Crevasse Rescue and Ice Climbing

November 22, 2009   

Sunday is a day off for some people on base including me (picture above is me ice climbing today!). The planes were still flying though taking people off into the field some are going for 90 days living in a tent on ice shelves doing a variety of experiments.
We didn’t finish all our field training last week so we had a little more to finish this morning including how to rope up as an alpine pair and the use of prussicks when travelling across glaciers. Basically you hope that if your partner falls through a snow bridge they will self rescue while you brace yourself. However as they might be injured you have to learn how to hoist the person from a crevasse. BAS uses a system called Z pulley system which provides a mechanical advantage to pull the person out of the crevasse.
You have to first of all arrest the fall then place suitable anchors and link them together. After doing that you can take yourself out of the brace position as the persons weight is on the anchors and you can carefully go to the edge of the crevasse and assess the situation. While you are at the edge you prepare the edge as the line will be cutting into the snow so you use a ice axe and hammer to create a lip for the line to slide over you can also at this point descend if necessary to help out your injured partner. Next you construct a pully system using jumars and blocks and can hoist the person out.

After lunch (a cooked English breakfast) we went out for a few hours of ice climbing.

It is the first time I have done it and it really was great fun. A new sport to do in the evenings as the ice cliff is just behind the hanger less than a 1/4 mile from my room.
Another great day down south 🙂 Can’t believe I have only been here a week..

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