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Old 07-08-2011, 16:48   #1
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Single Line Ascension Gear Check

I use climbing equipment to go up the mast, single line ascension using a Grigri self belayer with 10 mill static line hoisted on the main halyard. This set-up has worked very well for over two years. However yesterday I went up the first time in 6 months. I ascended fine but belaying down the rope was jaming in the belayer so I was stuck up there. Finally through a process of partially unweighting the belayer I jerked dropped all the way down. Not fun.
I've been in the Sea of Cortez for 6 months and even thow the climbing rope had been dry and ventilated under decks it had stiffened up from the salty humid air to the point where it would not bend properly in the belayer. Not being a real climber myself I really do feel like a rookie now. I'll Check all the gear next time and know them better.
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Old 07-08-2011, 17:03   #2
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Re: Single Line Ascension Gear Check

Interesting problem. I use a Petzl PIRANA ring to descend, and yes, sometimes the line is too stiff to run nicely. The Grigri seemed too fussy, and doesn't it require two hands?

Maybe we should sometimes leave the line out in the rain.
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Old 08-08-2011, 06:37   #3
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Re: Single Line Ascension Gear Check

I used to be an arborist and from my climbing days I still use my old climbing harness and ascension gear. I never used mechanical gear for basic ascending, but rather a VT hitch with micro pully. The hitch will lock and bite and the pulley allows you to self tend the tail advancing the hitch. I dont like relying on mechanical. Other methods I have used are Prussic around the mast.
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Old 08-08-2011, 06:48   #4
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Re: Single Line Ascension Gear Check

Iíve never used the VT hitch, but wonder if those, more experienced climbers (ELG), might comment on this caution:
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Old 08-08-2011, 13:44   #5
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Re: Single Line Ascension Gear Check

Well seasoned climber I am not but I am somewhat skilled. For that reason I feel the prussic knot and such are knot for me. The Grigri is a very simple and reliable device. It is the rope brake REI Inc. uses on the training indoor rock at the Seattle flag store as climbers scurry about aloft. If they rely upon it with huge liability at stake that says something to me.
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Old 08-08-2011, 13:59   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saben
Well seasoned climber I am not but I am somewhat skilled. For that reason I feel the prussic knot and such are knot for me. The Grigri is a very simple and reliable device. It is the rope brake REI Inc. uses on the training indoor rock at the Seattle flag store as climbers scurry about aloft. If they rely upon it with huge liability at stake that says something to me.
But it requires two hands to operate, yes? I need one hand free to hang onto the rig with. I do have the ascending line bar tight to the deck. But there is still plenty of swinging room if a sea is running. Can't imagine not having a hand free even in a calm anchorage. Same problem with the Prussic knots and such.
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Old 08-08-2011, 14:02   #7
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Re: Single Line Ascension Gear Check

No problems with my Top Climber. Use a Prussik as a safety line on another halyard.

Funny you mention REI. I was going to use mountain climbing gear to get up the mast but knew nothing about it. Went down to my local REI and asked one of their employees in the climbing department to help me. He showed me the hardware I'd need and gave me a basic idea of how it worked. Somewhere along the line, it came out what I was going to use the gear for. He immediately told me he couldn't sell the gear to me, put it back on the rack, and walked away. Appears that you can score another one for the frigging attorneys. I went on line and bought the Top Climber.
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Old 08-08-2011, 14:22   #8
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Re: Single Line Ascension Gear Check

I guess I’m lazy... I have the GF winch me up with the power winch! BUT if I were to go single-handed, I would go with the slippery hitch or prussik and tie it off in the same manner as a tree climber would. Why have all that metallic crap banging you and the mast when all you need is a piece of rope? Besides having one line which goes up, through a sheeve on the main halyard and back down gives a 2:1 advantage to pul yourself up!
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Old 09-08-2011, 09:40   #9
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Re: Single Line Ascension Gear Check

