As Seen In: USA Today, Discovery Channel, US News & World Report

Vertical Hauling Line

The vertical hauling line is an installation used to move men and equipment up vertical or near-vertical slopes (Figure 7-24). It is often used with a fixed rope for personnel movement. The hauling line is used to move equipment, such as mortars or other crew-served weapons, rucksacks, or supplies

Figure 7-24. Vertical hauling line.

Figure 7-24. Vertical hauling line.

Site Selection

The first and most important task is to determine where to construct the vertical hauling line. The site must have an appropriate top anchor that is secure enough to hold the system and load. Loading and unloading platforms should be easily accessible natural platforms that provide a safe working area. The ideal platform at the top allows construction of the vertical hauling line without the use of an A-frame. The site should also have sufficient clearance to allow for space between the slope and pulley rope for easy hauling of troops or equipment.

Installation

Construct an A-frame, if necessary, and anchor it. Double one installation rope, find the middle, and lay the middle of the installation rope over the apex of the A-frame; a 30-centimeter (12-inch) bight should hang below the apex.

a. To maintain the 12-inch bight, tie clove hitches above the A-frame lashing on each side of the apex with the installation rope, ensuring that the locking bars of the clove hitches are on the inside. Ensure that the portion of the rope that forms the bight comes out of the bottom of the clove hitch. (See Figure 7-25.)

Figure 7-25. Attaching the anchor rope to the A-frame.

Figure 7-25. Attaching the anchor rope to the A-frame.

b. To anchor the A-frame, use a transport tightening system with the doubled rope, which is tied to the A-frame. Tie this off at an anchor point to the rear of the A-frame installation and adjust the angle of the A-frame so it leans out over the cliff edge. The angle should be 15 to 25 degrees unloaded. The A-frame should not lean outward more than 45 degrees once loaded since the legs can lose their position.

c. Tie the ends of another installation rope together with a joining knot to form the hauling line. Attach the rope to the system by two carabiners with gates up and opposed or one mountain rescue pulley with a locking steel carabiner in the 12-inch bight hanging from the apex of the A-frame. Tie fixed loops (wireman's, directional figure-eight, or single butterfly) on opposite sides of the endless rope at the loading and unloading platforms.

d. Attach equipment to the hauling line 12 inches above the joining knot by a carabiner in the fixed loop.

e. Additional fixed loops may be tied in the hauling line for more control over the object when moving large loads. Attach personnel to the hauling line by use of a rappel seat or seat harness.

Note: Mortar tubes and similar objects are attached to the line by two knots so that the tube stays parallel and as close to the hauling line as possible.

f. When personnel are moved using a vertical hauling line, make a knotted hand line; anchor it in line with, or to, the primary anchor (round turn with a bowline); and place it over the spreader on the legs of the A-frame. Space the overhand knots in the knotted hand line 12 inches apart, with about 20 feet of rope without knots at one end for the anchor. Throw the knotted hand line over the A-frame spreader rope and down the side of the cliff. Personnel ascending the vertical hauling line use this as a simple fixed rope.

g. Use as many men as needed to pull the load to the top by pulling on the rope opposite the load. If equipment and personnel are only being lowered, belay from the top using the hauling line. Station two climbers at the unloading platform to retrieve loads.

h. If only equipment is being hauled up, it is not necessary to use the knotted hand line rope, but it may be necessary to use a belay rope. To move materials or troops up on one side of the hauling line, pull the other side from below.

Note:

Personnel using the hauling line for movement must apply all related principles of climbing. Always station two operators at the top of the vertical hauling line to aid men or to retrieve loads when they reach the top. They will always be safetied while working near the edge. When in use, the A-frame should lean slightly over the edge of the cliff to prevent excessive wear on the ropes that pass over sharp rocks. Reduce excessive friction on the system. Remove all obstacles and any loose objects that could be dislodged by personnel and equipment.

Retrieval

The vertical hauling line is used along a main supply route. When it is no longer needed, the installing unit will return and dismantle the system.

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