A different way to climb a rope

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A different way to climb a rope

Postby Vader » Oct 25, 2005 11:51 pm

I allready made this post on another discussion board and got one good response and I don't like to cut and paste on discussion boards, but I wanted to run this question by some of the very experinced climbers here.


I was watching one of those home improvements shows the other day, not some thing I normally do. They were improving a house by building a large tree house in the back yard. In preparation, carpenters called in a professional tree guy to cut off some of the branches that were not part of the plan. He had the most interesting way of climbing a rope.

From the very short video clips they showed of him working it looked like he had a chest ascender and nothing else. He would ascend the rope by using one foot to quickly wrap the rope around his other foot. Then he would stand up and repeat this again very quickly. The speed at which he moved around in the tree was amazing.

Did anybody happen to see this show or know what this technique is called?

It certainly doesn't look very safe, but it might be nice to know?
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Postby ian mckenzie » Oct 26, 2005 12:56 pm

I think I have heard of this method before, as an emergency way of ascending a rope with just one ascender, or perhaps even just a descender. But not as a primary means of ascent, as amongst other things it does not satisfy the principle of redundancy.
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Postby chaz » Oct 26, 2005 8:00 pm

I believe what you saw is a common arborist climbing technique. They use a 12 strand braided rope about 5/8 in. diameter. The rope is thrown over a limb and attached to a harness with a clove hitch. A tail is left about 4 feet long. This tail is tied onto the opposite side of the rope hanging over the limb using a taught line hitch. The hitch is similar to a prussic. This hitch is the ascender. You hold the rope below you with your feet.(it's called foot locking) You actually bend your knees and footlock high so you can stand up and slide the hitch up the rope at the same time. Then you shift your weight onto the hitch and repeat the footlock, thus climbing the rope. A cool feature of this technique is that you can go up or down the rope with this hitch. Also, when you stop, it stays put, you are instantly locked off.
I must confess, some of the first pits I dropped into were done on this system. Once I discovered Petzl ascenders and 11mm static rope, I leave the other stuff in the shed unless I'm tree trimming.
Respect the past and learn, Be active in the present and enjoy, Contribute to the future in a constructive manner. Chaz NSS 55321
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Postby Andy Shoun » Oct 27, 2005 7:51 am

What you saw was a double rope technique and because of the huge number of arborists there are lots more people practicing this climbing technique than our single rope technique. The climb requires that a rope goes from you and your knot over the limb and back down. As you progress up the rope the rope must slide over the branch (or tree saver device). There are lots of books and web sites and even tree climbing schools for more info. It is easy, fairly cheep and a lot of fun.
http://www.wesspur.com (gear)
the book "The Tree Climber's Companion" by Jeff Jepson is a great resource

be careful, andy
-Not all who wander are lost.
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Postby JMARKS » Dec 19, 2005 10:27 pm

I must comment on this. Yes I'm new here, and I did notice the date this was posted. I did treework for eleven years and I am very comfortable with the double rope technique. I used 1/2 inch 12 strand, my boss used 5/8 inch 3 strand, believe it or not. Try wrapping up 150 feet of that stuff on a rainy day. I have only been caving a year now, I do have a climbing system and have reduced to a 11mm rope but I just cant get used to the SRT. I'm not used to all this mechanical gear. I guess it'll take time but I still prefer a taut-line-hitch for going down and the foot-loop-lock for going up.
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Postby Stridergdm » Dec 19, 2005 11:10 pm

Well, I think this just goes to show that each arena develops the techniques that work best for them.

The arborist technique (something I do want to learn someday) work well in a tree where your focus is speed, ease of repositioning, and weight isn't a huge factor.

Alpine SRT is optimized where weight is a factor, speed while nice takes a back seat to safety, etc.

But, all areas can learn from each other. Each improves from the other.
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