Speeding up my ropewalker?

Discuss vertical caving, equipment, & techniques. Also visit the NSS Vertical Section.

Moderator: Tim White

Speeding up my ropewalker?

Postby RMsouthjersey » Apr 5, 2013 7:32 am

Hey all!
I'm a production treeclimber that has been ropewalking into trees for about 5 years now. I was originally taught the system by Bruce Smith at a class he put on in New Jersey. I remember him showing a video of a guy racing on a custom ropewalker. I have always been interested in getting in touch with someone who has modified there system to be faster. I would like to make mine faster on and off and faster while ascending. I know you guys have tradeshows with races of different systems and would love to check that out. I also realize more speed can mean less safety, I have 9 years of fulltime rope climbing experience and would keep the system safe. Can someone direct me to a tradeshow or person to get in contact with to learn more about this?
Infrequent Poster
Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 5, 2013 7:09 am

Re: Speeding up my ropewalker?

Postby Phil Winkler » Apr 5, 2013 7:48 am

Hey, RM,

Welcome to the forum. Where in south Jersey are you? I'm over in Wilmington, have known Bruce for way too many years and have used a rope walker since the 70's including mods for speed. Of course, I've only used the system to climb masts these past 15 years or so, but still. So, what gear do you use now?
Phil Winkler
13627 FE
User avatar
Phil Winkler
Global Moderator
Posts: 2375
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 8:48 am
Location: Wilmington, DE and Dewey Beach
NSS #: 13627FE

Re: Speeding up my ropewalker?

Postby Scott McCrea » Apr 5, 2013 8:10 am

Speed on rope does not mean climbing faster. Well, maybe a little. But, big improvements in speed come from improving transitions. Getting on and off rope faster, passing lips and obstacles, changeovers, work positioning, etc. The easiest way to get better with those is to simplify your system as much as possible. Get rid of connectors, smaller knots, control knot-tails, have a specific place to store things that are not in use, use smaller hardware. Start with the biggest part of your system. Simplify it and make it smaller. Then deconstruct each piece of gear to see what can be eliminated.

"The more you know, the less you need.”
― Yvon Chouinard

Read and study other people's ropewalkers. There are at least a dozen threads here about RW. Look up Clinton Elmore on Facebook. The recently simplified his system.

Good luck and welcome to Cavechat. BTW, there are some caver/arborists that will probably chime in here with some great advice.
Scott McCrea
User avatar
Scott McCrea
Global Moderator
Posts: 3198
Joined: Sep 5, 2005 3:07 pm
Location: Asheville, NC USA
NSS #: 40839RL
Primary Grotto Affiliation: Flittermouse Grotto

Re: Speeding up my ropewalker?

Postby Crockett » Apr 5, 2013 8:59 am

RMsouthjersey wrote: I know you guys have tradeshows with races of different systems and would love to check that out.

Random images, video, and rumors of TAG, OTR, and the NSS Convention probably resemble "tradeshows" to a reasonable sane person outside the caving community.

You might also connect with the Vertical Section of the NSS. They sometimes focus on speed.

NSS Hall Of Fame Poster
Posts: 243
Joined: Feb 5, 2006 7:10 pm
Location: Pineville, Kentucky
Name: Mike Crockett
NSS #: 33730
Primary Grotto Affiliation: East Tennessee Grotto

Re: Speeding up my ropewalker?

Postby l lambert » Apr 5, 2013 12:10 pm

Curious as to what a "production tree climber" is?
l lambert
Prolific Poster
Posts: 143
Joined: Jan 21, 2007 11:10 pm
Location: Heaven

Re: Speeding up my ropewalker?

Postby RMsouthjersey » Apr 7, 2013 6:51 pm

Thank you guys for your replys! Mr. Mccrea really started me thinking and I did some customizing and simplifying this weekeend. I have a rock exotica single chest roller, older style basic and croll ascenders and onrope1 footloops and chest hammock.
Changes so far,
-Used small bungee cord crimps instead of fishermens knots to connect the bungee to both ascenders. Simplified and streamlined.
- Found a small sailing pulley at West Marine that the side flipped open to easily take the bungee in and out. I attached this with a small shackle to the chest plate. This will allow me to leave the chest roller on and just unclip the ascenders and bungee when i get to my tie in point at the top of the tree. Rather than awkwardly taking the chest hammock off and stuffing the mess in a bag. Now its just a bungee, 2 ascenders and footloops in a small bag.
- cut the back straps off my footloops so i can slide them on and kick them off fast.
Let me know if you guys have any other ideas, theres not a whole lot on the internet about customizing these setups. Mostly discussions about a basic setup.
A production treeclimber prunes and removes as many trees as possible in a day. The more you can do while not killing yourself working hard the more money you can make. I live in Manahawkin about 45mins north of Cape May.
Infrequent Poster
Posts: 2
Joined: Apr 5, 2013 7:09 am

Return to On Rope!

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users