High Elements


This section is intended to provide a basic overview of common things each facilitator needs to know in order to facilitate most high activities.  This manual is not intended to replace training but only to support proper hands-on training.  A significant amount of practical hands-on training is necessary to safely facilitate high activities on the course.

 

Before a program begins

The High and Specialty Elements should be completely ready for use prior to the arrival of the participants.  All belay equipment, ladders, etc. should be made ready for use by the facilitators at this time. If any high component needs to be set up prior to use, two facilitators, working as a team, should carry out this procedure.  Working together also allows set-up procedures to be checked and double-checked. High elements should be accessed by proper methods using approved fall arrest systems such as: a cable grab, L.E.A.P. anchors, crab claws, or belayed. 

 

4-H Check

Harness  -  Check all straps and buckles on the harness to make sure they are correct and tight.  Ensure the waist strap is above the hip bones. -  If applicable, check chest harness as well (ensure buckle is doubled-back on chest harnesses).  Above hip bones, over outer layer.  Use chest harness if body type requires.

  1. Hardware  -  Check the participants hardware (carabiner, knot, other hardware) AND your hardware.

  1. Helmet  -  Make sure it’s on correctly and securely.  Covers forehead.  Chin strap secured well.

  1. Heart -  Make sure that the participant is emotionally prepared for the activity. (Good time to ask for personal goals!)

4-H Check

  1. Harness  -  Check all straps and buckles on the harness to make sure they are correct and tight.  Ensure the waist strap is above the hip bones. -  If applicable, check chest harness as well (ensure buckle is doubled-back on chest harnesses).  Above hip bones, over outer layer.  Use chest harness if body type requires.

  1. Hardware  -  Check the participants hardware (carabiner, knot, other hardware) AND your hardware.

  1. Helmet  -  Make sure it’s on correctly and securely.  Covers forehead.  Chin strap secured well.

  1. Heart -  Make sure that the participant is emotionally prepared for the activity. (Good time to ask for personal goals!)

 

Belaying

The word belay literally means “to secure”.  In rock climbing and on the ropes course we use this term to refer to a variety of techniques that exert friction on a climbing rope so that the climber does not fall very far.  There are multiple types of belay devices that we use on the ropes course including ATC’s, Gri-Gri’s, and JRD’s.  All of these devices simply put friction on the rope to make the weight of the climber more manageable for the person operating the belay device. 

 

3 Rules to Belaying (for personal belay devices)

When using a personal belay device such as an ATC or Gri-Gri, we have 3 simple rules that, when followed, will ensure the safety of our participants.

 

  • 0 – 1 – 75

  1. 0 Slack - Always keep all the slack out of the rope.

  2. 1 Hand - Always keep your brake hand secured to the brake end of the rope

  3. 75 – 75% of the time or more keep the brake end in locked position.

 

Clean up this section so the same terminology matches

 

The basic method that we teach for belaying is the “up, down, slide, slide” method, however, as long as you do not break any of these 3 rules then there are alternative methods that are acceptable.

 

Procedure for using a JRD / Pole Belay Device

A JRD/Pole Belay Device is simply a different form of putting friction on the rope to safely control a participants descent from an element.  When using a JRD, use the following rules:

 

  1. Always keep all the slack out of the rope.

  2. The facilitator should keep the rope in the Butt Belay position at all times

  3. Always keep your brake hand secured to the brake end of the rope

  4. As often as possible keep the brake end in locked position.

 

Note:  If facilitating a mature group, High School age or above, where participants have demonstrated trust and good judgment, it’s acceptable to allow 3 or more adult participants to belay other participants using the JRD’s.  In order to do this, simply have them stand behind the pole, each having both hands on the rope at all time.  This should only be done under close supervision of the facilitator.

 

Commands before Climbing

Before any participant climbs on any belayed element, the responsibility of the facilitator is to ensure that participants are communicating with their belayer/belay team.  Rather than going through formal commands that the average participant doesn’t understand, we simply want to ensure that there is a clear line of communication created that is followed with each participant USING FIRST NAMES.  A dialogue before climbing will sound like this:


Facilitator:  “Sarah, are you ready to climb?”

Participant:  “Yes, I’m ready to climb Jenny.”

Facilitator:  “Ok, go ahead and climb, Sarah.”

 

Note – We always first names when giving commands.  This not only helps the participant to be more comfortable, but also ensures that communication is clear when there are multiple groups climbing in one area.

 

Before a participant climbs, all of the following should be true:

  1. You have completed your 4H check on the participant

  2. All the slack is removed from the rope

  3. You, the facilitator, are in the primary belay position behind the JRD or the belay device.

  4. There is clear communication between the belayer and participant using first names.

 

Before a participant is lowered to the ground after climbing, all of the following should be true:

  1. All the slack is removed from the rope.

  2. You, the facilitator, should have the rope in a locked position where you can receive the full weight of the participant before beginning to lower them.

