The Tree House loves TreeStuff!

Back up your ascenders

T

Tom Dunlap

Guest
Why not quit using doubled ropes for ascent once and for all?

SRT is MUCH easier to add backups and second attachment points.

Shoot, the Corvair and Pinto were taken out of production because they were unsafe, why not doubled rope access too? Dang, I'm getting weary of reading about these accidents :(
 

OTGBOSTON

punk in drublic
Joined
Jan 18, 2007
Messages
4,181
Location
Tha Dirty Bean...Boston Massachusetts
If you were going to fall from a tree, what would be
high on the list of things you would rather not land on?
Most people will have iron railings well up on that list,
but for one climber last year that was precisely what
he plummeted 52 feet on to, picking up two puncture
wounds in his back, one inch away from his spine. He
was more than a little lucky, discounting the falling in
the first place, as his harness absorbed the worst of
his fall and stopped the spikes from ripping deeper.
Remarkably, he is back at work and climbing again.
Now that I am sure I have your attention, you probably
have a few questions to ask: “How did he fall?” “What, if
anything, did he do wrong?” “What broke?” Before I tell
you, remember the sick feeling in your stomach looking
at the photo of the harness on the fence and learn from
someone else’s lucky escape.
He was foot locking into the tree using the double
rope technique (DRT) with mechanical ascenders. When
he reached the top, about three feet under his anchor
point, with the ropes pulled together with an alpine
butterfly, he reached out to his side about an arm’s length
to take hold of a branch to pull himself in to stem and
lanyard in. One of the ropes in his ascenders popped out
and he fell. Turning, trying in vain to grab the ropes in
front of him, he saw the ground and railings come towards
him. He could not quite believe what was happening; he
thought for sure he was going die, then bang! A sudden
stop. He hit the railings, feeling them punch in to his body,
he was winded, conscious but alive.
How could this happen? Good question. Well it
happened and the companies that make such devices
are aware of the potential for it to happen because
clearly marked on all devices is the maximum and (more
importantly) the minimum diameter of the rope that they
can be used with. Also stated in the instructions are the
directions and limitation of use, they are for one directional
use, to be loaded only from below the device, they are
not designed for lateral movement. It has been known
for a while that this could happen and climbers have had
moments where it nearly did.
The findings of the HSE investigation held no one
at fault. All actions had been following the current best
practice, so what should we do to stop this until someone
builds us a new device for tree access alone?
What now? A better question. First, the “Guide to
Good Climbing Practice” is currently under review prior
to a second edition and DRT is one of the areas being
worked on. In the meantime, if you are using such
devices, what you must do is put in a fail to safety, a back
up or safeguard of some sort that will hold you if one of
the cams should fail or, as in the case above, the rope
should work free of the device altogether.
There are many and various ways of backing up
the DRT system utilising ascenders, but what needs
to be made clear is that just adding a prussic loop on
both lines (as you would if you were foot locking with
a prussic) will not be backed up. This is because if
one side of the ascenders fails, the ropes will move in
opposite directions and the prussic will not grip. What
you must do is treat double ascenders as two separate
ascenders that just happen to be joined together. Each
side must be backed up.
To that end, a friction hitch, prussic lets say for
simplicity, is installed one above each cam, one on each
line and then connected to the karabiner attaching the
ascenders to your strop (Fig I) or linked into the system
on your harness. You will need to take care when
choosing your karabiner, so as not to overcrowd or load
it incorrectly. Another method would be to use a second
cam on each line; doing this will isolate each line. Walk a
second set of ascenders up the ropes to the top (Fig II),
set the correct distance away from your anchored limb
to allow for the spread ratio, or up to a butterfly knot and
bring the ropes together under the anchor point.
There are many other ways to back up DRT utilising
ascenders but I have insufficient space to mention them
all here. If you want to find more ways to back up your
system, check out arbtalk.co.uk or treebuzz.com, come
and have a chat at one of the many events this year at the
tree climbers’ forum or just chat to some of the climbers
competing or judging at a TCC event. Above all climb safe
and keep your system simple, so you and your groundy
can fully understand what is going on. If you are not sure,
go back to a simple prussic loop for foot locking. Think
about reaching out a little and get online, or book some
update training.
Alexander Laver
Tree Logic
ISA UK&I TCC Chairman
 
B

Bounce

Guest
Why not quit using doubled ropes for ascent once and for all?