A basic Prussic which wraps inside of itself is relatively safe. The VT hitch and the caution is that if you inadvertantly release ( gripping the top of the knot ) it will release. In the tree industry, a falling limb will have the same affect and release. When climbing i ALWAYS put a hitch beneath it as a just in case. The VT hitch is for advanced climbers do to the fact that if you tie it wrong it can and has failed. When tied properly it is a very effective knot. As stated in my previous post, a simple way is to get a climbing harness and use two Prussics around the mast with the top hitch attached to the harness. When you reach the spreaders you use another prussic by tying it above the spreaders. To ascend properly stand on the bottom prussic ( foot loop or loops ) and advance the top prussic, lean back and slide bottom up then repeat. A properly tied prussic around the mast will hold but remember that these methods should only be used if you are experienced with climbing. One needs to know HOW and WHY knots and ascenders fail and how to avoid them. When tree climbing i stay away from mechanical because twigs, suckers and even a leaf can actually cause an ascender to release. Always have a spotter when doing ANY climbing and make sure they are familiar with climbing as well. It should also be noted that these knots are not for descending as they will burn the rope and glaze over causing less friction and possibly slip. Either descend SLOW or use a FIG 8
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Old 09-08-2011, 09:45   #10
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Re: Single Line Ascension Gear Check

Here is the hitch i use. IMPORTANT ! When using any lifeline make sure it ends up with a solid termination knot like a Double Fishermans with a decent tail! Bowlines have been known to slip and therefore are not to be relied upon for climbing!


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Old 09-08-2011, 09:55   #11
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Re: Single Line Ascension Gear Check

Quote:
Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Iíve never used the VT hitch, but wonder if those, more experienced climbers (ELG), might comment on this caution:
SherrillTree | Tree Gear. Tree People. Professional Tree Care
The reasons there is caution with this knot has a couple different issues. First would be not enough wraps. Some climbers like my friend use 3 wraps because he weighs 120 lbs wet where is I use 4. The more wraps the more amount of friction which means more pressure required therefore some people will use too few wraps and it can slip. Second is there are alot of variations that people may throw in or are not properly tied. Last and final that I know of.. The VT hitch needs constant downward load. If one were to climb above the hitch, say to grab a higher limb, it can unload itself unknowingly, then when the climber relies on it to hold it wont because the load has been lifted off. Basically said, if you are aware of your knot and use a stop knot like I do. It is safe. Another issue not mentioned above is sideloading and the use of double locking biners that prevent the gate from opening.
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Old 09-08-2011, 14:09   #12
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Re: Single Line Ascension Gear Check

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No problems with my Top Climber. Use a Prussik as a safety line on another halyard.

Funny you mention REI. I was going to use mountain climbing gear to get up the mast but knew nothing about it. Went down to my local REI and asked one of their employees in the climbing department to help me. He showed me the hardware I'd need and gave me a basic idea of how it worked. Somewhere along the line, it came out what I was going to use the gear for. He immediately told me he couldn't sell the gear to me, put it back on the rack, and walked away. Appears that you can score another one for the frigging attorneys. I went on line and bought the Top Climber.
The guy at REI that sold me mine thought it sounded like a great idea and he hoped I enjoyed the gear.

I think it might have been your salesperson's personal preference rather then corporate policy.

Jim
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Old 09-08-2011, 14:42   #13
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Re: Single Line Ascension Gear Check

I'm the original poster. REI doe's have a corporate ploicy against giving instruction verbaly for climbing on the retail floor, as well they should. They are very reluctant to pass on techniques unless you can talk the lingo and convince them you arn't about to kill yourself because of what they told you. I did some preliminary research to educate myself a bit and didn't try to BS the sales person. I told him what I was trying to acomplish, going up the mast and he got me set up.
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Old 09-08-2011, 15:04   #14
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Re: Single Line Ascension Gear Check

I can't imagine slowly dragging myself up the rig (or a tree) by moving knots. The authenticity is not worth it. The ascender gear is so simple and quick. Three minute to step into the harness and I'm up the rig (60') in a minute or so. And down in seconds. Hands free, legs doing the work. Safety is my hands and the descender line which I tighten thru the descender ring every dozen feet. I do use a Prussic sometimes to boost myself above the masthead by stepping in it, or while switching to the descender. If it's nasty I have a tether around the mast. The gear doesn't scratch the mast...
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Old 10-08-2011, 05:59   #15
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Re: Single Line Ascension Gear Check

Quote:
Originally Posted by saben View Post
I'm the original poster. REI doe's have a corporate ploicy against giving instruction verbaly for climbing on the retail floor, as well they should. They are very reluctant to pass on techniques unless you can talk the lingo and convince them you arn't about to kill yourself because of what they told you. I did some preliminary research to educate myself a bit and didn't try to BS the sales person. I told him what I was trying to acomplish, going up the mast and he got me set up.
You are probably correct. I knew what I wanted as well and he just told me about what they had and had no problem with selling it for use on a boat. I did not ask him how to use it or anything like that. He may have been more reluctant if I didn't already know what I needed.

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