Recent reports

Jingling Pot Pre-Expo Rescue Practice

Sunday April 14th 2013

Members present: Adam Walmsley,  Adam Hughes,  Andrew Gilmartin,  Catherine Moody,  Evan Cooper,  Joanna Burden,  Jonathan Booth,  Laura Bennett,  Mandy Fu,  Mark Sims,  Matthew Chubb,  Mike Rippon

Report by Mark Sims

In my experience, rescue practices have always been a good opportunity to experiment with techniques that we rarely use, but above all they have always been a valuable lesson in why not to get rescued. Our aim for this trip was essentially no different: there can never really be too many reminders of how important paranoia is for when we're in Durmitor.

On Saturday at the Dump we managed to run through basic Z-rigs for the people that hadn't used them before, and it was a useful chance for everyone to refresh their memories. Given the light-weight nature of the expedition, it was especially useful to simulate the kit we'd have available there, rather than our common approach in the Sports Hall of having about a hundred krabs, a kilometre of rope, 20 or so jammers, several Stops (and whatever else the container has to offer) available to use.

This was fairly successful, and we decided on basing everything on a horizontal Z-rig with as few or as many releasable deviations as required between the rig and the casualty, allow for flexibility to haul past rebelays and traverses.

The walk up to Jingling on Sunday was a bit of a contrast to the scorching trips to the entrance of San Agustin in Mexico, but it was nice to be in Kingsdale again, feeling the wind and drizzle as we walked up the familiar path. I was lucky to be rigging since it started chucking down as soon as I got underground, but before long we were all down where we split into 3 groups on 3 different pitches.

Evan, Adam, Laura & I were on the bottom pitch which seemed like an ideal chance to set up a rig that would work for a lengthy traverse. With an SRT rope in place, Laura volunteered to be the casualty and with minimal input from yours truly, Adam and Evan quickly had a rig in place. I decided to continue with my level of input and take pictures as Evan & Adam made swift progress of hauling Laura up the pitch.

Unfortunately at this point I actually had to put myself to use and gradually release the pitch-head deviation, allowing Laura to make remarkably swift horizontal progress. Passing the intermediate deviation also went smoothly and within about 20 minutes or so, Laura was safely on the ground at the end of the last bolt. Not bad going given that Evan & Adam hadn't seen a Z-rig 24 hours previously.

We then had a bit of a mess around with a few assisted prussiking methods, before heading out past the guys who were hauling up the 2 pitches above us. Once we were back at the Dump we caught up with the other teams over a brew to find that all the rigs seemed to have worked equally well. Pleasingly, this was by far the most successful rescue practice I can remember.

Having said all that, applying this to expedition rigging on spits in Durmitor rock, in 0 degrees, with lots of snow and ice around would be an entirely different ball game. So as always, Rule 1 applies....