ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

What skills to learn, what tools to get
ffj
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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by ffj » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:09 pm

Just a few more knots to go before we can move on to another topic. So let's continue:

The Water or Tape Knot

This knot is used for joining webbing together and provides for a very secure knot once dressed. Start with a basic overhand knot:

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This is a basic follow-through knot:

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With alternating colors for more clarity:

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Last edited by ffj on Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ffj
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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by ffj » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:18 pm

The Munter

This knot allows for a controlled lowering, belaying, or even rappelling. It has a unique property that allows it to invert on a ring or carabiner and still retain its original shape and function depending on which strand is loaded.

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Under load:

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We can also tie the munter anywhere in the rope and simply clip it into a carabiner.

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Last edited by ffj on Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ffj
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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by ffj » Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:36 pm

The Prusik

This knot is usually tied with a prussic loop. It also has a multitude of uses including belaying, ascending rope, progress capture device, or a simple rope grab. The loop is normally a smaller diameter cord or rope that is secured with a double fishermans knot, although there are variations to this rule.

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We want to wrap the rope three times:


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Once we have three wraps, the double fishermans knot that we used to help us quickly get our three wraps needs to be moved to the side so it doesn't interfere with our attachment to a carabiner. While the knot is still loose, grab a side and pull sharply. This will offset the double fishermans.

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Now we dress the knot:

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And under load. This knot is bi-directional, meaning that it locks both directions in accordance to the load being applied. It also slides rather nicely along the rope when the load is taken off.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:36 am

Suggestion for the water knot pictures: use two different colors of webbing to make it easier to understand what is going on.

ffj
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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by ffj » Wed Sep 13, 2017 2:33 pm

@Gilberto

Fixed, thanks for the suggestion.

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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by ffj » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:47 am

The Clove Hitch

The clove hitch is a constrictor knot that performs well under constant tension. It is very easy and quick to tie and easily unties once the load is removed. However, care must be taken when slack or vibration is introduced to this knot as it can become undone if not properly minded.

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We can also tie this knot anywhere along the length of the rope. This is especially helpful if we have the ability to drop this knot over an object or clip it into a carabiner.

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Now cross the two loops as such:

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Here is a quick way of tying a clove hitch over an object. Practice this method of creating your opposing loops and you should find it is very fast. Just turn your wrists in opposite directions.

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Last edited by ffj on Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by jacob » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:25 pm

For sailing, clove hitches are also used to quickly tie a boat to the dock cleats. So another fast way to do your second approach is to "flip the second loop around" [the second horn(*)] and pulling on the bight. This is useful when the boat is coming in under inertia (dropped sails, no engine) and the bowman has to jump off and stop the boat before it torpedoes the pier.

(*) Or in your case the end of the same pipe.

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FBeyer
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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by FBeyer » Thu Sep 14, 2017 12:43 pm

The clove hitch can easily be turned into a constrictor knot. So if you know how to tie the clove, you can easily get two uses out of it.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constrictor_knot

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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by ffj » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:37 pm

There is one last knot we need to learn before we continue on to other components of a rescue system. Keep in mind that these knots need to be learned completely and thoroughly, in different settings and environments. With enough practice, it will become intuitive on how to tie any of these approved rescue knots in any rescue situation.

The Butterfly

This knot is used to create a fixed loop anywhere in a length of rope.

Method One

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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by ffj » Sun Sep 17, 2017 7:44 pm

The Butterfly, Method Two

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FBeyer
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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by FBeyer » Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:14 am

The one thing I have the hardest time with, is remembering which knots to use when. As Jacob said you use a Bowline for something specific on a boat, but that's because the particular sail you keep taught with the bowline is under constant tension. There are a lot of quirks to remembering when to use what knot/hitch and I can't figure out the system.

I gather it's someting you learn experientially, but I'd really love if there was ANY kind of system to figuring out what goes where, and when.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:30 pm

I'm not sure about a grand unifying theory of knots but you can get training within a given context. For example, the knots ffj gave are enough for multi pitch rock climbing. If you went with an experienced partner a few times you could learn from them and know what to do in common situations. Then you could practice under their supervision and after a few times out you would know what to use where.

