Building a rescue haul system kit

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Re: Building a rescue haul system kit

Postby Anonymous_Coward » Aug 12, 2013 5:36 pm

I carry a Petzl Mini PMP, a Petzl Partner pulley and two prusik cords. This all fits in a quart-sized Ziploc. It is a 3:1 in a bag, just add rope and carabiners. The PMP and one prusik (or none) can be used to build counterbalance hauls.

The way I learned the correct length for rescue prusiks is to cut 10 feet of cord into 4.5 and 5.5 foot lengths. This gives you a long and short prusik in the correct lengths for a tandem triple wrap prusik belay. I have found that with the mini pulleys it is advisable to add one more wrap to the triples to end up with quadruple wrap prusiks. This minimizes slack in the loops and will provide more efficient progress capture and space savings in tight quarters.
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Re: Building a rescue haul system kit

Postby Carl Amundson » Aug 12, 2013 10:05 pm

Anonymous_Coward wrote:I carry a Petzl Mini PMP, a Petzl Partner pulley and two prusik cords. This all fits in a quart-sized Ziploc. It is a 3:1 in a bag, just add rope and carabiners. The PMP and one prusik (or none) can be used to build counterbalance hauls.

The way I learned the correct length for rescue prusiks is to cut 10 feet of cord into 4.5 and 5.5 foot lengths. This gives you a long and short prusik in the correct lengths for a tandem triple wrap prusik belay. I have found that with the mini pulleys it is advisable to add one more wrap to the triples to end up with quadruple wrap prusiks. This minimizes slack in the loops and will provide more efficient progress capture and space savings in tight quarters.

If I'm using a prusik loop for a progress-capture on a small pulley I like to use a Klemheist, not a triple-wrap prusik. I find is breaks loose easier on the small pulley and will grab the rope just as well.
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Re: Building a rescue haul system kit

Postby chh » Aug 13, 2013 6:58 am

900 feet huh? You definitely want to stay away from anything but a 1:1 with a crapload of people, or a counter balance. Anything else will take too long and amplify your problems.
Also, as has been said, the most important thing is to make sure that your rig point is placed well enough to do anything you anticipate needing to do at the top (like move someone around who may or may not be able to help you out).

Preparing for small party rescue is awesome, but keep in mind that in doing so you are signing on for doing at least 10 times the amount of work you just did caving. I think the most crucial part of a rescue pre-plan is having a competent call out list or phone tree. Something that sets a lot of the right people moving quickly. (provided someone can get to a phone in time which may or may not be a reality) Get some help as soon as possible. Seems to me rescue "successes" happen on a two-fold front. First, the parties involved are competent and do everything that is possible to do with limited resource to move the patient towards help. Second, help gets there and expedites the timeline.
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Re: Building a rescue haul system kit

Postby Stridergdm » Aug 13, 2013 9:12 am

chh wrote:900 feet huh? You definitely want to stay away from anything but a 1:1 with a crapload of people, or a counter balance. Anything else will take too long and amplify your problems.
Also, as has been said, the most important thing is to make sure that your rig point is placed well enough to do anything you anticipate needing to do at the top (like move someone around who may or may not be able to help you out).

Preparing for small party rescue is awesome, but keep in mind that in doing so you are signing on for doing at least 10 times the amount of work you just did caving. I think the most crucial part of a rescue pre-plan is having a competent call out list or phone tree. Something that sets a lot of the right people moving quickly. (provided someone can get to a phone in time which may or may not be a reality) Get some help as soon as possible. Seems to me rescue "successes" happen on a two-fold front. First, the parties involved are competent and do everything that is possible to do with limited resource to move the patient towards help. Second, help gets there and expedites the timeline.


Yeah, if you have a 3:1 and 900' of drop, that's 2700' of rope to pull. That's a lot. On the other hand, you might not have much choice. But for a small-party, if you can, definitely learn counter-balances.

As far as a call-out list goes, please call 911 (or whatever the local emergency number is) before calling caving buddies. While most likely you want the cavers to rescue you, as soon as you start "calling in others" you're hitting a raft of potential legal issues. Getting the local authorities involved greatly helps there.

