Self Rescue is a complex subject that can encompass a large range of tools, techniques, and high risk. Seek qualified instruction to learn to execute these techniques, and use your best judgement when it comes to risking your life, or your climbing partners.
More often than not the right call to make might be to reach out for help from and not put yourself into an unknown and possibly deadly situation.
Table of Contents
Recommended Gear List
Plate Style Belay Device & HMS Style Locking Carabiner.
Example: Black Diamond ATC, Petzl Reverso.
1 Double length sling 120 cm
1 Quad length Sling 240 cm
Nylon, Dyneema, or Aramid materials.
20′ section of 6mm or 7mm climbing cord. tied in a loop with a junction knot.
6mm or 7mm climbing cord. Tied in with a Cordelette.
3-5 locking carabiners
4-5 non locking carabiners
Examples: Sterling Hollow Block, a tied loop of cord.
Self Rescue Tool Box
Useful tools and techniques recommended for self rescue. These are built off of standard climbing skills such as the direct top belay, and the extended rappel.
The Clove Hitch is a very versatile hitch and is commonly used as a tie in at the anchor. The Hitch is fully adjustable, some of its other uses are self belaying, anchor rigging, and self rescue applications.
The Munter Hitch is a releasable hitch that can be used to transfer weighted loads between carabiners, or masterpoints. This extremely valuable tool is very important for self rescue applications.
Munter Mule Overhand
Tying off the Munter Hitch with a Mule Overhand. This allows you to go hands free.
The Autoblock is a prefered friction hitch for rappelling because it’s friction can be loosened more easily than the Prusik or Klemheist.
The Prusik is great for grabbing the rope with high friction. It can be hard to loosen if it has been weighted.
The Klemheist offers high friction, it can be difficult to break if it has been subject to a heavy load.
Self Rescue Backups: Going hands free
Tying a Catastrophe Knot Direct Belay
Before going hands free for any anything (including taking a photo, or grabbing a sip of water) tie a catastrophe knot in the brake strand of the rope. This is especially important when belaying directly off the anchor with a GRIGRI.
Tying Off The Belay From The Ground
Tying off the belay in order to go hands free. It’s important to use the spine side of the locking carabiner for this method. You may consider always setting up your belay on the spine side of the belay device to utilize this tie off technique if it is ever needed.
Ascending The Rope Guide ATC
This method can also be used with a Petzl GriGri. Be sure to back up the brake strand with a “cat knot” every 6-10 feet.
Drop Loop Assist
If the follower cannot climb a section of the route and is within close distance to the leader. This method can get the follower to the belay.
3 to 1 Hauling System
3 to 1 Hauling System. This is an effective hauling system for raising the follower through a short section of a climb.