  3. There is clear communication between the belay and participant.

 

**    The participant should be lowered only as fast as they can walk, and never faster.

 

 

Leading Edge Climbing:

Leading Edge climbing is a term used to describe when an individual is climbing while setting their own fall protection.  As you participate in leading edge climbing you are responsible for setting your own anchor points or, in the case of a ropes course, securing yourself to acceptable anchor points as you climb.  When participating in leading-edge climbing using a static belay system, such as crab claws, you will often have to make choices about where to clip in. 

 

Insert section here about HOW to go about access high elements using the below methods.  How you operate at height.  AND how to get back to the ground safely after being at height. Include WHICH staff are able to do this and the fact that training and assessment is needed before attempting it alone.

 

Below is a list of acceptable clip in points for life support:

  1. Belay Cable (includes a vertical cable for a cable grab)

  2. Back-up loop on a belay cable (IF the back-up loop has 3 clamps or 2 swedges)

  3. Wrap the tree/pole

  4. LEAP anchors

 

Locations that are NOT acceptable to clip into include staples, activity cables (with 2 or less cable clamps or 1 swedge), or portions of the actual element.

 

Note that when participating in leading edge climbing on a ropes course, a facilitator should always use a shock absorber, commonly referred to as a Zorber, on the cable grab or on crab claws IF there is a possibility that you will be clipping in below your waistline.  It is always wise to clip into points as high as possible in order to minimize the drop if you were to fall and when at all possible, you should avoid clipping in beneath your waist.

 

Night and Low Light facilitation

For certain groups the course will be used in the evening or at night time.  During these courses several steps must be taken to ensure that we are operating within the standards set by ACCT.

  1. There must be light at the entry point, take off area, and landing area for each activity used.  (Example:  for the triple zip there must be light at the net entry, the top platform, and the ladder).

  2. There must be personal light or reflective material on each participant.

  3. There must be sufficient emergency lighting available to facilitate evacuation in the course of an emergency or rescue situation.

 

ADD Weight restrictions for high elements

 

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High Element Activity Procedures

 

The instructions below are intended to give general guidelines for the procedures for various types of high elements on our course.  Specific procedures may vary slightly from element to element.

 

 

Leap of Faith / Power Pole Facilitation

  • Follow all instructions outlined above for 4-H checks, etc…

  • Ensure the participant is clipped in appropriately (rope attaches to BOTH loops on their back (seat & chest harness).

  • Ask the participant to wait until you give the appropriate commands before climbing.  Once you have them on belay using the JRD, go through your commands for them to begin climbing.

  • Coach the participant to the top, count down, and have them jump.

  • As they jump, you should take a giant step back to remove as much slack from the rope as possible.

  • Slowly lower the participant to the ground.

 

 

 

 

Climbing Activities

  • Follow all instructions outlined above for 4-H checks, belaying, etc…

  • Do not allow anyone to be at the base of the wall while someone else is climbing.  Where ‘helmet only zones’ are available, all participants should remain outside that zone while someone is climbing.

  • The Facilitators attention should always be directed to the participant climbing (if you are the primary belay) or to the belay team and the climbing participant if you participant belays are being used.

 

Zip Line Entry Net Facilitation

·       Follow all instructions outlined above for 4-H checks, etc…  (Confirm with Brent – 1) cycling, 2) setup checks – are these instructions in general instructions, or put in specifically for each activity?

·       Confirm that nets are fully extended to their ground position and, as necessary, secured to the ground poles.  Confirm that backup lanyards are properly connected to net belay cables (is there a better name for this?).  (Confirm -- is the triple auto on bottom/participant and the double locking on top?  Is this consistent for both TZ/DZ?)

·       Participants should group in pairs for Double Zip and trios for Triple Zip.

·       After doing the 4-H check, check the participants have the required zip trolley and zip lanyard (“monkey tail”) attached to the back blue loop of their harness.

·       Attach participant to backup lanyard, check carabiner to confirm proper clip. 

·       Send 2 participants up at a time on Double Zip net, and 3 participants up at a time on Triple Zip net.  Send them on alternating belay cables, leaving about a 10 foot gap before starting the next participant.    Monitor the progress of participants at the top of the net to assure you have a maximum of 2 participants on each cable at each time.  (confirm this).

·       Monitor the participants in the on-deck area, and put gear back on the tarp (or backup lanyards clipped to the net belay cables) as participants return to the area after their zip. 

 

Top of Zip Line Facilitation

  • Once the participant reaches the platform with you, greet them warmly (remember they may be nervous).  Make sure they stay attached to their belay rope or safety lanyard until you transfer them.

  • Transfer them to the lanyards on the top of the tower and then unhook them from the belay rope or safety lanyard they used to access the platform. (If applicable, lower the belay rope to the ground).

