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Help with Fall/Arrest Rope Setup


Original Post
Jonny Sno · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 0

I have a need for a fall/arrest system for very amateur/home climbing applications (dont ask lol). I also have the need during the same application to be able to sit back onto my harness with all of my body weight to make adjustment on the fly (not to the ropes or harness).

I initially thought I'd just use a prusik knot for the fall/arrest function, but I'm not sure if that would be appropriate for stopping mid climb and intentionally putting all my weight on the rope/harness.

Hopefully that makes sense. Any insight/tips?

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,795

Google "top rope self belay" and "toprope solo". There's a ton of info out there on this.

Jonny Sno · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 0

Should add that I will have no anchor point at any given time that is higher than my reach. I'll be ascending with nothing above me. That's why I need to protect against a fall, but also be able to put all of my weight on my harness. 

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,795
Jonny Sno wrote:

Should add that I will have no anchor point at any given time that is higher than my reach. I'll be ascending with nothing above me. That's why I need to protect against a fall, but also be able to put all of my weight on my harness. 

Is there no rope involved at all?  If you are looking at a fall of a foot or two onto some attachment point that is pretty much right in front of you, that would be a pretty harsh shock, and you should look into via ferrata setups or maybe industrial fall protection equipment.

eli poss · · Durango, Co · Joined May 2014 · Points: 442

If you will be able to have anchor points every few feet you could just continuously clip into, look into lobster claws used for challenge courses. Otherwise, we probably need more details to be able to make a good recommendation.

Here's a link to a good pair of lobster claws:

https://www.ropescoursewarehouse.com/Catalog1/advancedwebpage.aspx?cg=294&cd=3&SKUTYPE=202&SKUFLD=SKU&DM=1250&WEBID=249

Greg Shea · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 10

Clove hitch

Greg Shea · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 10

Oh actually you could also use a guide atc set up in your harness to feed and auto block when weighted, just look up lead soloing with a guide plate.

Acmesalute76 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 66

Are you tree climbing or working on your house? Why the secrecy? Are you running an illegal pot farm? 

Jonny Sno · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 0
Acmesalute76 wrote:

Are you tree climbing or working on your house? Why the secrecy? Are you running an illegal pot farm? 

Yep I'll be tree climbing on my property. 

I already have a harness, and some static 11mm rope to loop around bigger branches as well as a dynamic lanyard made from 11mm. I initially though I'd just put a prusik on the tag end of the 11mm, but I'm not sure that would be safe/appropriate for when I need to lean back and put all of my weight on the harness. 

Nathan Hui · · San Diego, CA · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

If you're tree climbing, maybe it would be worth to use tree climbing techniques of getting the rope up into the canopy using a lightweight throw line.  A throw line on Amazon runs you about $25, and puts you in a position where you don't need to be in lead fall territory in the tree.

Otherwise, my recommendation is to use a tether around the tree (basically a cheap version of the Petzl Grillion Work Positioning Lanyard as shown here: https://youtu.be/o5TT8mKUWV4?t=1m15s).  Not entirely sure how you would do it on your harness, but I would rig it to gear loops if you have fully rated gear loops, such as on a Metolius SafeTech harness (I have one, which is why I'm suggesting this method).  If you don't have fully rated gear loops, maybe throw a sling around your back?  Tie off a pair of slings to a haul loop?  Might need to be a bit creative about this.

Once you get a line up into the tree, the techniques for ascending and descending the rope are many and varied, all specialized for particular applications.  In tree climbing, people typically use either doubled rope or single rope techniques with prussiks or mechanical ascenders.  It's rare to use the sport climber's method of an assisted braking device/guide plate and a prussik to move around, since it's not that efficient.

Jonny Sno · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 0
Nathan Hui wrote:

If you're tree climbing, maybe it would be worth to use tree climbing techniques of getting the rope up into the canopy using a lightweight throw line.  A throw line on Amazon runs you about $25, and puts you in a position where you don't need to be in lead fall territory in the tree.

Otherwise, my recommendation is to use a tether around the tree (basically a cheap version of the Petzl Grillion Work Positioning Lanyard as shown here: https://youtu.be/o5TT8mKUWV4?t=1m15s).  Not entirely sure how you would do it on your harness, but I would rig it to gear loops if you have fully rated gear loops, such as on a Metolius SafeTech harness (I have one, which is why I'm suggesting this method).  If you don't have fully rated gear loops, maybe throw a sling around your back?  Tie off a pair of slings to a haul loop?  Might need to be a bit creative about this.

Once you get a line up into the tree, the techniques for ascending and descending the rope are many and varied, all specialized for particular applications.  In tree climbing, people typically use either doubled rope or single rope techniques with prussiks or mechanical ascenders.  It's rare to use the sport climber's method of an assisted braking device/guide plate and a prussik to move around, since it's not that efficient.

I've considered a tether around the tree as you mentioned and even researched the Metolius SafeTech harness. I emailed them asking what they rating on the gear loops was and they wouldn't tell me? Some sites online say 10 KN. Do you think that's enough in the event of a slip/fall when tethered around the trunk of a tree?