And more and more I think you should look into the NCRC Small Party Rescue class. It's geared to folks like you.
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Re: Building a rescue haul system kit

Postby Anonymous_Coward » Aug 13, 2013 4:07 pm

chh wrote: Preparing for small party rescue is awesome, but keep in mind that in doing so you are signing on for doing at least 10 times the amount of work you just did caving. I think the most crucial part of a rescue pre-plan is having a competent call out list or phone tree. Something that sets a lot of the right people moving quickly. (provided someone can get to a phone in time which may or may not be a reality) Get some help as soon as possible.


While this is good advice in general, OpenTrackRacer is right to plan for self-rescue. I agree that it is good to get help on the way, but sometimes that is not an option. Out here in the wild west, we often do not have competent people available that could respond in any reasonable amount of time. Most of our caves and mines are too remote for us to be able to count on any kind of effective call-out rescue. The responsibility is on us.

So for us, the most crucial part of a rescue pre-plan is carrying some gear and knowing how to use it. A phone tree is nice to have, but in many cases in the west it is sort of a fantasy-world solution. Some of our caves are too cold to tolerate 5-6 hour response times. So, we must prepare and unfortunately always be ready to start doing 10 times the work we just did caving.
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Re: Building a rescue haul system kit

Postby OpenTrackRacer » Aug 13, 2013 6:50 pm

As one might imagine, my thinking and planning is shaped to a large extent by what I learned (and used) at NCRC. Looking at the Mini Traxion and Pro Traxion, their 2.5kN working loads seem to be awfully low for rescue rigging. I'd much rather have the 8kN working load of the Minder PMP combined with the simple operation and reliability of a prusik. The efficiency of the pulley is higher was well and the larger sheave diameter will reduce friction on 11mm Pit Rope. In addition, I'd rather not rappel or ascend on rope supported by a toothed cam device (if the haul system is pre-rigged). As for the Rescucender, it's a convenience and ease of operation thing. A prusik would work just fine too. I think I'd rather have the larger cam on the Rescucender verses the Microcender (so long as I'm not carrying it in my pack).

For this particular project, we'll be rigging overhead to a large headframe and the final anchor point will be down low. Any hauling system will be setup horizontally, not vertically (with a few redirects). The mine is quite cold so if there is an issue, the sooner we can get someone out the better. I haven't been trained on a counterbalance system so I'd be very hesitant to rig one. I'd rather do the extra work (and spend the extra time) on a 3:1 and know it's setup right. We'll be working on the 700' level but there are multiple levels above that so an extraction could be from any depth.

Thanks for the prusik length info. I did some research before the NCRC class and 7mm cord was recommended. I have 25' and it'll still work so I'll start with that and see how it goes.

I got in touch with Singing Rock on their "Pancake prusik minder" and it's pretty nifty. It basically turns any pulley into a PMP. I'm going to pickup a few to play around with (especially since I have a bunch of Fixe pulleys already).

I'd love to take a small party rescue class. I'll have to research when and where one might be offered.

Thanks again for all the feedback!

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Re: Building a rescue haul system kit

Postby Stridergdm » Aug 13, 2013 7:35 pm

I definitely think you're making a very smart choice there, and it's not the equipment, etc: it's the "go with what you know.'

While I think many of us would prefer the counter-balance, you have a good point, right now, not knowing HOW to rig it might create a worse situation.

That said, I'd still encourage you to eventually learn it.

Good luck, be safe.

(and to state the obvious, pack the obvious, extra food, warm clothing. Consider some of the self-heating meals and a thermos of something hot.)
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Re: Building a rescue haul system kit

Postby paul » Aug 14, 2013 6:16 am

Most of you probably already know this but in case anyone else comes across this topic and doesn't: always remember in any haul system, you may need to lower the load as well as raise it. This is worth bearing in mind when the capture system involves a jammer of some sort (such as pulley/jammer combination or Traxion/Mini-Traxion).
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Re: Building a rescue haul system kit

Postby NZcaver » Aug 14, 2013 3:42 pm

OpenTrackRacer wrote:Looking at the Mini Traxion and Pro Traxion, their 2.5kN working loads seem to be awfully low for rescue rigging. I'd much rather have the 8kN working load of the Minder PMP combined with the simple operation and reliability of a prusik.

