Rescue scenario chat

Lemonjello

New member
Location
Oahu,HI
I’m in Hawaii and we end up doing a lot of coco palm trims. Whilst aloft I witnessed a fellow climber on a coco approx 40ft with 20° lean, 10-15mph slightly gusty winds( a little on the high side of normal) on ascent, climbing with wire core flip line. gaff out, swing/roll to the underside of lean and drop about 10ft, as his left gaff caught and lanyard finally grabbed, he rather quickly and hard “head butted” the trunk. A little dazed and with one gaff in and knee up about chest high he recovered and kept working.

this scenario got me thinking on how to rescue had he got knocked out.

most rescues assume climber tied in or already on a system.

Climbing to rescue a single coco with a climber barely held in place by one gaff and lanyard. (No big tree or other coco within 40 ft and closest one was maybe 25 ft.) near shoreline with no vehicle access. I have come up with a plan and it’s already in the “rescue kit” just looking for some suggestions and insight. Thanks!
 
A climb line as safety before going up? Wrap lanyard or TreeSqueeze for the way up? And (gasp), up pops the debate about second climb/ rescue line (as per UK)? Pre-setup. There's lots of options.
Stuff like this is why I personally don't usually just gaff up a "spar" anymore - yeah it's quick and can be done a thousand times safety . . . but . . . .
Another thing to think about for your own hide is that if the first guy is just barely haning up there, are you wanting to quickly go up under him, maybe have him slip or go inverted or something and now you're a double wreck on a stem? First rule of responding is to not get the responder "deaded" too ! My quick 2 centz for whatever it's worth.
Be interested to hear your "final answer".
 

Mark Chisholm

Administrator
Administrator
I would agree here as well. Lanyard alone didn't work and the climber was forced to rely on luck. That isn't a great approach for longevity. I would say installing a line first would be best. Otherwise, spiking up with the lanyard and a choked system would be acceptable.

As for the rescue, you would need to do the same and then deal with bypassing the climber and anchoring above in order to have purchase and leverage.
 

Lemonjello

New member
Location
Oahu,HI
A climb line as safety before going up? Wrap lanyard or TreeSqueeze for the way up? And (gasp), up pops the debate about second climb/ rescue line (as per UK)? Pre-setup. There's lots of options.
Stuff like this is why I personally don't usually just gaff up a "spar" anymore - yeah it's quick and can be done a thousand times safety . . . but . . . .
Another thing to think about for your own hide is that if the first guy is just barely haning up there, are you wanting to quickly go up under him, maybe have him slip or go inverted or something and now you're a double wreck on a stem? First rule of responding is to not get the responder "deaded" too ! My quick 2 centz for whatever it's worth.
Be interested to hear your "final answer".
Yeah, I’m not the boss, I get hired along with other climbers for these big jobs trimming 400+ cocos on golf courses and large properties. So I don’t have much of a say or control over the other climbers. A few are some crusty old seasoned guys who’ve “done thousands of cocos like this and never had a problem” So getting them to adopt safer techniques only slow them down (getting paid per tree)

I have suggested several times to the Company regarding hard hats, safety glasses, ear pro, gloves, way overdue for replacement gear.
I can’t change that but I’m trying to do my part to be able to rescue in the chance that something does go awry.
 

Lemonjello

New member
Location
Oahu,HI
I would agree here as well. Lanyard alone didn't work and the climber was forced to rely on luck. That isn't a great approach for longevity. I would say installing a line first would be best. Otherwise, spiking up with the lanyard and a choked system would be acceptable.

As for the rescue, you would need to do the same and then deal with bypassing the climber and anchoring above in order to have purchase and leverage.
Agreed, I and a few others use some version of a tree squeeze as lanyard. Some Ddrt, some use a choked SRT setup and well as flip line, some use a short choking lanyard along with flip line.

my rescue plan:
All fits in one kit plus what I always have on me. ( some inspiration from utility pole climber rescue)
- all the pre rescue notifications 911 etc.
- grab rescue kit
-100’ canyon lux 8mm fig 8 in thimble. (24.2kn mbs)
- madrock safeguard descender
- locking carabiner and sling long enough to cinch most dia cocos

-ascend using tree squeeze and wire core.
- girth sling/ attach rescue descender and clip to climbers bridge, take up slack.
- alternate lanyard and systems to pass climbers gaff
-tie in my system high enough to maneuver climber and operate descender
- unhook gaffs( manually or even remove (unbuckle)
- Slack climbers lanyard, feed behind back over shoulder to descent line (positioning climber more upright)
- operate descender while in tree.

the critical points:
-Climbing quietly (smoothly) on ascent.
-attaching climber to tree with sling and system as soon as possible
- position myself for assessing and maneuvering and descender operation.
-get climber to ground as quickly/safely as reasonable.
- Not using climbers system as it is an unknown variable.

thoughts? I’ve been back and forth on options. Tying in an unknown system and operating two systems, tie in and pick off with a rig or ID. Possibly bumping climber out of position. Any inSight, training or docs I can go to?
 

