Rope Skills & Rescues #3: In-the-System Hoists


All photos on this post were taken by Jenny Brindle on our Rope Skills & Rescues Masterclass on 18th May 2017.

The first post in this series showed how to escape the system, and the second explained how to pass a knot. This post is all about in-the-system hoists - how to do them and when you might need them.

In-The-System Assisted Hoist

You might find yourself needing to use an in-the-system hoist if your second has fallen off the route and can't get up it, or if he has swung out below an overhang. It is used for hoisting short distances. For a longer hoist you would have to escape the system and set up a full pulley system, which we'll cover in the next post in this series.

1. Tie off your belay plate

Pass the dead rope back through the krab and tie off in front of the belay plate with two half hitches. Your hands are now free.

1. Escaping the system 1 rs.jpg

2. Attach a French prusik

Put your French prusik on the rope and attach to your harness with a quick draw, or direct if possible. Release the tied-off belay plate on to the prusik.

20. In the system assisted hoist 1 rs.jpg

3. Drop a bight of rope

Clip a krab on to a bight of the rope and pass it down to your second. Get them to attach the krab to the loop on their harness.

Make sure that the rope is not twisted

4. Hoist!

As you pull up on the rope, your second pulls down on the rope coming down towards them.

21. In the system assisted hoist 2 rs.jpg

5. If you need to take a break...

...let the prusik take the weight.

In-The-System Unassisted Hoist

The in-the-system unassisted hoist is useful to give a super-tight rope to get someone over a short crux section of a climb. It is used when you can't get a bight of rope to the second because she is too far away or you do not have enough rope.

1. Tie off the belay plate

Tie off the belay plate and load the prusik as above.

2. Attach another prusik

Attach another prusik and push it as far away as possible (you may have to use your foot), then hoist.

24. In the system unassisted hoist 3 rs.jpg

To make the hoisting easier, a revolver krab or a pulley reduces friction.

25. In the system unassisted hoist 4 rs.jpg

With all these techniques it is a good idea to practice somewhere safe and without consequences, so that you will be confident if you have to use it for real.

Want to know more? Look out for our next Rope Skills & Rescues Masterclass