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 » 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?

ffj
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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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ffj
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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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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by ffj » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:07 am

The Double Figure Eight (bunny ears) Anchor

Here is another way to utilize separate loops to capture two different points of contact. I've used trees in this example but a common occurrence is to utilize bolt anchors such as used in rock climbing.

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Bunny ears are easily adjustable and again we want to equalize the load on each point of contact.

Here is an example of two equal loop lengths:

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And adjusted for an offset load direction:

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Here are more examples of using two anchor bolts:

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And with webbing:

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Some like to create a self-equalizing anchor with a twist on the inside loop. The loop prevents losing the entire anchor should one leg fail.

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Last edited by ffj on Sun Oct 29, 2017 3:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Sclass
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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by Sclass » Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:54 pm

ffj wrote:
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
Great thread. I've been waiting for you to mention this knot. Any experience climbing with it? I've been fantasizing about climbing a very large tree at my mom's using the prusik knots on a climbing rope so I can trim the tree.

I have no mountain climbing experience but I was hoping to try climbing the tree in 10' increments to test the technique. I've seen special mechanical attachments that do this without knots and wonder is the prusik just for emergencies like a muenter/carabiner as a substitute for a rappelling figure 8 metal loop.

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

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:53 am

Rock climbers use the prusik to ascend ropes all the time, though it is inefficient compared to using mechanical devices such as ascenders. It is good practice to carry two prusik loops (plus slings and carabiners) so that a climber can ascend the rope if needed. The petzl tibloc is a popular piece of gear that can be used in place of the prusik, is more efficient, and still cheap.

I really don't think anyone should start from a place of no knowledge about climbing and go straight to ascending a large tree to trim it, sorry. There's just too much that could go wrong.

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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by ffj » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:39 am

@Sclass
Thanks. Rope training is a great way to scratch the itch of creative problem solving. It's amazing what you can do with a piece of rope.

I love climbing trees. Probably the next topic I will cover is ascending and descending rope, and the method of using a prussik will be addressed. It's actually a very simple process but it does require stamina. Don't let Gilberto scare you off ;). Once you learn the mechanics it's really fun and if you take the necessary precautions it is very safe. And I will cover all of the precautions one must consider before leaving the ground. Gravity is a bitch. :D

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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by ffj » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:49 am

Another Simple Anchor

Here is another way to secure an anchor that actually captures the object being used. It's a nice alternative to the basket hitch.

Start by wrapping the tree at least two times. I did three in this case because of the length of the rope I had, but keep in mind anything over three is overkill and it may interfere with the proper loading of your carabiner.

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Wrap it so that your tails end up roughly on the side of the anchor and secure with a double-fisherman knot:

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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by ffj » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:55 am

The Tension Tie-Back

There will be occasions where your primary anchor point will be sub-optimal. This can happen near cliff edges where the trees are somewhat stunted because of the topography . So we need a way to reinforce that primary anchor so we can utilize well-placed points of contact.

Start by tying a regular anchor to the under-sized or stunted tree (yellow) and another anchor that loops through the first one and is in the direction of the larger tree which will reinforce the smaller one:

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Tie an anchor to the larger tree that is in-line to the eventual load that will be applied to the primary anchor:

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Now we want to connect the two together so that when a load is applied to the primary anchor, both trees will be sharing the load. Since we have intertwined the two anchors on the primary tree, in the event the tree were to fail, the reinforcing tree would be able to capture the load. Keep in mind this would be a very bad event if this were to occur, so it is a redundancy that we would never want to utilize.

Start by tying a figure eight on a bight and connecting it to the primary anchor:

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Then it's a simple matter of looping a rope a couple of times through each tie-back carabiner:

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Now that we have a couple of loops in the system, we can utilize its mechanical advantage to get the tie-back very snug. With a partner, each of the four strands can be held and pulled in the direction of its intended travel. So work with a partner and just pull your dedicated strand and you'll be amazed at how tight you can make this system. Once we have accomplished that, we need to tie it off to maintain that tension.

Start by forming a large bight of the remaining tail and forming two half-hitches to be tied against the carabiner. You can maintain tension simply by pinching the rope against the carabiner before the half-hitches are applied.

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Once we have tied the two half-hitches, we need to finish with an overhand followed by a linked carabiner to ensure the knot cannot become undone:

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An overview of the complete system:

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Sclass
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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by Sclass » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:19 pm

Thanks for the warnings. I've actually topped the same trees as a 13 yo kid using backyard tree climbing skills and a loop of safety line clipped to the trunk. My dad would belay a safety line. Prolly considered child abuse today. :lol: Now that I'm faced with doing this alone I thought I'd try acending the rope with the knots. But...if there is a mechanical device that works better I'd like to buy one.

So a Prussik knot will be a huge improvement over climbing from limb to limb. I'm thinking I should try it first climbing say 10'. I think if I use a propper harness and clip in with safety line not much can go wrong. I can wear my bike helmet. :lol: Heh heh.

I'll probably just throw down $4000 and have the pros do it which is what I did a few years ago. It just didn't look all that magical and I felt I could have saved some green by climbing up myself.

I bought this book called Knots by Gordon Perry at a book discounter and I've been fantasizing about this for years.

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

Post by Gilberto de Piento » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:48 pm

Don't let Gilberto scare you off ;).
I don't want to scare or discourage anyone, I just want people to be safe. I'm not here to rain on anyone's parade and I think ropework is great and a lot of fun. :)

I think what really has me on a safety kick is that lately I've been seeing lots of people who just bought the gear for climbing or treework (I've done both), got little to no instruction, and are inventing methods as they go along. I'm all for risk taking by people who understand the risks they are exposing themselves to (example: Alex Honnold) but a lot of people are casually being really dangerous and have no idea. Thankfully I've never been around when someone has been hurt but I've seen some wake up calls for people who thought there was no problem (sometimes after being told otherwise).

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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by ffj » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:07 pm

@Sclass

There are tons of mechanical devices that make it very easy to climb rope which I'll showcase later. But prusiks work well too and are much cheaper. Before you start climbing just make sure your rope and all related gear are rated for life safety, and I would make sure your skills are solidified before carrying sharp objects such as handsaws and chainsaws up with you. :D

Simple tree jobs are pretty satisfying but you got to know when to call the pros too. I watch this guy quite a bit and he really does a professional and safe job and I've learned quite a bit from him.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSSqc6 ... -LBrjyRrvw

@Gilberto

Safety is everything, I agree, but I want to impress upon you and others that once reasonable safety requirements are met it's time to go to work. If Sclass does his due diligence and follows safety procedures then he shouldn't become unnecessarily worried about trimming a tree. What i would like to impress upon others is that once one has sufficient knowledge and skill, it takes a huge amount of danger out of the equation, even if it looks dangerous.

I hope you realize that I'm not dismissing your concerns, but I want to empower people who are interested in this to become good at it and subsequently become safe at it.

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Re: ffj's journal II Rope Rescue Technician

Post by ffj » Thu Oct 12, 2017 11:19 pm

The Anchor Sling

There are pre-made anchor slings manufactured that are very easy to use and take out the necessity to tie an anchor. They are very fast and should be used when possible to save time, however, keep in mind that most departments don't carry a lot of these and they won't always be suitable for the job at hand. Some are adjustable in length and some are fixed length and we need to make sure that we use the correct length whenever possible.

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It's as simple as it gets:

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We can also use this particular one in the choker mode but keep in mind that half of the strength rating disappears when this is done:

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And here is the strength ratings for different configurations along with the date of manufacture. Note the difference between a basket sling and a choker.

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