Rope Skills & Rescues #1: Escaping The System

Ideas by Chris, words by Anne

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

If you're a climber, you've almost certainly found yourself wishing you knew just a little bit more about how to get out of a sticky situation. Maybe you've been sea cliff climbing, and your second has fallen off on a tricky overhang. Without a basic knowledge of how to escape the system, you could find yourself in a really difficult situation.

Here's a simple way to escape the system.

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.

2. Set up a second belay

Attach a second krab to each of your anchors, and set up a second belay with an equalised sling.

3. Connect the new belay to the rope

Attach a krab to the equalised sling. Attach a sling to the krab, and bypass your belay plate by joining the other end of the sling to the live rope with a krab and a French prusik. Make sure the sling is tight.

4. Untie your belay plate

Undo the two half hitches and gently let out the rope to load the new system.

5. Tie off the rope direct to the new anchor

Take the rope out of the belay plate. Attach the rope to a second krab in the new anchor using an Italian hitch and two half hitches. This will allow you to release the rope under load, and give you more options. What happens next depends on your scenario, but you are no longer in the system, so you can do whatever you need to do next.

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