In this post, I will write about alpine skills such a recommended way of travel on glacier terrain and tying in as a team.
How to rope up on the glacier?
When we move into the Alpine terrain we will encounter glacier at some point. We must be connected to each other by rope before we step onto the glacier to be protected in the event of falling into a crevasse. This is essential alpine skills. Common problem is how to get the distance right and should we use knots or not? Below I present method which is being taught in our school. We strongly recommend to team up with 2 or more climbers to form a team on the glacier. A 2 climbers team is the high-risk option – when one of you fall to the crevasse the only person to hold and break your fall is your partner. Team members in such situation must be super experienced, must know how to rescue themselves, and must have been practising crevasse rescue scenarios beforehand.
The recommended number of members in the team is three, maximum four people. It is more reasonable for 5 people to be divided into the group of two teams, whereby the distances between the groups should be the same as between the members of each team.
- length – minimum recommended 50 m – a single rope is recommended as the most universal (especially when passing from the glacier to the rock ridge).Tying in
- connect the rope to a harness with a figure of eight, adjust the length of the rope, coil a rope, tie an overhand knot on the bright and connect a loop with one screwgate and one snapgate biner to the harness.
- the third member of the team attaches himself to the rope in the middle by alpine butterfly knot and two biners.
- minimum distance between team members is 15 m.
- the distance should be adjusted to the terrain and difficulty of the glacier, the more inclined and “broken” glacier the bigger distance (length of the rope).
- the spare ends of the rope both partners (first and last) must take in/coil around the chest in the fashion we call “shortening a rope”.
- the lightest or the least experienced member of a three-person team should go in the middle of the rope.
Knots in the rope
- recommended only on the steep and difficult glacier, especially when going down.
- absolutely recommended in a two-person team.
- the first knot one should be located approx. 3 m from your harness.
- the minimum number of knots is 4-5.
- a recommended knot is an alpine butterfly.
- keep the rope taut
- adjust the distance and length of the rope
Equipment that each team member should carry:
- MiniTraction or MikroTraction
- 2 x 120 cm slings
- prussik or T-block
- 1 long (3-6 m) accessory cord
- 2 x ice screw
- 4 screwgate biners
- 4 snapgates
With the modern equipment accessible on the market, there is no excuse to not have MiniTraction or MikroTraction.
I hope you like my input into alpine skills.
Disclaimer: All climbing and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions. If any of the technique, skills or advice presented on my blog are not clear to you, seek professional advice and instruction before applying them.
Book onto my advanced winter mountaineering course to learn all the skills under excellent and professional supervision.