Monday, September 12, 2005

Crevasse Rescue & CZ Haul System

During my August Mountaineering training on Mt Baker, I learned fundamental glacier travel and crevasse rescue techniques from the American Alpine Institute. The following pictures show our class on the Easton Glacier practicing these techniques. (Click on picture for larger image)

Climbing steep ice with our crampons (German Technique):

Front Pointing (German Style) Posted by Picasa

Climbing out of a crevasse using our prussik lines:

Climbing Out of a Crevasse Posted by Picasa

We were also taught how to set up a CZ 6-to-1 haul system. This instruction was for implementation by a two-man rope team, meaning one person falls into a crevasse leaving the remaining person on his own to arrest the fall, setup the haul system, and haul his partner out of the crevasse. The primary steps for performing the rescue and setting up the haul system, to the best of my recollection, are listed below. I have included photos of several portions of the haul system we set up during our practice sessions in a snow field on Mt baker.

1. Self Arrest the fall.
2. Dig T-Slot & set picket or fluke anchor.
3. Clip foot prussik into anchor sling.
4. Transfer weight to prussik & relax.
5. Remove rope coil & flake out.
6. Shed backpack.
7. Measure out slack rope to allow travel to set backup anchor, tie new fig eight loop in slack, hook loop to harness (unhook old loop from harness).
8. Walk over to backup anchor site and setup backup anchor.
9. Tie a new fig 8 loop in slack rope to allow travel to crevasse lip, hook loop to harness (unhook old loop from harness).
10. Girth hitch pack cordellette (loop) to waist prussik, move out near crevasse lip, straddle rope seated, kick holes in snow to allow placement of ice ax under rope to pad lip.
11. Slide ice ax under rope to pad crevasse lip.
12. Remove all figure 8 knots from line.
13. Clip slack rope to master with a locker, run rope back down to within a few feet of padded crevasse lip. Tie a prussik (waist or pack loop)to the loaded rope near the crevasse lip, clip the prussik’s loop to pulley “A”, run the slack rope through pulley “A”, and add a figure 8 loop to the side exiting pulley “A”.
14. Tie another figure 8 loop on the very end of the slack rope, clip it into the master, run it back down toward victim, run it through another pulley (pulley “B”), and clip this pulley to the figure 8 created in step 13.
15. Establish a “hauling” seat in the snow near the ratcheting (foot) prussik. As you begin hauling, tend the ratcheting prussik and, occasionally reset the traveling prussik back toward the crevasse lip.


CZ Haul System (End View):

C-Z Haul System Posted by Picasa

CZ Haul System (Detailed View Below Master Biner):

CZ Haul Rigging Posted by Picasa

CZ Haul System (Top Half):

Top Half of CZ Haul System Posted by Picasa

CZ Haul System (Master Biner Linkage):

Master Link Posted by Picasa

CZ Haul System (Redundant Anchors):

Redundant Anchors For CZ Haul System Posted by Picasa

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Mt Baker-Easton Glacier

(Click on picture to see larger image.)







Paul on Mt Baker Summit - Click here for slide show

Recently, I participated in a 6-day mountaineering course on Mount Baker. During the course, I received instruction on glacier travel, crevasse rescue, setting effective snow anchors and belays, rock climbing, and various other fundamental mountaineering principles. The course began on Monday, 22 August 2005, we summited Mount Baker (10,778 feet) on day-4 which was 25 August, and we returned to Bellingham, WA on Saturday.

I was one member of a diverse, 6-student group, guided and schooled by two very experienced American Alpine Institue guides. Our group received approximately 10 hours of instruction daily in sessions held on the Easton Glacier and on snow fields above our base camp.

Most of these slide show's pictures were taken near Base Camp or from the summit of Mount Baker. Scenic views from the summit and Base Camp were pretty spectacular with Mount Rainier, Baker Lake, and Sisters Peaks to the south; Mount Shuksan and much of the interior North Cascades to the East; the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains to the West; and the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the North. Every day at base camp we woke to the topography of Mount Baker, which included clear views of the summit, the adjacent Easton Glacier to the East, and just above us, the Black Buttes and Colfax Peak.

Pictures taken from the summit include the volcanic crater on Mt Baker, known as Sherman Crater, and several of its sulpherous fumeroles.

Sherman Crater Fumerole Posted by Picasa

Sherman Peak Posted by Picasa