You're talking about 2 different functions. The 2.5kN max working load (4kN MBS) for the Pro Traxion is with the cam engaged, and the pulley itself is rated much higher (22kN MBS, 11kN per side). Read the Petzl tech notice. The Pro Traxion is fine for rescue rigging when used appropriately, and of course so is your preferred Prusik option.

In addition, I'd rather not rappel or ascend on rope supported by a toothed cam device (if the haul system is pre-rigged).

If you use a device like the Pro Traxion for the PCD in a pre-rigged haul system, it doesn't need to left gripping/anchoring the rope while people rappel and climb. You can simply rig a Prusik or Rescucender onto the line for that. The big advantage in using a pulley with built-in cam for your PCD - besides being so compact - is that it's relatively easy to lower through the system if you need to. You only need to barely tension the system in order to disengage the cam, versus with a Prusik where you actually need to haul a little to 'break' the Prusik and then tend it while you lower through the system. Each method has pros and cons, and going with the NCRC standard Prusik/Minder combo would be fine too. And cheaper.

Or if you don't mind blowing more money (and fumes)... just pick yourself up one of these things. :laughing:

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Re: Building a rescue haul system kit

Postby OpenTrackRacer » Aug 15, 2013 12:49 am

Paul and Jansen, you just hit on several things that I'd been thinking about.

I have no idea how you go about lowering the load with a Micro Traxion or Pro Traxon. I do know what to do with a prusik and PMP (and it's pretty simple). With the Traxion devices, if you're doing a lower and everyone drops dead (yes, hands off), what happens? Does one manually hold the cam open and it engages when released? What if the load started to get away? I'd much rather have the prusik engage than the toothed cam on the Traxion twins.

As for the loading, the 2.5kN is indeed for the cam engaged but for progress capture that's exactly what counts. I don't know... maybe I'm just being too conservative. I'm usually a gadget freak but in this case the "old fashioned" solution seems to me to be the best one. Then again, I'd rather use the Rescucender to haul the line versus a prusik so go figure.

As for the gas powered Portable Winch, don't think we haven't looked at getting one. If we ever get the budget it goes on the shopping list for sure!

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Re: Building a rescue haul system kit

Postby NZcaver » Aug 15, 2013 3:27 am

OpenTrackRacer wrote:I have no idea how you go about lowering the load with a Micro Traxion or Pro Traxon. I do know what to do with a prusik and PMP (and it's pretty simple). With the Traxion devices, if you're doing a lower and everyone drops dead (yes, hands off), what happens? Does one manually hold the cam open and it engages when released? What if the load started to get away? I'd much rather have the prusik engage than the toothed cam on the Traxion twins.

Rule number one, Mike - don't drop dead. There was no whistle test when you were belaying with a Munter in level 1, was there? The cams on the Traxions do lock in the disengaged position, yes. You would likely have at least 2-3 people controlling the lower while another one tends the PCD and re-engages the cam. Lowering through a haul system is only really a short-distance convenience - like down-climbing on ascenders - and for any significant distance you would be wise to change over to a fixed brake lower.

As for the loading, the 2.5kN is indeed for the cam engaged but for progress capture that's exactly what counts. I don't know... maybe I'm just being too conservative. I'm usually a gadget freak but in this case the "old fashioned" solution seems to me to be the best one. Then again, I'd rather use the Rescucender to haul the line versus a prusik so go figure.

Sure, it's good to pick and choose options for your gadget collection contingency plan. And yes, having a camming device with teeth anchoring the system or providing progress capture could potentially be catastrophic if your high help or redirect or whatever blows out and the system sustains a massive shock load. Especially if you're running single rope and no belay.

For now, make yourself up a Prusik loop or two and buy that Rescucender and Minder pulley you so desperately want. You'll need a second pulley, so unless you already have something you might as well pick up a second Minder in case you need to reconfigure and use it to mind another Prusik. If not, just get yourself a nice smooth pulley to crank on. A haul system works best when the first pulley the rope goes through (nearest to the haul team) is reasonably efficient. Then you'll want to pick up a pulley for your high help redirect, and more pulleys to increase your MA, yada yada yada.