  • Have the participant move to the launch platform underneath their respective zip.  Attach their pulley (and back-up lanyard if applicable) to the zip cable and to the participant, checking their harness, helmet, and hardware.

  • Repeat this process for additional participants on adjacent zip lines.

  • Look down the zip corridor to ensure that the area is clear  (Visual Confirmation OF the ground)**

  • Call down to the bottom “Zip Line Clear?”  (Verbal Confirmation FROM the ground)**

  • When you hear the response “Clear”, Double Check their harness, zip pulley, and all carabiners again and then detach the lanyard securing the participant to the top of the tower. At this point they are now attached to the zip cable only.  NOTE:  You never un-clip the participant from the tower lanyard until you have both verbal and visual confirmation that the bottom is clear.

  • Give the participants the necessary instructions for zipping:

    • Where to hold on (on trip zip, participants should hold yellow lanyard only).

    • Don’t go upside down.

    • When I count down, all you have to do is step off the edge.

  • Call out “Zipping 3” or “Zipping 2” (total # of people zipping down). (Note:  It’s not uncommon that we will send 2 people off the trip zip, so you need to communicate the total number of zippers to the team at the ladder.)

  • Once you receive the response “Zip On” from the ground, count down and send the participant(s) off. 

 

**  You ALWAYS get both visual and verbal confirmation before sending anyone off of a zip line.

 

 

Bottom of Zip Line Facilitation

  • See section above for commands and communication with the person working the top

  • It is imperative that you always keep the zip corridor clear of all participants and maintain responsibility for the ladder.

  • Each time a person Zips down, your responsibility is to get the participant off the zip line. The safety of the participant is always your priority.

  • After the participants have zipped by and been gently placed over the concrete, bring the ladder to the take-down zone under the line.

  • If necessary, toss up a haul rope to the participant and pull them back towards the ladder GENTLY.  It’s imperative that you leave the ladder behind the caution line until you get participants back to the concrete. DO NOT pull them back too fast.  If they have momentum and let go of your rope, they can travel too far and need a rescue or more complicated exit procedure.

  • Release the tension on the cable and remove the zip pulley, then have the person carefully come down off the ladder. (For Double Zip, toss a second rope over the zip cable and have a second person pull down to release the tension in the cable.)

  • Climb up the other side of the ladder and remove the entire pulley.

  • Have the participant climb down the ladder and then carry the pulley back to the tower

 

Flying Squirrel Facilitation

·       Follow all instructions outlined above for 4-H checks, etc…  (Confirm with Brent – setup checks – are these instructions in general instructions, or put in specifically for each activity?  ‘cycling’, setting of cones for squirrel and mules, spacing of mule knots)

·       Any person who enters the flight area of the Flying squirrel should be wearing a helmet, including the facilitator.

·       Confirm haul rope is attached to back of squirrel, clipping through both chest harness and seat harness.  Pay confirm knot is appropriately distant from back of helmet as to avoid snagging and choking hazards.

·       Have squirrel move to starting cone, and have mule team move to take out slack.  Visually confirm rope has no loops, twists, or entanglements. 

·       Attach haul team – four (confirm? Six?) mule team participants should be attached to haul rope clipped by back loop of harness (using large bunny ears of super eight).  Remainder of mule team should be evenly distributed on each side of the rope and should hold it with their hands.

·       “Ground school” the mule team and squirrel – give them their cues to run (1, “Squirrel”, “Mule”) and “Stop”).  Remind “Lead mules” that they are to yell “stop” when they get to the stop cones, and all mules to stop  in place that point and wait for instructions. 

·       Visually recheck squirrel and mule paths are clear.  Recheck that slack is out of haul rope.

·       Initiate commands with clear concise commands. For example, “Haul team ready?” and wait for unified response from all haul team members “Ready!”. Make sure all team members all responding well and focused on their part in the haul rope. 

·       Count out with loud clear commands for mule team and Squirrel begin running.

·       Monitor the progress for both Haul team and squirrel as they run, fly, and swing.  Mule team should stop at their respective stop marker.

·       Slowly lower the squirrel to the ground, having mule team turn in place and step back slowly. 

 

 

Giant Swing Facilitation

  • Follow all instructions outlined above for 4-H checks, etc…

  • Have participant(s) climb the ladder and clip their harness(es) to the cable/bar.  (If applicable, secure the swing seat to the bar underneath participant.)  Note:  The participants are ALWAYS connected to the swing BEFORE the haul rope is attached to them.

  • Secure the haul rope to the participant and show them how to pull the rip cord once they are ready.

    • Giant Swings – haul rope attaches to BOTH loops on their back (seat & chest harness).

    • Lil’ Swing – 4 to 1 pulley system attaches to the black bar

  • Remove the ladder

  • Instruct all other participants to begin pulling the rope, hoisting the swinger(s) into the air.  Once the swinger(s) reach their desired height, they should say “stop here”.  All participants on the ground should hold the rope, but stop walking.

