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Lifelining - a Safe Approach

If we assume that all of the equipment used on a pitch is in good condition then the only possible cause for concern must surely be lifeliner himself.  With conditions as they are underground anyone lifelining must be a considerable hazard particularly on a long and arduous trip.

So if we can take the holding and braking away from the lifeliner and use a Figure of 8 instead, the lifeliner can control the tension and hold the man easier if he falls off the ladder or limb.  Alternatively, if two karabiners and an ascender is used the lifeliner can haul the man up the pitch if necessary.  These two methods are described below.

Method 1.

From the 'Stance' belay attach the descendeur by a karabiner and pass the rope through in the normal mode for abseiling.  The lifeliner is now in a position where his only role is to keep the rope at the correct tension (see Fig. 1).

If the climber was to fall the friction of the descendeur would, in effect, take most of the shock leaving the lifeliner in a position to lower the climber down with safety and ease with no danger of rope burns to himself.

Method 2.

If a prussicking device is rigged below the descendeur ready to be attached to the rope the lifeliner is now in a position to haul the climber to the head of thee pitch.  A small pulley would make hauling easier but it is not necessary.  (Figure 2)