Approaching a glacier as a roped team of two
A crevasse fall is one of the major risks when approaching a glacier. Carrying hauling equipment and knowing hauling techniques is an essential precaution. But in the case of a crevasse fall, you must first stop your partner's fall without falling in yourself. With a team of two, one climber alone will have to be the counter-weight. It is thus important to start with the odds on your side...
- Carefully read the Instructions for Use used in this technical advice before consulting the advice itself. You must have already read and understood the information in the Instructions for Use to be able to understand this supplementary information.
- Mastering these techniques requires specific training. Work with a professional to confirm your ability to perform these techniques safely and independently before attempting them unsupervised.
- We provide examples of techniques related to your activity. There may be others that we do not describe here.
The two climbers tie in at each end of the rope.
The tie-in distance is then adjusted with their tied off chest coils.
In case of a fall, the belayer often needs to move forward to withstand the first impact, then again to slow movement and completely arrest the fall. The length of the rope between the belayer and the crevasse allows this displacement.
The tie-in distance not only allows having just one team member exposed to the crevasse, but also to have enough space for a fall-arrest maneuver.
Each team member must keep enough rope for setting up a hauling system.
Knots to facilitate braking
The rope cutting through the lip of the crevasse is a significant factor in braking a fall.
Arresting a fall on a bare ice lip is very difficult.
On a snow lip, the presence of knots in the rope is a valuable braking aid.
Tie knots every 2 m along the rope (figure eight, overhand, butterfly...).
Note: the knots in the rope make the hauling system more complicated to set up after a crevasse fall.
• Solution 1: set up a hauling system on a knotted rope (see Crevasse falls: hauling on a knotted rope).
• Solution 2: you have enough extra rope to set up a hauling system without knots on the free end of the rope sent down to the victim (for example, you can have this amount of extra rope by having joined two 50-60 m ropes).
Keep the rope taut
The team members synchronize their progression in order to keep the rope taut without holding looped rope in their hands. If the rope is slack, the victim will fall faster, their partner will not be able to stop the fall, and risks being pulled into the crevasse themself.