SRT Rescue techniques

Whilst in the Yorkshire Dales one weekend recently Hugh Penney introduced us to a French friend of his who turned out to be a bit of an SRT hot-shot. The following method is for rescuing a person of pretty much any weight off of a rope by ascending up to them, picking them up and returning to the ground again.

  1. Prusik up to casualty and stop with your hand jammer just below their chest jammer.
  2. Clip your short cows tail into their short cows tail.
  3. Remove their feet from the foot loop and clear it of their for easy use by you.
  4. Remove your hand jammer and stow out of the way.
  5. Using their foot loop raise yourself up and feed your long cows tail through their hand jammer crab and clip onto their 'D' ring (see fig 1). During this procedure make sure that their hand jammer is high enough to your long cows tail to develop full tension so you are both counter balancing each other (see fig 2).
  6. Remove your chest jammer.
  7. By raising the casualty and therefore lowering yourself remove their chest jammer as the rope feeds through or jam the rope so this can be done once the casualty is raised.
  8. Now that the casualty is raised as high as possible take your descender, attach it to their 'D' ring and attach it to the rope as tightly as possible below the hand jammer. Make sure that the descender is fully locked off. Don't depend on the petzel stop to be enough by itself and still place a double lock through the descender crab.
  9. By raising yourself and therefore lowering the casualty place their weight onto the descender.
  10. Using the casualties foot loop remove the long cows tail from the hand jammer crab. Upon lowering yourself attach your 'D' ring to the casualties via a couple of screw gates and actually place your weight onto this connection. This will keep you at similar height to the casualty and enable you to reach all the SRT gear with ease.
  11. If all has gone well you should be able to remove the hand jammer from the rope without much effort and abseil to the ground with the casualty.

NOTE: This method will leave you and the casualty on a single jammer and should only be rehearsed near the ground. You may attach your jammer to increase safety but be careful not to get tangled up or 'hung' on your own jammers making the situation worse.

The advantage of this method is that it takes very little effort on the part of the rescuer and a fairly light person can rescue a much heavier casualty by use of the long cows tail counter balance. An improvement is to use a pulley attached to the hand jammer instead of just using the crab.

Be careful not to push the casualties hand jammer too high (lift them if it is) and if the rescuer must continue upwards use a 2:1 foot loop to ease the effort. It helps to have cows tails with tight knots against the snap gate crab otherwise there may be problems with the pulley system.

This method takes a lot of practice to perfect but could help save someone's life, as could any other good rescue method. If you use S.R.T. you should have a good working knowledge of rescue techniques as a quick rescue could save someone's life. Don't just expect another member of your party to know what to do, they may be doing the same.

Richard Vidler