SRT is MUCH easier to add backups and second attachment points.
:? Ummm, isn't this about the dangers of using ascenders? Isn't SRT primarily based on using ascenders? I don't understand how using ascenders more often would make their use safer. Also, don't groups like TCI specifically recommend DdRT for beginners because it is so much simpler and safer than SRT?

I got something totally different out of the article: USE A BACKUP (no matter which technique you are using).
 
B

Blinky

Guest
Why not quit using doubled ropes for ascent once and for all?

SRT is MUCH easier to add backups and second attachment points.

Shoot, the Corvair and Pinto were taken out of production because they were unsafe, why not doubled rope access too? Dang, I'm getting weary of reading about these accidents :(
Wait... so now doubled rope access is unsafe? C'mon Tom that's just waaay over the top. ANY ascent system should be backed up and had the climber in the article done that this wouldn't even be a discussion. It takes about 30 seconds to backup a pair of ascenders.

SRT access depends on a branch or union twice as strong as DdRT... that would be an anchor point that you can't inspect until you get there. I'll take the safety of half the stress on my anchor over forgetting to backup my ascenders any day.


WHY IS IT THAT SRT PROPONENTS CAN'T SIMPLY LIVE AND LET LIVE?!! It's always Footlocking is evil bad, bad, bad. Do you honestly think that's a useful way to debate an issue? Why not co-exist... it's not like it's really hard to get your mind around it. :?
 
T

Tom Dunlap

Guest
My position on SRT vs. DdRT is plenty clear, no reason to go back and run it all out again.

A cord/friction hitch as used in the FL in the TCC is not backed up at all. And don't even get going on the belay...that's in the TCC only. Does anyone use a belay for ascent?

It isn't about ascenders vs. hitches either. There are some systems of both that have consistently shown that they're inferior. Why continue to use them? Because they're convenient. Substitute the Dualcender for the Kong's and there would be less accidents/injuries.

Treeclimbers are the only rope access group that uses DdRT for some very good and unique reasons. That doesn't make SRT dangerous in trees though.

If a climber is concerned that the TIP can only hold a 2:1 load then they're climbing on a too small TIP. The TIP has to be bomb proof! I've had first person discussions with climbers who have had TIPs on DdRT break out even after bounce testing...myself included. Bruises but no injuries fortunately.

Of course, doubled rope access can be backed up. It is much less complex to back up SRT though. And the backups are more dependable since there's no worry about a moving rope.

I know that I'm a loud [mouth...hehehe :lol: ] voice for SRT. This isn't something that I've come to lately. This is almost 20 years of personal research, evolution, discussion and tinkering with many rope access systems. It's unlikely that I'll ever let it go :D but we will continue to discuss the topic :)

There is no cut and dry answer of course. After reading about accidents like this it breaks my heart. There are 'accepted' systems that have too many shortcomings in their accepted form which can lead to addidents like this. Why wasn't this climber taught about backups? why didn't they have the tops of the ascenders clipped?
 
F

Frans

Guest
Good post, Tom.
Tom=but we will continue to discuss the topic
You opened the door :)


I guess I need to see you fly though the canopy using SRT. Not just for ascent into the tree, but working the tree as well.
 
T

Tom Dunlap

Guest
My 'fly through the canopy' days aren't ahead of me, Frans. But, I will say that I move faster using the Unicender than on DdRT. are you going to be in STL for ISA? How about coming up to Boise for the PNW conference in Sept. I'll be doing an SRT class there.
 