Then when you do your next NCRC class - or the one after that - you'll buy yourself a Micro Traxion and some small pulleys, and make up a little emergency kit to carry with you. And learn how to reconfigure your climbing system to assist other people, and rig counterbalance systems, and more. You'll be beside yourself with excitement. Just ask the 5 NCRC instructors who have been replying to you in this topic. :big grin:
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Re: Building a rescue haul system kit

Postby OpenTrackRacer » Aug 15, 2013 10:59 am

NZcaver wrote:Rule number one, Mike - don't drop dead. There was no whistle test when you were belaying with a Munter in level 1, was there? The cams on the Traxions do lock in the disengaged position, yes. You would likely have at least 2-3 people controlling the lower while another one tends the PCD and re-engages the cam. Lowering through a haul system is only really a short-distance convenience - like down-climbing on ascenders - and for any significant distance you would be wise to change over to a fixed brake lower.

Dropping dead is very far down on my list! Having everyone who's on haul duty drop dead while doing a lower is pretty unlikely but stranger things have happened. We didn't do a whistle test with a Munter belay because we never had anyone on a belay only (and besides, we all know what would happen and no one wanted to clean up the mess).

NZcaver wrote:Sure, it's good to pick and choose options for your gadget collection contingency plan. And yes, having a camming device with teeth anchoring the system or providing progress capture could potentially be catastrophic if your high help or redirect or whatever blows out and the system sustains a massive shock load. Especially if you're running single rope and no belay.

There's a really relevant point in that for us... in most cases we would not be able to have a belay on the person being rescued due to a lack of rope (of the proper length) and personnel. Having the haul or lower system be as bulletproof as possible becomes even more important (as is having everyone operating it being comfortable and familiar with how it works).

NZcaver wrote:For now, make yourself up a Prusik loop or two and buy that Rescucender and Minder pulley you so desperately want. You'll need a second pulley, so unless you already have something you might as well pick up a second Minder in case you need to reconfigure and use it to mind another Prusik. If not, just get yourself a nice smooth pulley to crank on. A haul system works best when the first pulley the rope goes through (nearest to the haul team) is reasonably efficient. Then you'll want to pick up a pulley for your high help redirect, and more pulleys to increase your MA, yada yada yada.

Then when you do your next NCRC class - or the one after that - you'll buy yourself a Micro Traxion and some small pulleys, and make up a little emergency kit to carry with you. And learn how to reconfigure your climbing system to assist other people, and rig counterbalance systems, and more. You'll be beside yourself with excitement.

I'll probably end up buying a Micro Traxion too since they're on sale and I'm a gadget freak. We already have a Petzl Rescue (plus a bunch of the smaller Fixe pulleys) and a Minder and Rescucender are already in my cart for Karst Sports (can't pass up a Petzl sale). I really want to take some more classes but finding room in the schedule (and being able to travel the distance) is the hard part. I think the Rangers at Lava Beds need a Level 2 course...

NZcaver wrote:Just ask the 5 NCRC instructors who have been replying to you in this topic. :big grin:

Oh believe me, I know and I'm loving the feedback. As for annoying questions, just ask Roger about me and Dav (and don't get me started on tying in a cowstail when acting as an edge tender...).
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Re: Building a rescue haul system kit

Postby OpenTrackRacer » Aug 17, 2013 4:20 pm

Then again... I guess I'll be experimenting with the Pro Traxion. I just picked one up off a climber for $65!

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Re: Building a rescue haul system kit

Postby snoboy » Aug 17, 2013 6:50 pm

Something to be aware of is the potential for the Pro Trax to fail:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/threa ... _id=808440

It's not that popular among aid climbers for this reason. Apparently the Mini Trax has a better reputation.
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Re: Building a rescue haul system kit

Postby OpenTrackRacer » Aug 17, 2013 7:34 pm

I read that a few weeks ago. Tragic (and very preventable).

Mike

snoboy wrote:Something to be aware of is the potential for the Pro Trax to fail:

http://www.supertopo.com/climbing/threa ... _id=808440

It's not that popular among aid climbers for this reason. Apparently the Mini Trax has a better reputation.
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