Today I was hanging around at Poldubh crags in Glen Nevis with Matt and Hannah. These guys are good rock climbers who want to know more about how they can sort out any situation that might crop up in their climbing. Situations such as a climber falling off a traverse, someone being hit by falling rock and is unable to abseil down by themselves, damaged ropes, stuck boot in a crack or needing a bit of help to climb an overhang are all quite simple things to sort out if you know a few techniques and you're used toi using prussic knots. It is all improvised with normal climbing hardware instead of carrying any fancy clampy things too!
We started out looking at characteristics of prussic loops and knots, ascending a rope with prussics and descending, then prussicing up and abseiling down. If you fall off an overhang and are dangling out of reach of the rock you might need to prussic back up the rope to get to the rock to carry on. If you abseil down a sea cliff you might decide you don't want to climb out so you might need to prussic back up the rope. It's a simple technique but there is a lot to learn about the details to make it work well.
If you damage a rope you will need to abseil past a knot you tie in the rope to isolate the damaged bit, or you might need to lower someone to the bottom past a knot. We also looked at hoisting someone up a section of a climb with a pully system and escaping a belay system to effect a rescue. Matt and Hannah were like sponges today, soaking up every last detail and putting it into practice straight away. It was cold and a bit wet with wintry showers falling on the top of Ben Nevis, a proper autumn day and a really good use of a damp day on the crag.
Self reliance is a fundamental principle of mountaineering. By participating we accept this and take responsibility for the decisions we make. These blog posts and conditions reports are intended to help you make good decisions. They do not remove the need for you to make your own judgements when out in the hills.