Sunday, January 25, 2009

Vertical Rope Training

On Saturday and Sunday, my wife and I took a Personal Ropes Skills course taught by Madison County Search and Rescue. The course teaches how to ascend and descend a rope using various techniques, styles, and equipment. The course also taught how to pass knots when ascending and descending, how to negotiate rebelays, how to rescue someone stranded on rope using a second rope, and to rescue someone on rope using the same rope. For me, the course was a good refresher on ascending and descending, and I had a chance to use several different devices including Petzl handled ascenders, Petzl Tiblok, prusik knots, rescue figure eight, regular figure eight, racks, and an Anthron Double Stop Descender. I also really enjoyed learning the double rope and single rope rescue techniques. Hopefully, we'll never find it necessary to use these rescue techniques, but it's always better to be safe (and trained) than sorry.

My wife, Christy, was really excited to take the course, because she wants to go with me on some vertical caving trips. Our next step will be to head out to the local climbing area, drop a rope down the bluff, and practice the techniques we learned this past weekend. Once we are confident ascending/descending rope on a bluff, we'll head out to a cave with a short, less than 30 ft, drop and give it a shot!

Christy ascending rope using a frog system. Here, she is practicing passing a knot in the rope.

Here, Christy and I are practicing a 2 rope rescue scenario. Christy, as the patient, is on one rope, and I am in the processing of moving her onto my rope using the blue pick off strap. Once I got her down, we switched roles, and she "rescued" me. I'm glad to know she can do this, in case I ever get in trouble on rope!


Jason said...

Nice. Where did you have the ropes set. I remember doing that in the front yard. LOL

Mike said...

In the high school gymnasium in Huntsville. It was a pretty nice set up.