    • Lil’ Swing –  The 1st  facilitator should be holding the rope as participants pull it.  Their primary responsibility is to ensure the participants continue to hold the rope once the once the swingers say “stop here”.  The 2nd facilitator should be holding on to the Retrieval Rope on the 4 to 1 pulley system.  Their primary responsibility is to ensure the Retrieval rope is not entangled with the swingers.

    • Giant Swing – The facilitator should be assisting in pulling the haul rope so they can carefully monitor the group.

  • The swinging participants should count down and then pull the rip cord to begin swinging.

  • Participants on the ground should drop the rope, so that you can pull the haul cord and retrieve the pulley which was released by the swingers.

  • Walk over and slow down the swingers by gently tapping their feet as they swing by.

  • Once they are stopped, raise the ladder on the platform and help the participant(s) down. 

 

 

Lil’ Swing Facilitation

·       A minimum of 2 staff are necessary for this activity. Additional staff may be included to run the activity more efficiently. 

·       Follow all instructions outlined above for 4-H checks, etc…  (Confirm with Brent – 1) cycling, 2) setup checks – are these instructions in general instructions, or put in specifically for each activity?  Also, check if boundary rope setup and swings clipped in the center is in setup or should be included here.  Confirm if/when another visual check of the swing area is necessary)

·       Any staff or participant operating inside the boundary rope should be wearing a helmet.

·       Have participant team step up to loading platform.

·       Steady the A-frame ladders slightly in front of the swing bar on the platform and have the participants climb to the lowest height they can be clipped into the bar.  Check carabiners to confirm clip; confirm gate is facing outward.  Pass blue swings (secured in the middle) behind the participants and clip in to the outside clip points.  Participants may be offered the opportunity to squat down and temporarily weight their harnesses if that reassurance would be helpful to them.

·       Have participants stand again, and on a count have them sit down and back – one staff member will move the bar back using the cable/lanyard as the other staff member removes them ladders.  Ladders should be put on the t stops on the far side of the platform. 

·       A staff member should retrieve the pulley rope from where it is tied to the post and attach the quick release to the cable/black lanyard, taking special care that the quick release pull-cord is moving freely and not pinched in the quick release mechanism.  Staff should visually confirm pulley system has no twists or crossed ropes.

·       Participants should be instructed what to pull (the black lanyard), when (when the selected staff member ok’s the pull, often on a 3-2-1 count or similar method), asked about how far up they’d like to ascend, and told which staff member to communicate “stop raising us”.  Participants often find it more reassuring to communicate “stop” to a staff member with whom they have developed a basic trust relationship.

·       One staff member should move to the lower pulley and begin to take up the slack.  This staff member is responsible for holding the pulley down-rope (so the pulley doesn’t collide with the tree on release), monitoring the potential pinch-point of the pulley to keep pulling participants away, and encouraging/monitoring the pull team.  This staff member can assist in spacing the pull team so force is more evenly distributed during the pull (i.e. “wait, go now, wait, go now”.  

·       Another staff member should be at the top of the pull lane and will take up slack (and manage rope) as the pull team walks/runs from the bottom to the top.  This staff member is also responsible for monitoring/encouraging the pull team. 

·       When the swinging participants call “stop”, staff should instruct pull team to hold the rope (all pull team participants put two hands on the rope).   Staff at top of pull lane should lock off rope in brake position with rope 90 degrees around top tree. 

·       Staff should recheck that area under swing is clear of staff and obstacles.  Countdown should be given for swinging participants to pull rip-cord.  Staff member with pulley down-rope should hold tension to make sure pulley doesn’t bounce into tree on release. 

·       After release, staff communicates to pull team to “drop the rope - step back”.  Confirm pull team participants have moved back away from the rope, then staff member with the pulley down rope should begin to take up rope and extend the 4x1 pulley system again, taking back up the rope the pull team had carried up to the top of the pull lane.  Both staff should monitor pull team participants to make sure none step on or near the rope into a high-risk area for rope burns.  Once pulley system is reset, secure to one of the boundary posts near the platform with the pulley down rope – a quick double-wrap is normally sufficient. 

·       Once the swinging pair has slowed, a staff member asks the pair to cross their ankles, lets them know staff will touch their ankles to slow their swing.  Staff member taps and/or catch-and-releases foot or ankle of participants to further slow them down.  Staff member should take particular care of path of the swinging bar. 

·       Bar is stopped over the loading platform.  The ladders are placed back in front of the swing bar, secured by the staff.  Participants stand up on the ladders and steady themselves. 

·       Outside carabiners of blue swings are disconnected first, then the life support carabiners are disconnected from harnesses.  Participants are instructed to carefully descend the ladders, then return to the tarp/harness area and take off harness and helmet. 

