Shackleton Centenary Expedition

Crevasse Rescue July 11 2007

Here's a conundrum. You hope desperately never to have to use any of the crevasse rescue kit you bring. But if you do fall in a crevasse and your team members can't simply heave you out using strength alone, you're in real trouble unless you have the kit to set up a pulley system and the knowledge and experience to match.

The only solution is to bring what is absolutely necessary and no more. This involves a raft of thin dyneema slings, prussic loops of different sizes and lots of wiregate and screwgate karabiners.

Climbers are generally weight and kit-obsessed so it was relatively easy to research the lightest and best made examples of each item we needed. The lightest wiregate karabiner currently made (or at least when we bought them) is the Nano by Camp. The lightest locking karabiner which can be used for belaying is DMM's lovely Sentinel (below). Mammut make some really light, thin and super strong 8mm slings.
We'll be using Black Diamond's Turbo Express ice screws because they're really easy to use, which helps when your mate is dangling over a precipice waiting for you to anchor him. We're taking Mammut's Genesis Superdry 8.5mm ropes. They have an excellent reputation for being really reliable and maintaining their flexibility when frozen and they're very light.
Finally, we'll be taking two Black Diamond Raven Ultra ice axes (above). These are great glacier travel tools; they're too light for general use but are ideal for ski touring/glacier purposes.

And the last ingredient? Practice, practice, practice!

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