Additionally, is a Prusik safe enough to take 200 pounds of body weight when I have to lean away from the tree and put my weight on the harness? Or should I get an ascender?

Acmesalute76 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 66

Arborists use special harnesses with clip in points for the tether around the tree. These are usually used along with spikes. This can be used in conjunction with a rope over the tree and an ascension system. 

If you don't want to invest in special gear, you can use climbing rope ascension techniques. There are hundreds of threads and articles about this and many different ways of safely climbing a rope. 

Always use backup knots and be sure the rope is securely anchored before ascending. 

Nathan Hui · · San Diego, CA · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

The Metolius safetech harnesses have gear loops rated to 22 kN.  Even 10 kN will be enough, as you shouldn't be taking a FF1 free fall.  If you do, you've done something really wrong (as in the tree's disappeared beneath you, and then something else weird has happened so that you're falling onto a slack tether)

Yes, a properly dressed prussik will take 200 lbs of weight.  Keep in mind that it is common to protect low angle terrain with a single prussik, and that rope teams on glaciers will shorten up the rope with a prussik.  The key term here is properly dressed - a poorly dressed prussik will not necessarily grab.

Jonny Sno · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 0
Nathan Hui wrote:

The Metolius safetech harnesses have gear loops rated to 22 kN.  Even 10 kN will be enough, as you shouldn't be taking a FF1 free fall.  If you do, you've done something really wrong (as in the tree's disappeared beneath you, and then something else weird has happened so that you're falling onto a slack tether)

Yes, a properly dressed prussik will take 200 lbs of weight.  Keep in mind that it is common to protect low angle terrain with a single prussik, and that rope teams on glaciers will shorten up the rope with a prussik.  The key term here is properly dressed - a poorly dressed prussik will not necessarily grab.

Are ascenders a big step up in terms of safety from a prusik? Would an ascender be appropriate to also hold my body weight when hooked up to some static rope and then to my harness with an appropriate lanyard?

Nathan Hui · · San Diego, CA · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

It depends.

They *can* catch more consistently.  They can also shred your rope.  They can also pop off at inopportune times.

Nathan Hui · · San Diego, CA · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

Jonny, you really need to show us/describe the full system you're thinking of so we can understand exactly what you're trying to do.  There are quite literally a hundred ways to climb up into a tree with ropes.  They all use different equipment and techniques, and have different purposes and safety aspects.  It's hard to understand what you're trying to do, and equally hard to give you any advice to that end.

Gunkiemike · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 2,795
Jonny Sno wrote:

Are ascenders a big step up in terms of safety from a prusik? Would an ascender be appropriate to also hold my body weight when hooked up to some static rope and then to my harness with an appropriate lanyard?

You still haven't adequately described what the rope is attached to.  Is it in the tree above you? Or are you securing it in some way to branches as you climb? If the latter, then you are effectively lead climbing, and a static rope is NOT the right tool for the job, nor are ascenders. And for heaven's sake, stop this silly talk about clipping into the GEAR LOOPS!!

Jonny Sno · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 0

I will primarily be girth hitching around the trunk of the tree  above me with static 11mm rope. I am planning on then using either a prusik or an ascender attached to that 11mm rope. Attached to that prusik or ascender, I am thinking I will us a dynamic lanyard (LARA Lanyard - Singing Rock - http://www.singingrock.com/lara?cat=2147). One end of the lanyard will be clipped to the prusik or ascender, and the other clipped to the primary on my harness. 

The trees I will be working on for the most part do not have branches until 30+ feet up in the air. I'll be using a specialized step system as I go up (a completely different discussion). The steps are the reason I need to be able to sit back onto the harness. 

Hopefully that makes sense?

Nathan Hui · · San Diego, CA · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

Sorry for the previous (now deleted) response, I didn't read your description clearly enough.

If the rope is already anchored in the tree up high, and you don't need to move the anchor, then I would suggest using the frog SRT system.  This is a chest ascender (Petzl Croll or similar) attached to your tie in points and a chest harness to keep it up, and a hand ascender with a foot loop.  This is IMO the most efficient setup for ascending a fixed rope, with the ability to sit back and work.

If you want to be cheap about it, you can use the Texas Prussik method.  This consists of a waist prussik and a foot prussik.  You hang on the waist prussik, stand on the foot prussik, advance the waist prussik, and hang on the waist prussik, and repeat.  This also allows you to sit back in your harness, but it is slow.

You can also use a GriGri/Cinch and a prussik.  This would also allow you to ascend and descend, and sit back in your harness.

Keep in mind, none of these involve actually climbing the tree - you are now only climbing the rope.  Which happens to be next to the tree.

Jonny Sno · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 0

Here's what my proposed layout looks like when using a prusik. 

Nathan Hui · · San Diego, CA · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

Wait, how far above you is the static rope going to be anchored?  Is this system for getting your main rope up into the tree?

And what step system are you using that doesn't let you sit back and work?

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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