Let’s lighten the load
After a particularly arduous 24hrs underground and 1000m of hauling on a deep cave SAREX(Search And Rescue EXercise) we started our journey towards asking the right questions about lightweight rope rescue.
Could we lighten up the backcountry rope rescue gear we use while keeping acceptable safety margins?
We knew we had to start with a change in philosophy. The realisation that changed my thinking was that every rope rescue I had done was a single-person load. After hundreds of operations and 27 years of experience, the only time I have rescued a two-person load was in training.
For lightweight rope rescue, one of the first things we considered was a smaller diameter rope. Two immediate questions arose: would we be able to find equipment to work with a smaller diameter and would that have the performance we needed?
We teamed up with the Speleological Society (NZSS), Cave SAR and Land SAR in New Zealand to undertake performance testing on 10mm rope for lightweight rope rescue. The trials included 100kg and 200kg drop tests on belay devices (7mm Edelrid Tandem Prusiks, Petzl Grigri+, and Edelrid Eddy) and slow pull tests on rope grabs (7mm Edelrid Prusiks and Petzl Basic).
To get the results of the testing enter your first name and email address below, and I’ll send you the article ‘Let’s lighten the load.’
Note: there is now an updated version of the testing completed over 2020/21: Let’s lighten the load: update. Check it out HERE.
Grant at Over The Edge Rescue.