Ascending, descending and rope rescue are very exhilarating sources of entertainment and rescue while at the same time extremely complicated. This brief history of the long and ever adapting history of rope climbing and rescue is very interesting. The following article will provide information on how and why people do this on their free time for entertainment purposes. There are many types of tools and equipment used in rope rescue for all of its demanding tasks. Many knots are developed and used for safety purposes. Many skills are needed to be a good climber. Safety is always the primary concern of a climber or rescuer. Rope rescue is a major area in todays rescue world. Yesterdays hemp rope has evolved into a vigorous sport for some and a dangerous career for others.
The history of rope can be traced back to as early as prehistory. Rope, a flexible line made of fibers or wires twisted or braided together for tensile strength. At first rope was twisted by hand. The Egyptians used tools to make rope from papyrus and leather, but hemp was the standard for rope until the 19TH century when Manila hemp replaced it. It was not until the 1950s when synthetic rope was introduced. There is an enormous difference between natural and synthetic ropes. There are a few different types of climbing such as alpine climbing, ice climbing and rock climbing.
Throughout the world there are men and women who travel to exotic mountains for one purpose only, to reach the summit. For as long as time can tell, people have had an unquenchable thirst for thrill and excitement. I think other sports would struggle to compete with the exhilaration and danger of rappelling and ascending. Many people have made the ultimate sacrifice to explore their dreams on some of the most extravagant mountains here on Earth. Mount Everest is the highest mountain on Earth and the ultimate mountain for thrill seekers.
Rope rescue has so many various tasks, which need specialized tools and equipment. The climber must first understand the nature of the climb to accurately bring the right tools and none of the wrong ones, since extra weight is anything but a luxury in this business. The figure eight is a non-moving piece of great importance for ascending. It allows for a slow controlled descent by using the ropes own forces and pressures to give the user the ability of a full range of speeds from a complete stop to free fall. This is a very fun and useful device. The carabineer is a major structure to someone on rope. It is a metal piece that connects hardware together. It a carabineer breaks, the person falls. Have you ever heard a chain is only as strong as its weakest link? A harness is best described as a pair of shorts constructed of nylon that fits around the person to support him and connect him to the equipment. There are three classes of harnesses, each having separate ranges of motion allowed. They are also extremely uncomfortable. Rope is an obvious must for rope climbing. There are numerous types of ropes that are predetermined by the nature of the use. Some ropes bounce and some are water repellent for rescue situations such as floods. Ascending requires an ascender. Most preferred is a mechanical ascender, which allows the climber to simply stand up on his prussic and slide the ascender up. The ascender then locks into place allowing the climber to sit down and move his prussic up. Repeating this situation results in vertical movement. Knots are almost as vast as grains of sand on the beach; some are just more useful than other. Knots are in a few different categories. They are made of many materials and are used to hoist, anchor, attach, pull, stop and many other things. One such category is hitches, which should never be tied around a patient or anything vulnerable to pressure due to the fact that hitches get tighter more pressure is applied. A butterfly knot is mainly used to carry tools. It is also easy to remember due to its descriptive name. A prussic knot is used to grip rope for the climber to stand on as he moves the ascender, however the prussic must be smaller than the rope in which it is clinging to. If the prussic is thicker than the mother rope than it is a physical impossibility for it to grip. The Webbing is a type of rope (usually colorful) mainly used for safety harnesses and or to attach the carabineer to the ascender.
To be a successful climber a person needs a healthy mind and body. To be a climber you must overcome certain fears. One fear is over the top! This is the natural feeling that must be ignored while the person steps backwards over a ledge into thin air while feeling no support from the rope. However, the more times you accomplish this the easier it becomes. I think a person would have to be legally insane not to feel this fear for at least the first time. Climbers must be in good physical condition to maneuver in some awkward positions. In some instances, with the aid of experience, some obstacles can be overcome by knowledge of different tactics. Fellow climbers must be able to react fast to belay a falling friend. Climbers must have a vast knowledge of knots, mechanical advantage and mechanical devices unless they want to literally hang around for a while in the middle of nowhere.
Since the nature of this sport is a dangerous one, safety is always the primary concern. While gravity is still tickling their feet and there is nothing to stop them but the ground one hundred feet below the last thing they want to do is fall. Rope should be inspected or replaced at least once a year. Personally, I would replace it every year. A safety harness should always be worn with someone at constant attention on ballet. You should never distract someone who is on ballet. And if it is done I am sure the climber will take it personally. Hitches should never be placed around yourself or a patient. Always double lock before tying off, working or maneuvering.
Rope rescue is now used in almost every scenario of todays rescue world. Rescuers find themselves in the most gruesome and wretched places. Accidents and disasters do not care where they take place. A rescuer must be prepared for any and all types of environments and conditions. It is a very difficult task
From hemp rope to synthetic, this is how rescuers and sportsman have used this innovative tool. This is how the mechanics of rope allow for daredevils and rescuers to challenge the laws of gravity. As long as people have a passion for heights and people get caught up in dangerous situations we will have rock climbing and rope rescue. Does this interest you?
Instructor Michael James Dortenzo
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Rescue Technician. 11830 Westline Induustial Dr. St. Louis, MO 63146: Mosby, 1998.