Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Technical Rescue: Two Tensioned Rope Systems

NOTE: Technical rope rescue is a discipline that is heavily informed by climbing, but its systems are commonly not used by climbers. Technical rescue often relys on equipment that climbers do not have, like static ropes and large pulley systems. Technical rescue systems are commonly used by mountain rescue teams, fire fighters and industrial rescue teams. To learn more about technical rescue programs offered by the American Alpine Institute, click here.

Modern technical rope rescue systems are dominated by two rope systems. Commonly a system will have a line that is delineated as a main line, and a line that is deliniated as a belay line. However, over last few years many rope rescue researchers have been looking at a system that eliminates the concept of the main and the belay.

New research indicates that it's better to treat both lines the exact same way. These systems, commonly referred to as "mirrored systems" are officially known as two tensioned rope systems.

The reason that rescuers have been leaning toward this shift is because there is a lot of evidence that the standard main and belay system used by most SAR teams doesn't adequately catch a fall after a failure in the system. If the main line fails, the belay line is supposed to catch the load. And it does. But it commonly does it after a two to four meter fall...

The two tensioned rope system decreases that fall dramatically.

The following video was designed to introduce the two tensioned rope system to experienced rescuers.

I shot the following video at the Mountain Rescue Association meeting in Olympic Mountain National Park in 2016. This video demos a lower using an MPD on both sides of the system on a snowslope:

This video shows a hauling system with a two tensioned rope system, using MPDs as progress captures:

Transition from one system to another is incredibly hard for a rescue team. Many people are deeply invested in the way things have been done in the past. However, there is a lot of legitimacy in rescue teams experimenting with this system.

You never know. You might just like it...

--Jason D. Martin

1 comment:

PEEPs said...

Good article Jason!
Both are good systems to have in your knowledge tool box.
Keep up the good work!