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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by ffj » Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:51 pm

@FB
Now that I've gotten the most common rescue knots named and hopefully outlined on how to tie them, we can proceed with utilizing these knots in systems. Once I start describing certain aspects of our rescue systems it will become readily apparent which knot is appropriate for that application. Notice that each knot that I have listed is approved for rescue work, and as Gilberto has indicated there is a lot of overlap in the rescue world and climbing world.

I always encourage people to learn from as many sources as possible but keep in mind that certain disciplines have certain guidelines and what is appropriate for a tower climber or arborist or rock climber may not be appropriate for rope rescue; not because these guys and gals can't perform such maneuvers but because the standards are different. And standards are set by different agencies and authorities having jurisdiction.

Anyway, I'll be showing how these knots are utilized shortly.

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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by ffj » Sun Oct 01, 2017 9:56 pm

Now that we've covered the fundamental rescue knots, we can start implementing them in different systems, and our next logical step is to learn how to tie anchors or anchor systems. An anchor is simply an object that can be tied off to and support any load that we place upon it. This could be a vehicle, a tree, a rock, pickets, guard rails, you name it, and if it is strong enough or heavy enough, with a little ingenuity we can use it as a base for our rescue system.

Which type you choose is dependent upon many factors, and as we don't know where our next rescue will be, we have to have a wide repertoire of available choices and the ability to set them up quickly. Let's start with a simple one.

The Tensionless Anchor

This anchor is used when we need to terminate the end of the rope in a fixed system. It's an excellent choice for rappelling assuming one doesn't need to reclaim the rope after the rappel is over from a lower position.

Method 1

One simply wraps the working end of the rope a minimum of three wraps and terminates and captures the end with a figure-of-eight on a bight and a carabiner. The friction of the wraps prevents the knot from ever loading, but as a precaution we make sure the end can't unravel.

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Method 2

If carabiners are scarce, we can always tie a bowline in place of a carabiner. This is one instance where a safety knot is required due to the knot remaining loose and not under tension. Or a retrace eight could suffice in place of the bowline.

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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by ffj » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:40 am

Bowline on a Coil

This is a type of anchor utilizing the friction of the rope against the object being tied to and is very useful if the tension will be applied in an upward direction as opposed to laterally as the anchor will not slip upward as the load is being applied. This is very effective for objects such as trees with irregular and somewhat abrasive bark.

Start with the basic moves for a tensionless hitch:

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After pulling the tail all the way through, start pulling on the standing part until the knot is dressed:

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And finish with a safety:

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ffj
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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by ffj » Mon Oct 02, 2017 9:22 pm

The Basket Hitch

This is an easy anchor utilizing a simple loop tied together with a double fisherman's knot. It's always good to have short lengths of rope available for such applications and 15 to 25 feet is fairly ideal for ordinary anchors.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:02 am

The piece of rope you've used there appears to be shorter than the usual 20 foot or so cordelette for climbing. Do you commonly carry a cordelette of this length for rescue purposes?

Why not a presewn sling? Why not a girth hitch?

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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by ffj » Tue Oct 03, 2017 11:29 am

I'm not sure how long that piece of rope is to be honest. In a sense it doesn't matter as I will be showing you how to tie anchors with various lengths whether they are long or short or whatever. What is important is that the angle of the sling is appropriate, which I will be detailing later. Right now I am just trying to wrap everybody's head around the multitude of possibilities.

I personally carry a 32 foot 8mm cord which can serve many purposes. I can tie an anchor, set up a haul, rappel on it, etc. Every rescuer should carry something of this sort as well as a set of prusik loops.

Pre-sewn slings are wonderful if there are enough of them and they are appropriate for the task. But they are expensive, and most departments don't carry a lot. Also, they don't always work for the type of anchor that is available, so we need to be able to tie our own.

