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Scrambling safety, looking for tips
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snarlbuckle


Apr 24, 2013, 5:00 AM
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Scrambling safety, looking for tips
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My wife and I are planning a week long hiking trip to an area full of scrambling, sheer drops, and unpredictable river crossings. We've done this route before, but at the time we didn't have any preparations in case of a fall or a hazardous river crossing. It seems like a climbing rope would be handy for a rescue in any of these situations, but what we are really lacking is experienced advice.

There are a few main situations I'd like to prepare for:

1) while scrambling, one of us slips and slides down the mountain. I'd like to arrest the fall if possible, and recover whoever fell.

2) one of us looses our footing on a sheer ledge (no more than 30' high) and falls or slides to the bottom. Again, I'd like to arrest the fall if possible. More than likely though, whoever is still on the ledge will have to come down to the injured person and offer aid and recovery.

3) While managing a particularly nasty river crossing, one of us looses our footing and gets washed down stream. How should we tie or hold a rope between us to prevent or recover from this situation?

I have a few major questions, and I welcome any tips on things I may not have considered.

Question 1) Should we have some sort of climbing rope connecting the two of us on difficult parts of the climb or the river crossings? If so, how? It wouldn't be hard to tie a hasty harness and run a rope through a biner during those parts, but I really have no idea what would be best.

Question 2) Assume one of us has fallen and is injured. The uninjured party member needs to get down there to help out. Would a hasty rappelling rig need to be made? If so, what can I use as a hasty anchor if an obvious tree isn't available? What might I need to do to get the injured person to a safer area?

Question 3) I'm on a steep slope or a sheer ledge with minimal footing and I begin to fall. What can I do to minimize injury?

Question 4) What is the safest way to cross a river as a two person team with a rope?

Question 5) With all of these concerns in mind, what types of basic gear should I carry? What type of rope would suit my needs, and what length? What can I use to make a hasty anchor? I'd rather tie my own harness than carry dedicated ones (unless a pre-made harness is lighter). Do I even need harnesses? Is there a specific type of carabiner(s) that would be considered essential? Price and weight are concerns, but this is primarily safety gear so I'm willing to carry whatever I need. I'll carry a chevy on my back if it means that I can keep my wife and myself that much safer.

Background: I'm not much of a climber. My experience is limited to some indoor walls and some military rappelling. I love doing it, just haven't made it a full time hobby.


marc801


Apr 24, 2013, 8:13 AM
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Re: [snarlbuckle] Scrambling safety, looking for tips [In reply to]
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snarlbuckle wrote:
My wife and I are planning a week long hiking trip to an area full of scrambling, sheer drops, and unpredictable river crossings. We've done this route before, but at the time we didn't have any preparations in case of a fall or a hazardous river crossing. It seems like a climbing rope would be handy for a rescue in any of these situations, but what we are really lacking is experienced advice.

There are a few main situations I'd like to prepare for:

1) while scrambling, one of us slips and slides down the mountain. I'd like to arrest the fall if possible, and recover whoever fell.

2) one of us looses our footing on a sheer ledge (no more than 30' high) and falls or slides to the bottom. Again, I'd like to arrest the fall if possible. More than likely though, whoever is still on the ledge will have to come down to the injured person and offer aid and recovery.

3) While managing a particularly nasty river crossing, one of us looses our footing and gets washed down stream. How should we tie or hold a rope between us to prevent or recover from this situation?

I have a few major questions, and I welcome any tips on things I may not have considered.

Question 1) Should we have some sort of climbing rope connecting the two of us on difficult parts of the climb or the river crossings? If so, how? It wouldn't be hard to tie a hasty harness and run a rope through a biner during those parts, but I really have no idea what would be best.

Question 2) Assume one of us has fallen and is injured. The uninjured party member needs to get down there to help out. Would a hasty rappelling rig need to be made? If so, what can I use as a hasty anchor if an obvious tree isn't available? What might I need to do to get the injured person to a safer area?

Question 3) I'm on a steep slope or a sheer ledge with minimal footing and I begin to fall. What can I do to minimize injury?

Question 4) What is the safest way to cross a river as a two person team with a rope?

Question 5) With all of these concerns in mind, what types of basic gear should I carry? What type of rope would suit my needs, and what length? What can I use to make a hasty anchor? I'd rather tie my own harness than carry dedicated ones (unless a pre-made harness is lighter). Do I even need harnesses? Is there a specific type of carabiner(s) that would be considered essential? Price and weight are concerns, but this is primarily safety gear so I'm willing to carry whatever I need. I'll carry a chevy on my back if it means that I can keep my wife and myself that much safer.

Background: I'm not much of a climber. My experience is limited to some indoor walls and some military rappelling. I love doing it, just haven't made it a full time hobby.
This is another one of those "Teach me how to anchor, belay, lower/raise a person, and some basic rigging while you're at it - essentially climbing 101 - all via internet discussion."