 

 

Static Course Facilitation

  • Walk the participants through GROUND SCHOOL

    • In addition to harness and helmet instruction, team participants how to attach crab claws

    • Explain “ABC” to participants – “Always Be Connected”

    • Using the practice station.  Teach participants:

1.     How to open snap hooks and clip onto a cable

2.     Clip snap hooks in opposing directions

3.     Use only 1 hand in transitioning snap hooks

4.     Always ask permission form a buddy, using names, before transitioning

5.     Teach the buddy what it means to say “yes”.  Must have visual confirmation.

    • Have all participants practice on the practice station, making at least 3 transitions. 

  • One Facilitator will remain on the ground to perform 4-H checks as each participant enters.

  • One facilitator should always be the first person in the air to greet participants as they arrive.

  • All facilitators should carefully watch each participant as they transition, particularly for the first time.  Their buddy should also be giving them permission every single transition which means they are being watched by staff and a peer while in the air.

  • Exit Options:

    • DEUS

      • Clip participant to one end of the DEUS rope and remove all slack

      • Ensure the ground is clear and double check participants harness and carabiner

      • Unclip participant crab claws from belay cable and re-secure them to their harness

      • Have the participant step off the edge

      • Hold the rope away from the participant during descent to avoid entanglement

 

Canopy Tour Facilitation

  • Follow all instructions outlined above for 4-H checks, etc…

  • All Canopy Tour groups MUST have a minimum of two facilitators.

  • Ensure that all participants have:

    •  seat and chest harnesses pairing that is attached together with a carabiner by the rated loops in the back

    •  a helmet

    •  braking gloves

    •  Vertical Trekker and zip trolley pairing with a pin locking carabiner. 

  • Participants must be 4-H checked by two separate facilitators.

  • Each Facilitator must have:

    • Staff Full Body Harness

    • Canopy Tour Crab Claws

    • Zip Lanyard

    • Braking Gloves

    • Helmet

    • Canopy Tour Rescue Bag

    • Rescue Carabiner Set with TEC Chord

  • Participants must complete ground school training in which they are instructed on:

    • Proper use of the Vertical Trekker

    • How to negotiate cross plates

    • Zipping body position with their non-dominant hand on top of the zip trolley and dominant hand ready to brake

    • Braking procedures that are specific on applying appropriate pressure to the cable by the palm of the hand, NOT grabbing the cable.

    • Braking verbal and visual commands which include waving participants through or motioning the braking position and commanding them to brake.

    • Landing on the platform while keeping knees bent and an athletic stance

  • One Facilitator will remain on the top of the first set of stairs to receive participants and put them on belay while the second facilitator is stationed to receive participants before the first zipline.  

  • Once ground school is completed, participants may then climb up to the first set of stairs where they will have their Vertical Trekker placed on the belay cable by the first Facilitator. **THERE SHOULD BE NO MORE THAN TWO PARTICIPANTS ON ANY SET OF STAIRS OR ANY LADDER

  • Once all participants have been secured to the belay cable, the first facilitator may leap frog to the first zipline.

  • The first facilitator then zips across the first zip line, they will then use zip commands and signals as follows:

    • The sending facilitator will be sure to obstruct the participant’s Vertical Trekker from passing the cross plate attached to the zip line.

    • The sending facilitator motions both arms in the visual zip clearing confirmation and saying “Zip Alpha clear”.

    • The receiving facilitator will then motion both arms in the visual zip clearing confirmation and verbally clear saying “Zip Alpha clear”.

    • The sending facilitator will then do a final squeeze check of the participant’s pin locking carabiner, place the participants zip trolley on the zip cable, pass the participants Vertical Trekker over the back of the trolley, and re-instruct the participant on proper body position and braking procedure.

    • The sending facilitator will then say “Zipping Alpha” while also standing with both arms extended to visually command.

    • The receiving facilitator will then say “Zip Alpha On” if they are ready to receive the next participant.

    • The receiving facilitator will then check to make sure the participant is out of the way of the zip cable and that their Vertical Trekker is past the zip cable cross plate, thus ensuring the next zip will be clear. 

  • For the first zipline and only the first zipline; the receiving facilitator operates the zip brake block which is used as follows:

    • The brake block is extended until the plastic bumper is in line with the rapid link the brake rope passes through.

    • The operating facilitator holds the brake rope with their braking hand applying minimal friction to the rope.

    • Once participants have hit the brake block, the operating facilitator must gradually apply pressure to bring participants in for a smooth landing, NEVER clenching the rope which will result in an abrupt stop.

  • Once all participants have made it to the first platform, the sending facilitator may go through the sending procedure on themselves and zip across to meet up with the group.

  • This procedure is replicated throughout all zips on the Canopy Tour.

  • For the three activity portions of the Canopy Tour, there are only two participants allowed per element.