DMc

TreeHouser
Joined
Jun 2, 2008
Messages
2,885
Location
Montana
[SRT access depends on a branch or union twice as strong as DdRT... that would be an anchor point that you can't inspect until you get there. I'll take the safety of half the stress on my anchor over forgetting to backup my ascenders any day.
Accidents like this always bring out the heat. There will be plenty of finger pointing and "should have dones". I'm just glad he's ok.

I'm not a climber that is known to most of you but I do have some experience. I have been evolving my climbing technique and tools for a very long time. I use, what I call, a hybrid system that allows me to use SRT for accessing the canopy and Ddrt for working the tree. Though I don't footlock any more, this system could be footlocked very well.

I quoted Blinky's statement on the strength required for the TIP and must say, where it is true, it is a vastly over-emphasized fear. Your TIP must be safe or regardless of WHAT technique you are using, if it fails you are screwed! So that's the first step. Choose a proper and safe TIP.

I use an adjustable false crotch that's base-tied to small Port-a-Wrap. This allows my climbing line to run through a pulley up to the TIP. For access on a SRT or DRT footlock all that is required is to tie an Alpine butterfly on the pulley sheave. This gives two separate lines hanging down parallel to each other creating a redundant system. If one side fails, the other would not slip out.

This, I feel, is major. It takes some experience to set this system up quickly but can be done.

I know this is not a cureall system. Every technique has its pros and cons. The benefits of having 2 secured lines to ascend with is a huge safety factor. If a climber blows out on the way up, aerial rescue is not necessary. He can be safely lowered from the ground. Here again, this is huge!

I have heard many express fear of having another line in the tree that can be cut or tampered with on the ground. I don't know quite what to say about that. We work with ropes and sharp objects. If you want to live, you can't make very many mistakes.

Not trusting your ground crew (these are the same folks who are going to performing the aerial rescue if you screw up) is a really bad situation no matter how you are climbing and should be remedied.

This is my choice for a safe climbing system. I do feel it is time to shed some of the dogma that "this is the way we have always done it and it has worked fine". Trust me, I have had to change a lot in my climbing career. I am as stubborn as anyone I have ever met but the end results have helped me achieve longevity and I feel a greater enjoyment in what I do.

Dave
 
N

NeTree

Guest
Do more people get killed in drum chippers or disc chippers? Disc chippers kill more people than drum chippers do... now. 'Course, more people are using them versus a drum.

So if we eliminated drum chippers entirely... wouldn't it look like disc chippers are unsafe? Any chipper is only as safe as the operator.

Same thing with DdRT versus SRT, Tom. Any climbing system or method is only as safe as the climber.

SRT has its uses... but really, it's not the Omega of climbing.
 
F

Frans

Guest
How about coming up to Boise for the PNW conference in Sept. I'll be doing an SRT class there.
I'm thinking 'bout it. Have to check my schedule. I suppose you want more wine, thats why your asking? ;)
 
B

Blinky

Guest
My position on SRT vs. DdRT is plenty clear, no reason to go back and run it all out again.
No doubt, and I've read and listened to what you have to say.

A cord/friction hitch as used in the FL in the TCC is not backed up at all. And don't even get going on the belay...that's in the TCC only. Does anyone use a belay for ascent?
The cord IS the backup, the primary is hands and feet... hence secured footlock vs. unsecured footlock.

It isn't about ascenders vs. hitches either. There are some systems of both that have consistently shown that they're inferior. Why continue to use them? Because they're convenient. Substitute the Dualcender for the Kong's and there would be less accidents/injuries.

Treeclimbers are the only rope access group that uses DdRT for some very good and unique reasons. That doesn't make SRT dangerous in trees though.
Agreed.

If a climber is concerned that the TIP can only hold a 2:1 load then they're climbing on a too small TIP. The TIP has to be bomb proof! I've had first person discussions with climbers who have had TIPs on DdRT break out even after bounce testing...myself included. Bruises but no injuries fortunately.
Same here, but you cannot KNOW a TIP is bombproof from the ground before ascending, halving the load is a nice extra safety margin... a big conifer for instance.

