Crevasse Rescue Class

June 22, 24, 2006

As there was a fairly small signup this year with only seven students, we were able to get by with a single day field session. On Thursday evening we met at the newly refurbished Obsidian Lodge and reviewed knots, glacier travel, and practiced prusiking up a rope on the Obsidian climbing wall. Most carpooled up to Trillium Lake Friday night and stayed at the primitive campground there.

We gathered in the lot at Timberline on Saturday morning. On a nearby snowfield we reviewed snow anchors. Three instructors then roped up and simulated a crevasse rescue situation, including setting up a Z pulley system. We divided up into teams of three or four and practiced roped glacier travel, including setting up running belays. Meanwhile Tim went ahead up the mountain searching for either a crevasse or a steep, overhung snow bank. He found a suitable snow bank less than a mile up the climbers’ trail. While there’s nothing quite like hanging around in a crevasse, an overhung snow bank will do for practice when the real thing isn’t available.

The students divided up into a group of three and a group of four. They then ran through the scenario three times, each time with a different “victim”. The “victim” (also on a safety belay), slid over the edge, their fall was arrested by their rope team. The team then “rescued” them, hauling them out of the (simulated) crevasse using a Z pulley system. The most valuable thing learned was that you want to avoid falling into a crevasse in the first place!

Students were Brian Watson, Sean Allensworth, Roy Mcormick, Peter Green, Adam Gapinski, April Anderson and Scot Hunt. Instructors were Tim and Michele McCall and Don McLaughlin (all with Eugene Mountain Rescue), and Wayne Deeter.

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