    • The last activity before Foxtrot Zip must have a fully unoccupied platform between each participant.

  • For the final Zip, facilitator will continue to use the sending and receiving procedure outlined above. Additionally, participants will be using a ground landing and should be instructed by the Sending Facilitator to:

    • Maintain good body position and have their legs positioned towards the exit pole.

    • Begin a running motion before they reach the ground.

    • Run to the end of the line

  • Once the group is through the final zip, facilitators should then debrief the experience.

 

Rappelling Off a High Element as a Facilitator

At the end of some programs or after morning set-up it’s common that a facilitator may desire to rappel down rather than climbing down.  This is acceptable, but this is statistically the most dangerous thing that we do on a ropes course.  There are more serious injuries to facilitators during rappelling than any other area on the course.  We therefore have strict guidelines in place to ensure we are minimizing risk with this scenario.  If planning to rappel down, facilitators should always:

  • Use only an approved belay device that you’ve been trained on

  • Pull up your rappel rope and tie the ends together (this ensure that you can’t rappel off the end)

  • Drop the rope and ensure that both ends of your rope are sitting on the ground

  • Attach your belay device to the rope and your harness

  • If at all possible, call to a second facilitator on the ground who can visually check your work and perform a “squeeze check”

  • If at all possible, have a second facilitator on the ground give you a fireman’s belay as you rappel.

  • Sit into your harness to feel that you are secure and remove your crab claws with one hand while holding yourself in locked position with your second hand.

  • Rappel down SLOWLY – you should rappel down no faster than you can walk. 

 

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Static Course Rescue Procedures

 

If someone is in need of a rescue for emotional reasons, the steps to follow are:

  1. Talk to the person in efforts to calm them down.  If unsuccessful,

 

  1. Go the person (taking a rescue bag with you) to continue talking and give them physical assistance to continue on the element. If unsuccessful,

 

  1. Perform a rescue as outlined below…

 

In the event of a physical emergency or an emotional rescue that progresses to the point where someone needs to be lowered to the ground, follow the steps below:

  1. Alert your ground facilitator of the situation so they can prepare to assist.

 

  1. Stop all activity on the course.

 

  1. Remove the 4 to 1 rescue pulley system from the bag and attach the 1st Triple Auto Lock Carabiner to the belay cable directly over the participant.  (The carabiner attached to the bag should go on overhead belay)

 

  1. Remove the Atria (rope ladder) and cutting tool from bag and attach them to your own harness.

 

  1. Yell “Rope” and drop the rescue bag to the ground (2nd facilitator will receive bag and prep for butt belay).

 

  1. Attach the 2nd Triple Auto Lock Carabiner to the participants front loop of their harness.

 

  1. The 2nd facilitator on the ground will get into a Butt Belay position and remove all slack from the rope (If necessary the 2nd facilitator will call for additional assistance and utilize additional butt belays)

 

  1. Call out “On Belay” to the ground facilitator.  (Response from 2nd facilitator on ground “Belay is On”)

 

  1. After hearing “Belay is On”, remove the participants crab claws from the belay cable and secure them back to the participant.

 

  1. Call out “Lower On” to the 2nd facilitator on ground, then assist the participant down through any parts of the element that could cause entanglement. 

 

  1. The ground facilitator will respond “lowering” and then proceed to gently lower the participant to the ground.  (participants are never lowered faster than they would walk on flat ground)

 

  1. After the participant reaches the ground, they are cared for by the ground facilitator. 

 

  1. Once the participant is lowered, the top facilitator should return his/her attention to the group.

 

  1. The top facilitator will pack up the bag and re-secure it up top in case it needed to be used again. 

 

  1. Depending on the severity of the incident, either stop use of the element and get all participants down (using the closest traditional exit point), or continue with the group if the rescued person is ok.

 

  1. Following the event, fill out the Accident/Incident form.

 

 

 

Triple Zip Line Rescue Procedures

 

In the event of a jammed or dislodged pulley on the line, follow the steps below:

  1. Communicate with the following people:

    1. Participant stuck on the line – “Stay calm.  We’re coming to help”

    2. Ladder team - “Participant is stuck on the line.”

·  They move/don’t move the ladder accordingly

    1. Ground Facilitator – “I need assistance.”

·  Immediately harness up and begin climbing the net to join you at the top

·  Ensure no other participants begin to climb the net

    1. Other Participants on top of tower – “Stay calm.  Stay put.  Don’t touch anything”

 

  1. Grab the rescue bag and get prepared to go out on the cable to rescue the participant:

    1. Attach the Atria (rope ladder) to your harness.

    2. Attach the pulley assembly to the participants zip cable and FRONT metal loop on your harness.

    3. Put the rope bag in the center of the platform and wrap the rope around the pole creating a “90 degree angle” for the rope to slide across (do not fully wrap the rope around the pole or friction will be too great).  -  Clip the rope to a SIDE metal loop on your harness.

