Rope Rescue System RRS

  1. Home
  2. /
  3. Member Home
  4. /
  5. Nordic
  6. /
  7. Nordic Tobbagan
  8. /
  9. Rope Rescue System RRS

Using ropes

In general, there are limited situations where ski patrollers at Hoodoo will utilize rope systems.

This is a topic for Nordic Senior and patrols that do rope rescue.

At best, we would use ropes for low angle work. Less than 30°.

The question is: What will happen to the patient and sled if the rescue team looses control and releases the sled? If the answer is an uncontrollable slide, then use a rope rescue system to secure patient transport.

Note that the following images have explanatory captions below them.


There are many anchor techniques. This is wrap 3, pull 2 – w3p2. Always keep the anchor sling knot is clear sight so you can mind it. Notice the knot is against the anchor and not part of the pull 2.
An overhand on a bight creates a redundant master point and shelf.

By tying the overhand knot it fixes the direction of pull and does not allow the tension in all the strands of the anchor to remain nearly equal (if the direction of pull changes). In order words, with the overhand knot, if the direction of pull does not agree with the orientation of the knot, two of the anchor strands will be (more) heavily loaded and two will be (more) lightly loaded. This may cause the W3P2 to rotate on its anchor which might cause anchor point failure. One point in favor of the overhand knot is that if one strand of the anchor is cut, the whole anchor will not fail (at least not immediately). – Bob F


For the following images, imagine that the sled and patient are secured to the double-overhand backed up, figure-8 on a bight. The rescue team will pull on the other free end of the rope.

Pulling the patient uphill? Have the rescue team pull downhill through a simple direction reversing carabiner.
Better yet? Use a progress capture prusik. The pulley helps reduce friction and changes the progress capture prusik into an autoblock. Tend your prusiks!!!
Tending a prusik.
Need more mechanical advantage? Set up a Z-pulley by adding another biner, optional pulley, and prusik. What is the MA? Now you need another prusik tender. Does the prusik tender need a belay?
Adding a radium release to the system. Why and how is it used?


It is quick and simple to switch to lowering mode with a munter added to the anchor shelf. A gentle grip on the progress capture prusik is needed by the tender to enable a smooth descent. The Z-pulley is removed for lowering.

The munter allows one person precise control while lowering. Engage the progress capture prusik during no-motion, holding periods or to switch back into Z-pulley raising mode.

Putting the mule-overhand on the munter.

The munter-mule-overhand on the shelf is the anchor when using the radium-release to escape or extend the system. Whoops! I accidentally answered the previous question!

The munter-mule-overhand can be used to reset the radium release hitch.

Note that the Z-pulley has been removed when using the system to lower, extend, or escape.

Using the rope rescue system will add several items to your and/or your team’s kit.

  • Haul rope – how long?
  • Anchor materials
    • Slings – how long?
    • Rope for larger anchors
    • Digging tools
    • Deadman materials – skis, pack, tree limbs or trunks
  • Several sturdy, locking carabiners
  • Several sturdy prusik slings with a diameter smaller than the main haul rope.
  • Several rescue grade pulleys
  • What else?

I look forward to refreshing this skill with you on the hill.

Using skis and a shovel for the anchor.

Discussion – more to come

  • Anchors – SERENE – A
    • Solid: Each component of the anchor must be completely solid.
    • Equalized: Rig the anchor so that the load is distributed as equally as possible between the individual anchor points.
    • Redundant: You must always use redundant components when building an anchor so that if one component fails, the anchor will not automatically fail. At a minimum, use two solid anchor points. Three or more are recommended. Ensure that all parts of your anchor have built-in redundancy, including carabiners and slings.
    • Efficient: Make efficient use of time and gear when you’re building an anchor, and don’t create something that is overly complicated.
    • No Extension: Construct your anchors so that if one anchor point fails it won’t cause the anchor to suddenly extend, which would shock load the remaining anchor points and generate high impact forces.
    • Angles: Consider the angles created by the sling or slings in your anchor system. Larger angles put more force on each anchor point, so keep the angles to 60 degrees or less.
    • 21 Oct 2020
  • Anchor methods
    • Slings/webbing – water knot
    • Cordelette – double fishermans, canadian death knot
    • Deadmen
    • Pickets, flukes
    • Bollard
  • Friction control for lowering
    • Munter
    • ATC
    • GriGri
  • Prusik uses
    • Progress capture/autoblock
    • Tractor