The answer is always the same: this is an ill suited platform for what you are asking. You need to read some basic climbing instruction books (titles/authors often mentioned on rc.com - do some searching) and then get hands-on face to face real live climbing instruction from someone who knows what they're doing.

Right now, if you drag around a rope and harnesses on your adventure without knowing how to use them and without knowledge of belaying or anchor building and the tools to do so, you're just giving yourself a false sense of security. It's potentially more dangerous than going without the climbing gear.


potreroed


Apr 24, 2013, 9:44 AM
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Re: [snarlbuckle] Scrambling safety, looking for tips [In reply to]
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I suggest you pick up a copy of Freedom of the Hills and then seek some hands-on instruction.

For the time being be sure to have your cell phone handy so you can call for help if necessary.


Winemaker


Apr 24, 2013, 9:49 AM
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Re: [snarlbuckle] Scrambling safety, looking for tips [In reply to]
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Exposure on some scrambling routes can be extreme. Maybe you should learn to evaluate objective hazard so you don't get in too deep. There are quite a few deaths from simple slips while scrambling. See http://www.traditionalmountaineering.org/News_Jack_OSU_slip.htm for an example.


snarlbuckle


Apr 24, 2013, 11:03 AM
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Re: [potreroed] Scrambling safety, looking for tips [In reply to]
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Potreroed, Thanks for pointing out such an excellent resource. Bonus points because I was able to grab a digital copy via the amazon store.

Winemaker, that a perfect example of the sort of accident I'm trying to avoid.

To both of you, thanks for the help.


colatownkid


Apr 24, 2013, 3:02 PM
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Re: [snarlbuckle] Scrambling safety, looking for tips [In reply to]
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You might also consider hiring a guide to teach you some techniques. I recommend finding an AMGA certified guide in your area. http://hireaguide.amga.com/

In addition to learning some basic skills hands-on from a competent instructor, you'd have the opportunity to use some equipment before purchasing, allowing you to make a more informed decision. For an ultra-light, packable harness, I like the Black Diamond Couloir http://www.blackdiamondequipment.com/...sses/couloir-harness

What you're describing sounds like it would be best protected by short roping techniques. However, this is a rather advanced skill and is definitely not something to learn over the internet. There is a chapter covering it in Houston and Cosley's Alpine Climbing: Techniques to Take you Higher.

http://books.google.com/...20roping&f=false


qwert


Apr 25, 2013, 3:16 AM
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Re: [snarlbuckle] Scrambling safety, looking for tips [In reply to]
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As has already been said, that stuff cannot simply be taught via the internet, at indeed some stuff is rather advanced and not suitable outside of guiding.

Nevertheless, here are some hints to help you get further literature or find proper courses/guides:

- There are rappel methods that work without a harness and a device. since we are essentially talking about a last resort/survival situation, those might be worth investigating.

- This place probably is the wrong place to find out about river crossing. However any basic book about outdoor skills or "survival" should have some diagrams on how to best do it.

- Just connecting two persons with a rope and thinking that one might stop the other persons fall is a very very bad idea. You will just end up with two people tumbling down the slope.

qwert


snarlbuckle


Apr 25, 2013, 5:10 AM
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Re: [qwert] Scrambling safety, looking for tips [In reply to]
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qwert wrote:
- Just connecting two persons with a rope and thinking that one might stop the other persons fall is a very very bad idea. You will just end up with two people tumbling down the slope.
qwert

That's what I figured, and is exactly why I'm researching the matter.


(This post was edited by snarlbuckle on Apr 25, 2013, 9:47 AM)


rocknice2


Apr 25, 2013, 11:50 AM
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Re: [snarlbuckle] Scrambling safety, looking for tips [In reply to]
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You got some great advice above. Use it please.

Your asking a lot to learn off the internet. The skills you are looking for are best taught in person.
You will need rock climbing lessons on how to lead and rescue.
Also swift water rescue.
It's not rocket science but hard to learn just from a book or the web. It may be as simple as snaking between trees or complex anchors. I don't know and right now neither do you. In swift water if you tie your partner to the rope they may get sucked under water in certain circumstances. Beware.

Best bet is find a knowledgeable person and have them teach you.
Or go without any protection relying on your skill in scrambling and swimming.


iknowfear


Apr 25, 2013, 2:14 PM
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Re: [snarlbuckle] Scrambling safety, looking for tips [In reply to]
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snarlbuckle wrote:
qwert wrote:
- Just connecting two persons with a rope and thinking that one might stop the other persons fall is a very very bad idea. You will just end up with two people tumbling down the slope.
qwert

That's what I figured, and is exactly why I'm researching the matter.

Accidents dont just happen. they are caused...

One thing that has not been mentioned is your fitness level.

The less in shape you are, the longer you hike, the more tired you get, the more likely are slips and stumbles.


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