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colb

Been here a while
Location
Florida
I would agree here as well. Lanyard alone didn't work and the climber was forced to rely on luck. That isn't a great approach for longevity. I would say installing a line first would be best. Otherwise, spiking up with the lanyard and a choked system would be acceptable.

As for the rescue, you would need to do the same and then deal with bypassing the climber and anchoring above in order to have purchase and leverage.
He could theoretically anchor at, or slightly below the climber, depending on the length of the lanyard and if the lanyard grab requires unweighting prior to letting it out. I'm not sure how a line would actually be installed at or below, so above is probably best. On horizontal branches, it's good for me to remember that one can establish a TIP at or slightly below, then let the stuck climber's lanyard out.
 

Mark Chisholm

Administrator
Administrator
He could theoretically anchor at, or slightly below the climber, depending on the length of the lanyard and if the lanyard grab requires unweighting prior to letting it out. I'm not sure how a line would actually be installed at or below, so above is probably best. On horizontal branches, it's good for me to remember that one can establish a TIP at or slightly below, then let the stuck climber's lanyard out.
That could be an option. The risk there is losing control and ending up with the victim slamming down on you and maybe causing more issues. I never rule out anything in a rescue, but above usually keeps you away from that issue and allows you more maneuverability.
 

Lemonjello

New member
Location
Oahu,HI
He could theoretically anchor at, or slightly below the climber, depending on the length of the lanyard and if the lanyard grab requires unweighting prior to letting it out. I'm not sure how a line would actually be installed at or below, so above is probably best. On horizontal branches, it's good for me to remember that one can establish a TIP at or slightly below, then let the stuck climber's lanyard out.
This scenario is tough to be sure. If two palms in line on either side hopefully higher, one could climb and set a system in each and maneuver to center and down.
 

Dan Cobb

Branched out member
Location
Hoover
Possibly needing to lift the rescue subject slightly to slack his lanyard seems like a small MA system might be required. Never been on a palm, but wonder if a pair of the little trash grabber sticks might allow you to set your anchor above the rescue subject without having to pass him. Not sure if you'd have to rig the anchor with the sticks or just push it up higher after rigging it normally by hand. Would definitely require some practice to make it faster than climbing past the rescue subject, but could allow you to stay in a better position for removing his gaffs if necessary. It may be a totally unworkable idea, but I like trying to think outside the box.

I salute you for putting your time and effort into this. Too bad your employer doesn't seem to have the appreciation for safety that you do.
 

Lemonjello

New member
Location
Oahu,HI
Okay! Today I mocked up a coco log 180 lbs ish. with a short rope wit some butterflies as side D’s and a lanyard and hauled it it to 30ish ft and “set” it only on lanyard kinda pinched to tree like what a gaff out would look like. I spiked up (tied in to adjacent tree as backup for training purposes) pretending to spike up and set rescue system. It worked! Quite well actually. Once I got to same height As “climber” I put sling on tree, clipped in system and clipped into bridge butterfly. Took up slack, spiked up a wee bit and tied in my system as high as I could reach and it didn’t take much to loosen lanyard and unclip “climber” and lower down.

Observations:
- needs additional friction for smoother operation(I’m thinking a rope wrench or chicane I can clip on.

a second simple cinch lanyard would help in the event climber slips down.
remember cocos are always vertical some lean as much as 45° and some “s” shape. Normally we all try to stay on the “top” side and fallen climber would usually rotate to the underside.
I’m going to do a demo at our local shop tomorrow and gonna try to film it and take pics.
 

Mark Chisholm

Administrator
Administrator
needs additional friction for smoother operation(I’m thinking a rope wrench or chicane I can clip on.
More friction? Did you have both of you on one system?


A great bmp to bring into daily work would be setting a line first before you climb any palm or using a cinch on the way up to enable a quick escape at any time. This alone could eliminate the need for a rescue in many situations.
 