Girth hitches reduce the strength of the loop by roughly half. Even so, it still may meet the minimum strength ratio if utilized, but if there are better options, we should take them.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Tue Oct 03, 2017 12:16 pm

Would you use the anchor pictured by itself for a rescue?

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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by ffj » Tue Oct 03, 2017 3:06 pm

What, the basket hitch? Absolutely.

Everything I am showing is appropriate for rescue work. I would hang off of that anchor any day of the week. Note that I'm tying it with an approved rescue rope however. That particular one has a tensile strength of 9,000 lbs.

I am making the assumption that the appropriate gear and rope is being used at all times, which I should probably have as a disclaimer in my first post.

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Gilberto de Piento
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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:50 pm

It's interesting comparing a rescue anchor to a "standard" climbing anchor. I would hang off that anchor too but if I saw someone top roping off of it they would get some suggestions on other ways to do it. From a climbing anchor perspective the problems are that it is only attached to one object (the tree), the rope is not redundant (one cut and it fails), the carabiner is not redundant (two reversed and opposed lockers are recommended), and the rope is pulling the carabiner in two different directions (barely).

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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by ffj » Wed Oct 04, 2017 7:16 am

I haven't shown any redundancies yet or the belays we would utilize as there is always a backup to whatever we do, which will come later. Right now I'm showcasing different possibilities.

We have to be careful not to go down endless rabbit holes of what is "safe" and appropriate responses. It will literally shut an operation down if standards aren't dictated before the call for a rescue is made. I've seen grown men almost come to blows over if one should use one carabiner or two carabiners on a litter basket in training. It's a blessing and a curse that there are so many ways of accomplishing work with rope.

So to address your concerns. One tree, one anchor yes, but we haven't discussed belays, redundancies, shared systems yet. Rope could be cut and anchor fail, yes, but so could a pre-sewn webbing sling or our main line. Most climbers only operate with one climbing line, see my point here? We have to choose operations that meet a minimum safety threshold and move on, otherwise we lose any sort of efficiency and remember, there is someone in peril or we wouldn't be there. Regarding the two carabiners, reversed and opposed locking gates is fine, but so is one steel locking carabiner rated for 9,000 lbs. And finally, the vector of that basket hitch is as good as it gets, but yes, the angle of our anchors coming into our carabiners matter, which I'll describe in more detail at a later date.

Thanks again for all of the questions, it really makes a difference.

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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by ffj » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:03 am

Wrap-Three, Pull Two Anchor

This is a common anchor often tied with webbing, and has an excellent strength rating. Remember that the third wrap will be the two ends being tied to each other to form the third loop around the object.

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Form your water knot at this point:

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While holding the knot to keep it centered on the tree, grab the two strands and and work the loops until the knot is resting loosely against the tree:

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Remember we can also tie this same anchor with pieces of rope:

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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by ffj » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:26 pm

Fixed and Focused Anchor

Many times we will have to anchor to a larger object such as a large tree, rock, building column, etc. Shorter lengths of webbing, rope, or slings just won't be long enough so we have to utilize a full length rope to complete the job. The downside of course is that it takes out of commission a rope that may be needed for other applications so it's important to plan for that event.

Start by wrapping whatever anchor you've chosen:

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Take the two ends and middle section and form a loop. Plan on the tail being able to complete the loop.

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While keeping all three strands neat and compact, choke up on the bundle:

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Form an overhand knot again keeping the strands even and compact. It may help to clip a carabiner on to keep it organized:

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Dress the knot:

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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by ffj » Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:46 am

Another Variation of the Fixed and Focused

We can also encapsulate two separate objects to be anchored to utilizing this method. Keep in mind though that each loop should equally share the load being applied to the system. We accomplish this by pulling on all of the strands prior to tying the large overhand in the direction the load will be applied. With a little practice a very quick anchor can be tied using this method.

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Bring each outside strand over to form your loop:

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And tie your overhand knot. Note that each loop is equally loaded. If the load shifts then only one loop will be carrying the load so we must take care to anticipate the direction of the weight applied.

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