Addressing hitch binding with the Rope Wrench on descent

moss

Well-Known Member
#1
A few people mentioned in Reg's awesome Rope Wrench tribute thread that they were having issues with the hitch binding on descent. This thread is for brainstorming on that problem.

No one person's setup is "the only way" but let's hear what hitch/cord/configuration is working flawlessly for you.

It's worth noting that any hitch in any setup will progressively tighten for any period of time when a climber's weight is 100% on the system. Before a long descent it is helpful to redress the coils slightly looser.

Hitch cord maintenance is essential to keep it performing consistently over its life. A few years ago Todd Bremer showed me an excellent procedure to remove caked/burned polyester from the hitch cord's cover. Place the cord horizontal against the trunk of a tree with firm and moderate texture bark (think red oak/pin oak/black oak, etc.). Roll the cord up and down with both hands flat against the trunk. Move the cord from one side to the other as you roll it. Repeat until the cord is completely supple and shows very little to no burn/melted buildup. If the cord is in really bad shape it will take a bit more effort to clean it up.
-AJ
 

Steve Connally

Well-Known Member
#2
The issues.i had were reduced by changing from a VT to a Knut. Seemed to be the best bet for me. I have tried a lot of ropes and a lot of hitch cord over the process and never came 100% to the best decision. Seems that every rope and hitch cord manufacturer work different together. I used 8mm and 10mm cordage but never had a win win. On 1/2" rope it was easy but I think when you get down to the 11 or so mm ropes, they're way more finikey
 

Jem4417

Well-Known Member
#3
when you say descent do you mean bombing during a swing to get to another branch or certain spot more efficiently or like walking down the trunk?
 

moss

Well-Known Member
#4
when you say descent do you mean bombing during a swing to get to another branch or certain spot more efficiently or like walking down the trunk?
I believe the original posters in Reg's thread were talking about straight down descent. For bombing a swing hitch functionality (no binding) is even more critical, needs to be just right. Walking down a trunk takes some percentage weight off the hitch depending on lean and other variables and is less a problem for the hitch. So overall I think we're talking about 100% climber weight (or greater in a dynamic swing situation) on the rope, no leg support from the tree.
-AJ
 

moss

Well-Known Member
#5
Jem4417 question for you, do you slightly redress/loosen the coils just before you do a swing/jump on the wrench?
-AJ
 

rope-a-dope

Well-Known Member
#6
I have only wrenched on two Yale lines, arrowfrog and kernmaster. An important factor to keep in mind is the ratio of diameter between climb lines and hitch cord. Hitches really tend to get too tight if they are more than 2 mm thinner than the climbing line. I think 2 mm is the optimal difference. I haven't found that the knot matters so much as long as the line and hitch are really compatable.
 

oceans

Well-Known Member
#7
If the hitch is being operated by pressing down on the top coil alone, that essentially pushes slack further down into the hitch, making it bind tighter at the top.

Two of the best things a climber can do to prevent hitch bind-up is to;
1)Use a brake hand below the hip to modulate friction, and/or...
2)Grab the hitch by as many coils your mitt can muster, given the amount of heat you're willing to feel, etc.

This is why I appreciate the Michoacan when it's tied well. Lots of nicely wrapped coils to hold, and when you use one or both technique, the tension stays far more even throughout the coils due to your hand sort of holding everything in place.

Try it. Observe, Grasshopper. IT WORKS!
 
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Reg

Well-Known Member
#8
I use 6 wraps on a VT.....which might be a little tight for some when advancing or slack tending....but at least the configuration is always correct and decents are very smooth and predictable.

Couple years now I've used samson velocity climb line. 10mm ocean works great as a hitch cord, when it's new and supple....but it doesn't stay new for long. Tennex was probably the best for me, but I don't think you can buy it for that purpose anymore.....perhaps because of its low heat resistance. I weigh about 155.....not sure if that makes a difference.
 

Jem4417

Well-Known Member
#9
I keep mine pretty loose. I use 9.3 epi on 11 mil htp in a 4 wrap michoacan with a tiny x ring above my hitch and below my wrench. It only takes slight pressure to prepare for a swinging decent. The hitch can get tight but under normal conditions it's never a problem
 
#11
I'm a big fan of the knut for SRT and distel for dDRT. I find both work for almost any size climber and with and rope combination. from my understanding, they are very similar, both using a half hitch to take most of the weight. its important to re-tie both these hitches, try not to leave a hitch on a rope for several climbs OR over a long period of time. The memory of the hitch can affect wear at the half hitch and overall lifespan
 

moss

Well-Known Member
#13
Yeah, when you leave your hitch on the rope all the time it gets polished up pretty quick. If you like the way a hitch performs in that state it's all good. I like a cord supple and not polished.
-AJ
 

moss

Well-Known Member
#14
Oceans, the way you describe gripping the hitch is much the same as the way Mr. Bingham describes holding the Rope Runner and thinks of it as working a clutch. In this case, runner or wrench it actually makes sense to ride the clutch!
-AJ
 

JontreeHI

Well-Known Member
#15
I'm not so concerned about rope diameter vs hitch cord diameter-I've messed around with it enough for myself that I'm comfortable with the idea that it isn't as crucial as we think.
I would also suggest that 8mm cord will be more likely to bind up than 10 mm.
So for me, it's ocean poly 10 mil on Yale 11.7, cougar, blaze/bandit/velocity/htp11. Or HRC (8mm),which I love in dry conditions but will bind up when fatigued.
My hypothesis is, fatter cord, more friction per wrap, less binding
Not even delving into climber weight/knot variables.
 

JeffGu

Well-Known Member
#18
I would also suggest that 8mm cord will be more likely to bind up than 10 mm.
When I decided to try SRT, several people on here suggested that to me. I've found they were right... I have good luck with 9mm and 10mm cord, but the 8mm only really worked on the KM Max rope. It binds up easily. I now use the 9mm on the KM Max and 10mm on everything else. The 8mm cords work great, though, as a lanyard adjuster... :)
 

JeffGu

Well-Known Member
#20
Hmmm.. with sewn eyes, I bet 6mm would be a really nice fit on the pulley. *sigh* Another TS order... :raro2:
Thanks. I'm going to try it! How does the Reep Schnur hold up as a lanyard?
 
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