    4. Put on the gloves in the bag.

 

  1. Once your ground facilitator arrives to the top platform, they will :

    1. put on the gloves from the bag.

    2. secure the rope using a Butt Belay on the platform.

    3. visually check the pulley and carabiner the first facilitator set up on the cable.

 

  1. Top Facilitator asks “On Belay”, after response of “Belay is On”, unclip from your crab claws and the second facilitator will belay you out to the participant on the line.

 

  1. Upon reaching the participant on the line, reassure them that things are ok, talking them through the steps that are about to occur.

 

  1. Communicate with the ladder team that the person will soon be zipping, so keep the line clear.

 

  1. Assist the participant in creating some slack in their lanyard so that the pulley can be re-oriented on the zip cable.  It will likely be necessary to use the Atria with your TEC Cord extension for this step.

 

  1. Once the participant has created slack in their lanyard, simply re-engage their pulley and set them free to zip down the line.  (Note:  If the pulley was actually broken.  The only difference would be swapping out the broken pulley for a new pulley in this step.)

 

  1. Depending on how far down the line you are you can either get pulled back to the top platform OR wait until the zip line is clear from the participant and ladder, communicate with the ladder team, and zip down.  (Note:  If you zip down, ensure that you clip the rope to the zip cable so it can be pulled back up rather than dropping it).

 

Dynamic Element Rescue Procedures
(Squirrel, Power Pole, Leap of Faith)

 

In the event of a physical emergency such as rope entanglement or equipment jamming to the point where someone needs to be lowered to the ground using rescue rope, follow the steps below:

  1. Alert your facilitators of the situation so they can prepare to assist.

 

  1. Stop all activity on the course.

 

  1. Using the cable grab attached to the belay cable, climb the support pole with the rescue bag, attach yourself using zip trolley to the flying squirrel life support cable, zip out to pulley with crab claws as back up.

 

  1. Remove the 4 to 1 rescue pulley system from the bag and attach the 1st Triple Auto Lock Carabiner to the belay cable directly over the participant.  (The carabiner attached to the bag should go on overhead belay)

 

  1. On the opposite side of the 4 to 1 pulley system, clip yourself in to the short side of the Y lanyard.

 

  1. Remove the Atria (rope ladder) and cutting tool from bag and attach them to your own harness.

 

  1. Yell “Rope” and drop the rescue bag to the ground (2nd facilitator will receive bag and prep for butt belay).

 

  1. The 2nd facilitator on the ground will get into a Butt Belay position and remove all slack from the rope (If necessary the 2nd facilitator will call for additional assistance and utilize additional butt belays)

 

  1. Based off of the distance between pulley and participant you will need to be lowered down to participant level by the 2nd facilitator. Call out “On Belay” to the 2nd facilitator, he/she will respond “Belay is on” and you will unclip yourself from the trolley and crab claws and be lowered.

 

  1. Upon reaching the participant, attach the 2nd Triple Auto Lock Carabiner on the Y lanyard to the participant’s back loops of their harness.

 

  1. Call out “On Belay” to the ground facilitator.  (Response from 2nd facilitator on ground “Belay is On”)

 

  1. After hearing “Belay is On”, and the tension of the Flying Squirrel rope has been released, unclip the participant’s original carabiner from the back loops of their chest and seat harness.

 

  1. Call out “Lower On” to the 2nd facilitator on ground, then assist the participant down through any parts of the element that could cause entanglement. 

 

  1. The ground facilitator will respond “lowering” and then proceed to gently lower the participant to the ground.  (participants are never lowered faster than they would walk on flat ground)

 

  1. After the participant reaches the ground, they are cared for by the ground facilitator. 

 

  1. Once the participant is lowered, the top facilitator should return his/her attention to the group.

 

  1. The top facilitator will pack up the bag and re-secure it at the cable grab entry point in case it needed to be used again. 

 

  1. Depending on the severity of the incident, either stop use of the element and get all participants down (using the closest traditional exit point), or continue with the group if the rescued person is ok.

 

  1. Following the event, fill out the Accident/Incident form.

 

Canopy Tour Emergency Action Plan (EAP)

The best way to avoid emergencies is through always following the policies and procedures in place, however, we know that accidents do occur and we need to be prepared to deal with them when they do. This section is intended to prepare each member of the team for their role if/when an emergency does occur.

Each time the Canopy Tour is in use, the site director should:

1. Have a First Aid kit on the Canopy Tour and with the Site Director. For Camp, a First Aid kit and a nurse available on radio (camp).

2. Have a cell phone on them at all times.

3. Open the gate beside pool for a vehicle access to woods.

4. Canopy Tour is properly accessible with necessary rescue equipment in the possession of the facilitators on the Canopy Tour.

