We did this geared up as if we were making a summit push- packs, water, etc.

 

Slow is smoothe, smoothe is fast.

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Thanks for the responses- I am going to teach the physics first (at home), move on to the anchors in snow and finally try a rescue in a real crevasse... (that I could walk out of if things go wrong).

 

Thanks again!!

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298New_Zealand_149-med.jpg

 

See larger image HERE

 

Here's a shot of us practicing in the backyard, focusing on the systems (as mentioned above) rather than trying to teach complicated concepts in a challeging learning environment.

 

From here, once concepts are established, it's best to crystallize that learning by practicing in a real-life setting (i.e. on a glacier).

 

Fun stuff!

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Word on gettin the mechanics down and making it realistic later.

I have been pretty satisfied with drilling the components (arrest, anchor building, escaping the tie in, z-pulley, texas prussick, etc.) and then let the attendees workout performing what and in what order in various scenarios. Great excercise of keeping your head under pressure.

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298New_Zealand_149-med.jpg

 

Here's a shot of us practicing in the backyard, focusing on the systems (as mentioned above) rather than trying to teach complicated concepts in a challeging learning environment.

 

I'm foucused on the three brown systems on the table... bigdrink.gif

 

And WTF is all that tubing stuff in the background, anyway? Did you salvage a sailboat or something? yellaf.gif

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Yeah, I drank three of those beers that afternoon -- would that proivde the same mechanical advantage as a 3:1??? bigdrink.gif

 

I have no idea what's in the background -- this photo is from a cabin we were slumming in while visiting friends in New Zealand . . . .

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Yeah, I drank three of those beers that afternoon -- would that proivde the same mechanical advantage as a 3:1??? bigdrink.gif

 

Yup, does in my book at least! It's amazing how much stronger you think you are after you throw down a few!

 

...a cabin we were slumming in while visiting friends in New Zealand . . . .

 

Sweet!

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I generally teach crevasse rescue under three seperate headings. By breaking the systems into three parts I find that people tend to remember the different components more effectively.

 

My subject headings are as follows:

 

1) Anchor

2) Z-Pulley

3) C-Z Pulley

 

The reality of this system of teaching -- or of any system of teaching for that matter -- is that without practice a student will have a hard time remembering all of the potential steps. As such I emphasize the first skill as being the most important.

 

If a student comes out of one of my lessons with one part of crevasse rescue dialed I want that part to be "Anchor." Once the anchor is complete and the rescuer is out of the system, then he or she can focus on the other elements of the rescue. I believe that if a student understood the basic elements of the rescue, once out of the system he or she may be able to put together a hauling system based on their recollections of their lessons. The system may not be "right" but it will probably do the job and ultimately get the victim out of the crevasse. If the student doesn't remember how to build an anchor and escape the system, then all is lost...

 

Jason

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If the student doesn't remember how to build an anchor and escape the system, then all is lost...

 

Plark42,

 

Good point made here. Make sure that this is something you cover under realistic conditions, and not just everyone standing around watching you build an anchor. People need to be face planted in the snow, trying to do this. Depending on ones setup and conditions, this could be the hardest part.

 

-kurt

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