Important Considerations for Long Lowers

International Technical Rescue Symposium (ITRS)

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Incorporating a belay system within a rope rescue system is common practice in rope rescue because, although the probability of a mainline failure is low, the consequence may be dire.

Mainline system failures have occurred and will continue to occur, but what happens as a result of those failures will largely be driven by (1) the inclusion or exclusion of a belay system, (2) the specific nature of that system and (3) how that system is managed throughout the operation. The outcome depends on, among other parameters, the length of rope in service. Many studies have looked at belaying with a few metres of rope in service, but little data exists for larger amounts of rope. This paper will describe initial examinations of the problem of belaying on long lowers