Note:  In the event that a vehicle could not reach the woods (snow, ice, etc...) the course is CLOSED.

Inclement Weather: 

Wind: We often experience breezy weather on our course, which requires some adjustment for our Canopy Tour experience. When there are increase wind speeds, adjust sending and receiving procedures to allow for greater braking distances with participants and staff. 

Rain:  It is fine to participate in ropes course activities in light rain as long as there is no lighting involved, however you should not use any elements requiring participants to walk on a cable because they get slippery and dangerous in wet conditions. We trust the discretion of facilitators to determine if a particular activity may be endangering participants or becoming overly uncomfortable. The pavilion is often a viable option as well.

Thunder / Lightning: At the first sign of thunder or lighting, the woods should be evacuated immediately. This includes evacuating the Canopy tour. See evacuation procedure below. If any participants or facilitators are up on an element, they should be brought down safely, and in the fastest way possible, including using a rescue bag if necessary.

Tornado: Evacuate the Canopy Tour. See evacuation procedure below. If at all possible you should get into the church and proceed to the basement; this is the safest place on the property.  If time does not permit, move into the pool house basement and line up along the back wall of the Sojourn Lounge, Nurses Station, and Equipment storage room.

Note:  The Atlanta Athletic Club across the street has a siren that will sound if there is a storm approaching.  This siren is NOT specifically a tornado siren, but simply intended to alert golfers that they should begin moving to the clubhouse.  This siren is a good guide for us to be aware of, but wait for instruction from the site director before trusting the siren alone.

 

Canopy Tour Evacuation Procedure

There are endless reasons why the Canopy Tour might need to be evacuated; all of them require the Site Director to make a judgement on what scenario requires a Canopy Tour Evacuation. Scenarios include, but are not limited to: Inclement Weather, extenuating rescue circumstances, hardware failure or damage, or any increase in unnecessary risk. An Evacuation should result in all participants being taken off the Canopy Tour in a timely fashion without increasing unnecessary risk. Once participants are off the Canopy Tour, Facilitators should debrief the situation. The Evacuation Procedure is detailed below:

  • Canopy Tour Staff will halt all activity on the Canopy Tour.

  • Radio or Call Site Director for guidance on evacuation. If Site Director is unavailable, then proceed with evacuation.

  • If participants are located between Alpha and Echo Ziplines, then use available rescue bags to lower participants to the ground. Reference Static Course Rescue on page 42 for lowering procedure.

  • If participants are located between Echo and Foxtrot Ziplines, then have them complete the course in a timely manner that does not increase unnecessary risk.

  • If there is an obstruction to progression through the Canopy Tour or damage to Canopy Tour Hardware, then use Rescue Bags on appropriate belay cables to lower participants.

  • Fill out Incident Report with Site Director.

    Canopy Tour Rescue 

    Canopy Tour Rescue 

    If someone is in need of a rescue for emotional reasons, the steps to follow are: 

    1. Talk to the person in efforts to calm them down.  If unsuccessful,  

    2. Go to the person (taking a rescue bag with you) to continue talking and give them physical assistance to continue IF they choose to be assisted.  If unsuccessful, perform a rescue as outlined below… 

    In the event of a physical emergency or an emotional rescue that progresses to the point where someone needs to be lowered to the ground, follow the steps below: 

    1. Alert the other facilitator in your group of the situation so they can prepare to assist. 

    2. Stop all activity on the course. 

    3. Coach the participant to haul themselves in to the nearest platform. If they are unable to haul themselves in, the facilitator must then slowly zip to the participant and tow them in to the nearest platform.

    4. Remove the Rescue 8 from the bag and attach the Triple Auto Lock Carabiner at the top of the 8 (The carabiner attached to the bag) to the zip cable closest to where the participant is. 

    5. Next, attach the black and white lanyard to the rescue 8. Then attach the lanyard behind the Vertical Trek Cross plate. 

    6. Remove the Etrier (rope ladder) and cutting tool and attach them to your own harness 

    7. Get in the butt belay position 

    8. Attach the Triple Auto Lock Carabiner to the participants front loop of their harness. 

    9. Yell “Rope” and drop the rescue bag to the ground

    10. Call “On belay” to the other facilitator in your group. The other facilitator will then visually check the rescue set up.

    11. After hearing “Belay is On” from the other facilitator, remove the participants Vertical Trekker from their harness’s belay loop and secure it to a place where it won’t slide.

    12. Call out “Lowering” to the other facilitator.

    13. The rescuing facilitator will respond with “Lower on” before lowering the participant down.     

    14. Once the participant has been lowered, the facilitator should return his/her attention to the group. 

    15. The facilitator will pack up the bag and re-secure it up top in case it needed to be used again.   

    16. Depending on the severity of the incident, either stop use of the element and get all participants down (see evacuation procedure), or continue with the group if the rescued person is ok.