Rope Skills & Rescues #5: Out-of-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, the second explained how to pass a knot, the third was all about in-the-system hoists, and the fourth post was about a simple tape hoist. This post explains how to set up an out-of-the-sytem hoist.

1. Escape the system

Follow the steps in Rope Skills & Rescues #1: Escaping the System, and then safeguard yourself with a sling used as a cow’s tail (orange krab in the pictures below). Untie the rope from your harness and take the rope out of the anchors. Remove the sling and prusik.

2. Set up an auto bloc

Take the load rope back to the main anchor (blue krab) and set up an auto bloc with a French prusik round the rope and clipped into a separate krab on the anchor. 

31. Out of the system hoist 5 rs.jpeg

3. Set up a prusik on the load rope

I have used a French prusik here, but any prusik knot will do. If you have a pulley or a revolver krab, use it here.

30. Out of the system hoist 4 rs & cropped.jpeg

4. Load the system

Now you can hoist - be prepared for it to be really hard work! If you can't move the person at all, make sure they aren't caught on an obstruction. Bear in mind that it is always preferable to lower someone and go with gravity rather than hoist and work against it.

34. Out of the system hoist 8 rs.jpeg

5. How to make it more efficient

You can make the system more efficient by attaching a long dyneema sling to your harness, running it through another krab on the anchor and down to the pull rope, where it is attached with a prusik if you have one, or a krab and clove hitch as in the photo. Now you can use your body weight and legs to pull down with gravity, instead of using your arms to pull up against it. You need to reset the prusik or retie the clove hitch after each pull. The load goes back onto the auto bloc after each pull, so check frequently that it is still working.

The second photo shows the rescued climber arriving at the belay.

36. Out of the system hoist 10 rs.jpeg
37. Out of the system hoist 11 rs & cropped.jpeg

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? Our next Rope Skills & Rescues Masterclass is on 27th April 2018 - book now!