Z-drag for rescue - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 04-06-2010   #1
 
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 18
Z-drag for rescue

Trying to find some anecdotal evidence about z drags or mechanical advantage in rescue.
I am curious to know if anyone has:
  • Used a Z Drag to actually pull a raft or kayak out of a wrap or pin?
  • Any stories about unsuccessful attempts using a z drag?
  • Any injuries from failed mechanical advantage systems?
  • Other interesting information from using mechanical advantage in rescue.
  • Things learned from your experience.

I would love to hear it first hand but if you know of someone who had experiences I would be interested in those as well. Additionally the more detailed the story the better.


Thanks

KC

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Old 04-06-2010   #2
 
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Used a Z Drag to actually pull a raft or kayak out of a wrap or pin?
Yes, on numerous occasions.

Any stories about unsuccessful attempts using a z drag?
Yes, once was enough.

Any injuries from failed mechanical advantage systems?
Thankfullly, no.

Other interesting information from using mechanical advantage in rescue.
I try to never exceed 12:1 MA. To me, that means no more than 4 people pulling on a 3:1. If you're pulling too hard you're probably pulling the wrong direction. Keep it simple and safe.

Things learned from your experience.
A good swiftwater rescue course is invaluable. Once you've acquired that basic skillset, practice, practice, practice. Training + Practice + Experience and Good Judgement = Successful Rescues.

Feel free to shoot me an email if you want more details or specifics.
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Old 04-06-2010   #3
 
North Bend, Washington
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Haven't needed to use it on a raft yet, but have had the chance to uproot a stump (anchor) using a simple Z-rig and to pull a 1000lb horse that was stuck on it's side out of a trailer with a pig rig and 4 people pulling.

Mechanical advantage is an amazing thing!
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Old 04-06-2010   #4
 
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I have used basic mechanical advantage systems to unpin a kayak. If your buddy is in it, there are some faster techniques you should use; but if those don't work a z-drag or such may be necessary.

If your worried about the potential injury from a system failure you should A) increase the strength of your systems components B) insure that the weakest point is NOT something metal like a beaner or pulley C) figure out a different way to retrieve the gear D) suck it up and pull if your buddy is in a life threatening situation
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Old 04-06-2010   #5
 
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
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more info on rope breaking

I have seen two z drag setups where the main section of the pull line broke.

Both times at the point where the prussic knot attached to the main line.

Both times were also where "hey, it's not moving --- add a couple more bodies to the pull"
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Old 04-06-2010   #6
 
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Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2006
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I have used them a few times on rafts and kayaks. It took 5 hours for us to get a raft off one time and broke a few ropes there but no one got hurt. Last year on big south we were unpinning a boat and I thin it was just a 2:1 system but maybe a z-drag and the rope broke and came a biner flying by my face and hit Evan it the face behind me but he wasn't hurt to bad. I have learned that you should try different angles if you having a huge amount of difficulty.
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Old 04-06-2010   #7
 
Albany, New York
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 4
A rope breaking has not happened to me yet. BUt usually we have a spare jacket oin each boat and I take it and throw it over the line. This may help if the line breaks so everything won't come flying at you.
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Old 04-06-2010   #8
 
Jackson, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Jan 2008
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These are great! keep them coming please. Cooljerk I would love some more details on the times it has worked as well as the time it didn't.

Thanks everyone
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Old 04-06-2010   #9
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Bellevue, Idaho
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I have used z drag rope setups at least five times to unpin rafts and inflatable kayaks and once to pull a lake canoe apart in the middle of a rapid after it had popped a couple of rafts.

We did have a rope failure ( throw bag ) that in spite of a life jacket tether in the middle still hit me hard in the side of the head. I was the lead guy on the rope and I had a helmet on, but it completely rang my bell. Thank God for that little Protec kayak helmet though.
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Old 04-06-2010   #10
 
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Birmingham, Alabama
Paddling Since: 1995
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I'v never had to use a Z-drag until this winter. I was guiding two guys down a class 4 creek called Jhonnies in NE Alabama, and as me and another guy were looking at the class 5 the third person is our group managed to get his boat pinned in a sieve.



That sob was in there good.
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