Lemonjello

New member
Location
Oahu,HI
More friction? Did you have both of you on one system?


A great bmp to bring into daily work would be setting a line first before you climb any palm or using a cinch on the way up to enable a quick escape at any time. This alone could eliminate the need for a rescue in many situations.
Just the “Log/climber”. Could be descender is new. I’m going to try a gri gri a Rock climber friend thinks it’ll descend smoother.

I use a tree squeeze, which is basically a stiffer friction saver as a lanyard/bailout and wire core flip line.
 
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colb

Been here a while
Location
Florida
Just the “Log/climber”. Could be descender is new. I’m going to try a gri gri a Rock climber friend thinks it’ll descend smoother.

I use a tree squeeze, which is basically a stiffer friction saver as a lanyard/bailout and wire core flip line.
I think some if us are wondering if this thread is about proper rescue technique, or nonstandard rescue technique for this particular scenario. Meaning absolutely no offense, have you trained properly for rescue, trained "homestyle" for rescue, or is this your first go? It actually bears on the answers you get. Your issue is interesting in the "proper" sphere because palms with curves may be a new scenario to many of us - especially those of us who climb few or no palms. If we're answering outside of that proper sphere of technique, then we all need to check in from the ground up to see where our ideas of rescuing are the same and different.
 

Lemonjello

New member
Location
Oahu,HI
Colb, none taken! I posted this to get feedback. I would say this is not a standard rescue. Closest thing would be maybe a birch or euc spar and climbing back up on to finish job but you pulled your climb line out the first day. Are you tied in besides flip line? Technically you’re not cutting so don’t “need” to tie in twice. Gaff out, knock your head and same-ish scenario.
Okay, your quoted section does sound a bit like I’m a noob. I’ve been doing trees since about 2004 when I got out of the military. I also do rope access (tower building ,wind turbine) and permit required confined space work and on our local volunteer SAR team. I have done coordinated training between fire department and local arborists.
So, I’ve done (trained) many different types of rescues.
The point I’m getting at is Palms are a different animal and not even close to a tree in the normal sense. There’s no standard rescue. If someone can point me to something that covers a scenario like this please let me know. It’s a frequent topic at our arborist association meetings and it always comes back around to “well they should tie in” and don’t think you’re gonna convince a 300 lb Samoan with a linesman’s belt, chain lanyard, (yes, an actual chain)…. giant cane knife and ancient buckingham gaffs with carpet and duct tape pads and welded on “rods” spikes. Oh and yeah, no climb line…. Spike up/spike down. Btw this is for real.
Honestly on a nice day, a small vertical 30ish footer , I don’t tie in till I get to the crown either.
Up, tie in, trim and down. 15-20 min tops.

Myself and a few fellow climbers have had long discussions about this. I had this canyon rope and picked up a descender that worked with that diameter. It’s 24kn, compact, all setup for rescue and now it lives in a yellow bag with quick clot and gauze in a ziplock inside. “Grab the yellow rescue bag” is piece of mind I hope to never use.
 
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colb

Been here a while
Location
Florida
Colb, none taken! I posted this to get feedback. I would say this is not a standard rescue. Closest thing would be maybe a birch or euc spar and climbing back up on to finish job but you pulled your climb line out the first day. Are you tied in besides flip line? Technically you’re not cutting so don’t “need” to tie in twice. Gaff out, knock your head and same-ish scenario.
Okay, your quoted section does sound a bit like I’m a noob. I’ve been doing trees since about 2004 when I got out of the military. I also do rope access (tower building ,wind turbine) and permit required confined space work and on our local volunteer SAR team. I have done coordinated training between fire department and local arborists.
So, I’ve done (trained) many different types of rescues.
The point I’m getting at is Palms are a different animal and not even close to a tree in the normal sense. There’s no standard rescue. If someone can point me to something that covers a scenario like this please let me know. It’s a frequent topic at our arborist association meetings and it always comes back around to “well they should tie in” and don’t think you’re gonna convince a 300 lb Samoan with a linesman’s belt, chain lanyard, (yes, an actual chain)…. giant cane knife and ancient buckingham gaffs with carpet and duct tape pads and welded on “rods” spikes. Oh and yeah, no climb line…. Spike up/spike down. Btw this is for real.
Honestly on a nice day, a small vertical 30ish footer , I don’t tie in till I get to the crown either.
Up, tie in, trim and down. 15-20 min tops.

