Small Party Assisted Rescue (SPAR) Materials
Archived here are a series of documents that can be used to teach or learn SPAR skills. This page is a bit eclectic because it includes some methods, teaching materials, a bibliography, etc. More content will be added over time, so readers are encouraged to submit ideas and techniques so they can be learned and used by others (contact us)!
- SPAR Rigging Kits
Examples of what can be carried in a small party assisted rescue rigging kit. The SPAR rigging kits described here are optimized for different environmental conditions. The different kits are presented as examples, not as ideals. Ultimately what to carry is a matter of personal opinion based on experience, rigging skill, and affordability.
- Skate Blocks
A short paper that shows how to rig and operate Skate Blocks. This is a useful technique to move a person both horizontally and vertically to avoid an obstacle, and is a useful alternative to higher tension systems like tilted highlines and guiding lines.
- Münter Hitch Variations (Note: This file has been updated, so this is Version 3)
This document covers a variety of ways to tie and utilize the Münter Hitch. It is written for people with experience using the hitch, and covers a wide range of ways to tie a Münter Hitch, convert it to a one way locking hitch, tie it off, and use it to perform simple or complex rigging tasks (e.g., rescues). There is something in here for nearly all rope users.
- Simple Anchors Made From Rope (Note: This file has been updated, so this is Version 3)
This document covers a wide array of simple single point anchors that can be tied using rope. While the subject may seem simple, there are numerous inventive ways to alter rigging knots to give them useful properties. This text shows readers how to tie a variety of simple anchors, and modify them to have useful rigging properties.
Updated Version #3 Version #2 Version #1
- Vector Raises
A minimal equipment method of raising a load up a pitch. Particularly effective when few people are present to perform a raise and there is considrable edge friction.
- The Spanish Pendulum
A brief description of how to construct and operate the Spanish Pendulum, which is a technique for breaking into a loaded line and raising a person when stuck on rope. This technique is most appropriate for those working with static ropes and on pitches with little friction against the rope during a hauling operation.
- Auto-Locking Hitches (Note: This file has been updated, so this is Version 2)
Nine carabiner and screw link based hitches are described in which rope moves only one way, thus creating mechanisms for taking up slack, progress capture, and locking belays. These include the Garda Hitch, Lorenzi Hitch, Heart Brake, Mallion System, Carabiner System, and four one way locking Münter Hitches.
Updated Version #3 Version #2 Version #1
- Inline Traveling Hauls
Inline traveling hauls are a slick way of moving a patient up a pitch with minimal equipment and personnel. This paper describes how to rig the system with common rigging equipment and gear found in SPAR Rigging Kits.
- Diminishing Loop Counterbalance
The diminishing loop counterbalance is an amazingly effective way of raising a heavy loads up free hang drops. This article was presented at the International Technical Rescue Symposium in 2013 and is available at the ITRS Archive here as well. Abstract Paper PowerPoint Figures (in PowerPoint)
- Making a Prusik Minding Pulley (PMP)
This one page guide explains how to convert a normal pulley into a prusik minding pulley (PMP) with a carabiner or screwlink. This is a useful technique when a PMP is needed and only a normal pulley is available.
- An Introduction to J-Belays
J-Belays are a technique developed to belay people on long rappels when bottom belays do not work well. This document explains how to rig the J-belay, how to operate the system effectively, and provides additional reading for those interested. Rigging diagrams are provided for ease of learning the technique.
- How to Rig the Voodoo and Poldo Tensioning Systems
The Voodoo and Poldo are tensioning systems that can be built with few components for both sport and rescue applications. This document describes and illustrates how to build both systems both inline and using the end of the rope. If this was useful you may also be interested in our breaking strength testing we performed on Voodoo's posted here, and the tensioning research posted here.
- Adamson, Stan, 1965, Cave Rescue Technique, Speleo Digest 1965:3-73 – 3-77
- Hall, Jim, 1986, Moving People and Things Up, Nylon Highway 22:15-16
- Hall, Warren, 1979, Single Rope Solo Rescue Techniques, Nylon Highway 10:10-13
- Hartline, Daniel, 1965, James Mitchell Accident – Analysis, Speleo Digest, 1965: 3-109 – 3-114
- Perera, Tom, 1962, An Analysis of Some Old and New Techniques for Vertical Caving, NSS News 20(3):29-31
- Smith, Bob, 1966, Bull Cave Rescue, A Little Preparation Pays big Dividends, NSS News 24(7):168-170
- Smith, Bruce, 1974, Pit Rescue, Nylon Highway 2:2-6
- Varnedoe, Bill, 1965, Some Rescue Techniques, Speleo Digest 1965:3-77
- Warshauer, Mike, 1959, Bilgeri Method of Ascent, NSS News 17(9):139