Of course, doubled rope access can be backed up. It is much less complex to back up SRT though. And the backups are more dependable since there's no worry about a moving rope.
Maybe... but I don't see how backed up ascenders on a double are less dependable than SRT, the moving rope isn't a factor using knots for the backup.

I know that I'm a loud [mouth...hehehe :lol: ] voice for SRT. This isn't something that I've come to lately. This is almost 20 years of personal research, evolution, discussion and tinkering with many rope access systems. It's unlikely that I'll ever let it go :D but we will continue to discuss the topic :)
Granted and I respect that. From my perspective you are the authority when it comes to SRT in tree climbing... but I fail to see how DdRT is unsafe and comparable to cars that explode when you hit'em.
Conceptually I think SRT is cool, but I've yet to find it a replacement for DdRT in practice. It's a royal pain to move or advance a TIP with SRT, if you double crotch you're back on DdRT. It still doesn't offer the holy grail, an easily retrievable re-direct. It takes extra stuff to frog that you end up wearing the whole time you climb. SRT rope is more static than DRT rope and will absorb less shock in the event of a fall... which gets back to that doubled load on the TIP thing.

I will be one of your biggest converts if you solve those issues and truly make DdRT obsolete.

There is no cut and dry answer of course. After reading about accidents like this it breaks my heart. There are 'accepted' systems that have too many shortcomings in their accepted form which can lead to accidents like this. Why wasn't this climber taught about backups? why didn't they have the tops of the ascenders clipped?
The rock climbing world is rife with accidents involving single line techniques, the literature is all over the web. As for tree accidents attributable to SRT or DdRT as the root cause, I don't know, perhaps you have data; that would be educational to see.

You ought to know me well enough to know I'm not disrespecting you, but the language from the SRT camp lately is been overly strident about tried and true climbing and life support methods. All climbing methods require training, the fact that the soul who fell in this instance didn't backup his gear can't be attributed to whether he used a single or doubled line.
 

sotc

Dormant hero!!
Joined
Dec 6, 2005
Messages
21,774
Location
So. Oregon
Why not quit using doubled ropes for ascent once and for all?

SRT is MUCH easier to add backups and second attachment points.

Shoot, the Corvair and Pinto were taken out of production because they were unsafe, why not doubled rope access too? Dang, I'm getting weary of reading about these accidents :(
sorry tom but this sounds absurd to me. granted youve been in trees alot longer than i but like has been said " a system is only as good as a climber". i dont think this should be made idiot proof, idiots dont belong in trees, common sence should reign
 
T

Tom Dunlap

Guest
***It's a royal pain to move or advance a TIP with SRT, if you double crotch you're back on DdRT.

All I do is lanyard in, toss my rope up to the next TIP, tension, move my ascender [mostly Unicender] and continue. That is much easier for me to do than using DdRT where I continually have to reisolate the TIP.


***It still doesn't offer the holy grail, an easily retrievable re-direct.

Sure..super simple! Easier to demo than describe so hold on...I'll try to describe what it would look like. The climber is facing the tree with the TIP up to the right and the redi-TIP over there on the left...OK?

A bite of rope is tossed over the redi-TIP and yarded down to the climber. The rope's tail drops down to the ground and should be set close to where the next redi-TIP will be or along the expected climbing path.
The friction device/hitch is put on the correct place on the redirected line. The climber can go out or down as needed. Then, when it's time to clear the redi, lanyard in, take off the friction device/hitch and pull down the tail of the rope and move on. The rope should now be connected directly to the main TIP.

My most common use of this is when I use a natural redi as I work down the tree. My rope is tailed down towards where I'll be moving towards.