Myself and a few fellow climbers have had long discussions about this. I had this canyon rope and picked up a descender that worked with that diameter. It’s 24kn, compact, all setup for rescue and now it lives in a yellow bag with quick clot and gauze in a ziplock inside. “Grab the yellow rescue bag” is piece of mind I hope to never use.
Your experience is obviously very deep in rope access rescue in general. I'm sensing that tree-specific rescue is something where you're 4/5ths the way there, while your palm + non-tree experience is advancing our community like @Dan Cobb notes.

For your consideration:

1. On spar rescue technique is possible with a single line that passes through a friction saver and has two ends hanging down, enabling the rescuer to counterweight themselves and the rescuee on the respective ends. @oceans is a great teacher of this technique and may be its originator. If you climb using a doubled rope system, this may be intuitive to set up. Obviously, you have to cinch the friction saver tightly when faced with a smooth and feature-sparse single trunk. A mid-line knot like the alpine butterfly can help make an srt version of this where both ends of the line pass through a Quickie shackle that is attached to the eye of the knot, or somesuch (girth hitched speedline snap but it's rigging kit so don't, etc.).

2. Are you using a tree-specific multicender? I get the feeling that, like many of us, you have co-opted gear from another rope access discipline into your tree work. I support you doing so, and also suggest that avoiding an up/down changeover at the tie in point saves time and is usually safer. I'm sure that you can work with a descender/ascender system, or a descender/spike system, and spikes are probably fastest for real rescues.

3. Leaning trunk wood can be difficult to negotiate. I find myself taking such circumstances one at a time. I'll try to get an overhead tie in point, but will sometimes spike underneath, or spike underneath and transition back atop using a spikecender, or (worst case...) do the inchworm. Also, rarely take a 10 foot section of rope, choke it to the spar, and use my foot ascender to advance. This is good for freshly dead hardwoods where the outer wood is case hardened and will not reliably take a spike.

At days end, you'll need to hump that log aloft a bit more to figure it all out. We'd really like updates.
 

Lemonjello

New member
Location
Oahu,HI
Your experience is obviously very deep in rope access rescue in general. I'm sensing that tree-specific rescue is something where you're 4/5ths the way there, while your palm + non-tree experience is advancing our community like @Dan Cobb notes.

For your consideration:

1. On spar rescue technique is possible with a single line that passes through a friction saver and has two ends hanging down, enabling the rescuer to counterweight themselves and the rescuee on the respective ends. @oceans is a great teacher of this technique and may be its originator. If you climb using a doubled rope system, this may be intuitive to set up. Obviously, you have to cinch the friction saver tightly when faced with a smooth and feature-sparse single trunk. A mid-line knot like the alpine butterfly can help make an srt version of this where both ends of the line pass through a Quickie shackle that is attached to the eye of the knot, or somesuch (girth hitched speedline snap but it's rigging kit so don't, etc.).

2. Are you using a tree-specific multicender? I get the feeling that, like many of us, you have co-opted gear from another rope access discipline into your tree work. I support you doing so, and also suggest that avoiding an up/down changeover at the tie in point saves time and is usually safer. I'm sure that you can work with a descender/ascender system, or a descender/spike system, and spikes are probably fastest for real rescues.

3. Leaning trunk wood can be difficult to negotiate. I find myself taking such circumstances one at a time. I'll try to get an overhead tie in point, but will sometimes spike underneath, or spike underneath and transition back atop using a spikecender, or (worst case...) do the inchworm. Also, rarely take a 10 foot section of rope, choke it to the spar, and use my foot ascender to advance. This is good for freshly dead hardwoods where the outer wood is case hardened and will not reliably take a spike.

At days end, you'll need to hump that log aloft a bit more to figure it all out. We'd really like updates.
Colb- Thank you for the feedback! It may be that I haven’t found a good way to do this type of rescue. The hard part is finding a way to practice different setups. I have tried the hitch rescue and it works pretty well.
basically install friction saver, spliced eye clips to climber and throw the chicane in for additional friction, take up slack, counter balance and undo his lanyard and send him down. The only issue is it leaves me only on lanyard and half of a balanced drt system. ( I suppose a long sling girthed on trunk or spare lanyard cinched would give a piece of mind backup.


I use hitch climber and beeline or a zigzag
Rope access kit is totally separate set of gear.
Thanks again for taking the time to respond!
 
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