Hikers and climbers will often encounter a Tyrolean traverse when a swift water crossing is necessary. Once such crossing that I’ve always enjoyed is in Boulder Canyon, which was recently devastated by severe flooding. So…this post could be a…er…ode to the (former?) Boulder Canyon Tyrolean traverses. Boulder Creek, which flows at this level in the springtime, would be too dangerous to cross here on foot:
Below, my climbing partner Deb is crossing the creek, using her climbing harness and gear to keep her attached to the fixed Tyrolean line there. Her pack wasn’t heavy, so she chose to keep it attached to her back, but if you’re crossing a Tyrolean, it’s a good idea to attach the backpack to the line as well and drag it along, attached to your harness and directly to the line so that you don’t lose it in transit.
Here’s another image of Deb crossing back across the creek. It’s best to keep your head in the direction of your final destination; in this way, you’ll pull yourself backwards towards the end-destination anchor:
She’s almost there…just a few more good pulls, and then she’ll be across and on the other side.
Crossing a Tyrolean traverse can be fun since it feels like a little adventure, and encountering one isn’t an everyday occurrence. But if making a swift-water crossing is a matter of safety or survival, it’s absolutely necessary to know how to do it.
Do you know how to cross a Tyrolean traverse?
If not, read my article on the About.com Survival Skills website, and then get out there for some practice with your harness and gear.
Photos © Traci J. Macnamara.