Lift Evacuation

Posted by Dana Jordan on 24th Sep 2014

Cascade Line Savers have been in use by ski areas for nearly 50 years. Other than our rescue toboggans, they were among the first products offered by the company. Their use is rather simple. The Line Saver is used to reduce the wear caused by lift evacuation operations and to speed the evacuation process itself. To use:

1. Thread the end of the evacuation line (usually an 11mm Kernmantle style rope) through the longer, straight end of the rope.

2. Slide the Line Saver to the approximate middle of the rope. Once done, pull the end of the rope protruding from the longer side of the line saver over the cable from the outside of the cable to the inside. It is crucial the the long end of the line saver goes to the Evacuee and the short end is to the outside of the haul cable to the belay point on the ground.

3. As the Line Saver reaches the cable and with slight tension on both ends of the rope, give it a quick, gentle tug from the inside of the cable. The Line Saver will then roll over the cable and position itself on top of the cable allowing the rope to easily slide through the Line Saver.

4. The rescuer may then attach a Chair Lift Evacuation seat and raise it up to the Evacuee. Because the Line Saver will reduce the friction of the rope over the cable, it is essential that a proper belay system be established by the Patroller on the ground. The Evacuee may then be positioned on the seat and lowered to the ground.

5. When moving to the next chair, the Line Saver can be flipped over the grip with a rolling motion applied to the rope. This works best if both patrollers on each end of the rope maintain a relatively slack line and move slightly ahead of the grip and are positioned approximately 10 feet from either side of the cable. The next chair may then be evacuated.

6. When a tower must be traversed, the line saver must be removed from the haul cable by using the same rolling action and then lowering it to the ground. The process outlined in steps 2 and 3 are then repeated.

Keep in mind that climbing towers to reposition the Line Saver is discourage unless the partipants are trained in high ropes rescue techniques.

Some of the original line savers were quite short on the end that goes to the Belay on the ground, the long end goes down to the evacuee. They were redesigned in the mid-90's and are slightly larger to accommodate larger cable sizes.

If you have any of the line savers that have a washer welded on them, you should retire them. The washer welded on the side was meant for a tag line, but many people started using it as an attachment point for a mechanical advantage system. It IS NOT man rated and dangerous to use in this manner. We have a product called the Line Belay designed for this purpose with a rated point on the device.

RISK MANAGEMENT. Depending upon how heavily the Line Saver has been used, the potential for collapse under load is a possibility. A potentially greater risk is that if someone decided to use the "washer" as a belay point and it failed, you would be left to explain why these were in service when there was a known risk. Ultimately it is your call though. If you think about it, how long would you use something for dangerous work that is 30 plus years old?

Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions! 844-414-RESQ