***It takes extra stuff to frog that you end up wearing the whole time you climb.

My chest ascender has a bungie neck cord that is slacked off so I never even notice it when I'm not using it. The Pantin stays on most of the time no matter which way I climb. The only extra gear is the footloop which I can toss or just rack up and hang it on my harness.

My brother uses RADS with an Eddy as the lower and moves quite smoothly around the tree. He has gotten adept at moving the uppper ascender along with him.

***SRT rope is more static than DRT rope and will absorb less shock in the event of a fall... which gets back to that doubled load on the TIP thing.

True...but there is more stretch in a single line of most static lines than a doubled climbing rope. When two rope legs are used the load is halved along with the stretch. If I fall onto a single static line there will be less impact on me than if I took the same fall in a DdRT setup.
 
T

Tom Dunlap

Guest
Now I'm using Tachyon. Until now I was using KMIII.

This is the stretch data that I got from the New England Ropes site. It isn't all in the same format so it's hard to compare. I'll see if I can get it in the same format but that might take a couple of days to hear back from NER.

Why do you ask John?



7/16” KMIII

2.9 @ 1.35 kN (300 lbf)
5.1 @ 2.70 kN (600 lbf)
8.0 @ 4.40 kN (1000 lbf)

Tachyon

2.2% per EN 1891 Type A

New England High Vee

% Elongation % Tensile
About 3.0 10
about 5.5 20
About 7.5 30
 

sotc

Dormant hero!!
Joined
Dec 6, 2005
Messages
21,774
Location
So. Oregon
please bring this system to your pnw presentation, maybe it will make more sence then
 

Burnham

Woods walker
Joined
Mar 7, 2005
Messages
18,436
Location
Western Oregon
Tom D...as a SRT advocate, you really ought to take a look at Sterling HRT 10mm line. Lighter, stronger, runs mech. ascenders smoother...and the only really worthwhile point...the stretch percentage is significantly, and I mean SIGNIFICANTLY, better than our old reliable KMIII and it's equals.
 
W

Will

Guest
Seems like comparing apples and oranges. how can one system deal with all possible scenarios? We all work in different ways in different trees with different objectives. Systems should be peer review and discussed and refined. But mine is better than yours? no way.
 

No_Bivy

Treehouser
Joined
Sep 2, 2006
Messages
6,002
Tom, ever do a drop test on the UNi and static line? Just wondering.

SRT has it's place....so does DRT. Neither is safer then the other, both are inherently dangerous.....climbing ya know. In fact there is more room for pilot error in SRT IMO. Anchor points at the base of a tree during a removal is absurd.

I must be getting old, this year marks my 20th year riding a rope, rock and trees. I have jugged miles of single line.....i mean MILES. When workin in a tree DRT is "much mo' betta". I dont see SRT replacing DRT anytime soon.
 
T

Tom Dunlap

Guest
There's more stretch in a single static line than in a DdRT system since the load is supported by less total rope volume. Morgan has done some testing on the Uni but I don't have the data saved.

Right, climbing is climbing, both dangerous.

I've done removals with anchor wraps. The risks are accounted for. If I ever felt that the anchor was in harm's way I would change things up.

SRT may require more attention in some situations less in others. Like I've said I've taken rope novices climbing using all sorts of systems. they take to SRT much easier and with more fun than DdRT. It will take a generation of climbers to tell how much penetration SRT gains. If climbers were taught SRT and DdRT at the same time in their apprentice time I wonder how much quicker the acceptance may be.
 
F

Frans

Guest
A major point is cost. What is overlooked often is that 99% of the actual working force doing tree work are the guys making wages working for companies who have never heard of advanced climbing techniques, let alone different methods of getting up in a tree.
Each and every climbing skills workshops I have participated in have climbers who own only a weaver type saddle, cable core flip line, and a set of spurs.
Making 100 bucks or so a day does not allow any money left over for making a 500 dollar investment in climbing gear.

It could be that on the west coast, the majority of climbers use the most simple systems, I don't know.
 
The Tree House Loves TreeStuff!
Top