Do *all* climbers get great benefit from wrenches/unicenders, or is HAAS/ascenders fully sufficient for some?

eyehearttrees

New Member
Insults aren't necessary, I feel quite stupid posting this but I've listened to the Climbing Arborist podcast with Bingham like 5x now, I see all kinds of no-frills people I respect (Reg Coates) using things like a rope-wrench, and I'm still confused what the main benefit is :(

I've got an Oak with only 2 limbs under ~20' so my practice-experience is almost devoid of any real redirects (more of 'false crotch advancing' than redirecting I think) so maybe that's where rope wrench/runner // hitchhiker // sportjack // petzl items 1&2&3 // etc come into play? I ascend with a foot-ascender, and ever since I was trying to learn how to get my aluminum figure-8 into my line & switch-to it mid-line, I'd began using 2 prusiks instead of 1 (to give me the slack needed to switch mid-line from ascent to descent) and immediately stopped trying to learn rappelling with my figure 8 (still gotta practice that though!) and began getting better at my 'rhythm' using one hand on each prusik to control downward motion....I have help from my foot-ascender and my lil CMI micropulley that's right-beneath my lower prusik and automatically moves it up with me, the top prusik moves up with the same hand I'm using to hold myself in-place on the line.

My biggest complaint / hassle with moving up&down this way is having to remove / reinstall the foot-ascender...I just received my handled ascender and was thinking I'd climb with that before deciding if I even feel I need the HAAS system / knee ascender / chest-sling/tethering / the foot-loop prusik people use for their non-climbing foot, was already moving-upwards fast enough with foot ascender only and so far as switching-to & maneuvering in descent I'm just planning to make a couple different sized prusiks to get a feel for ideal relative-lengths (I think the two I'm using now are 11" apart on the climb-line, 9.3mm prusik loops on 11.7mm line, they move very very freely and bite readily & barely need tending to move again, maybe it's just that it's all brand-new rope and I'm lightweight, maybe this setup will start binding on me in short order? Would love to hear some 'drills' I could try that would make-clear the uses of a descender like an ID or Rig and/or a unicender and/or a friction-device(wrench/hitchhiker), honestly I have trouble keeping-up with which of these are used together and which would be redundant, am so often watching a video and thinking "oh I didn't realize you'd use those two *on top of* each other"!!

Thanks for any guidance, I have a great park down the street with *perfect* practice limbs that I'll be doing a more 'thorough' session at (have made a few false-crotches so I can do multiple re-directs, working on my Oak was more about getting comfortable over 10' lol am not great with heights by-nature) so any advice on what I'm missing would be great - removing ascenders is a hassle but these devices don't eliminate the use of ascenders, and my 2-prusiks setup *does* mean my descents are always going to be slow (unless I start incorporating that aluminum figure-8 into a 1-prusik + figure-8 descent setup for actually exiting a canopy, just keeping it double-prusik til then....can't help but think it's just the ropes being new & slick[blue moon] and me being such a small 'gymnast type' frame)
 

Brocky

Well-Known Member
Welcome to the Buzz! Sounds like you have a solid system that works for you. There are different mindsets between recreational climbing and doing it for work, some are interested in the process and some the end results. The benefits of more advanced gear is it makes climbing easier and faster. The figure 8 below your hitch does make for faster and smoother descending. Their is also a large selection of hitches that work better than the Prusik, if that is the friction hitch you’re using.
 

moss

Well-Known Member
Your foot ascender should be quick on/off, if you're struggling to get it on or off something's not quite right. For tools like the Rope Wrench you need to run into the limitations of DdRT or moving rope systems before you start to understand why there are significant advantages to stationary rope systems. A huge misconception around technical tree climbing is that it's all about the latest gear advancements. It is not. It's all about learning how to move and function in a tree on a rope and harness, doesn't matter what your system is.
-AJ
 

Burrapeg

Well-Known Member
The more you climb, the better idea you will get of what works for you and the more comfortable you will get with your gear. Trying different gear is instructive, especially if you can attend an event and maybe borrow stuff for a trial climb temporarily, but heed Moss's advice that the equipment alone is not the answer. Everyone is built different and what works for another may not work for you. And different trees may require different gear. I noticed right away at events that one hardly ever sees two pro climbers with the same setup. I am on my third year of rec climbing and still consider myself novice level, and I only this year have finally settled into a system that I like best for most climbs. Another consideration, for rec climbing anyway, is whether you can park not far from a tree or else have to hike a long ways. I have a choice of gear and different lengths of rope in my vehicle so that I can pick stuff on the spot to suit a situation but I keep a smaller set of kit with a lighter saddle, slightly thinner rope, etc. for long back-pack hikes. I can haul a bit more if the trail is bike-able. A real advantage, both in time and energy, is if you do not have to swap gear around between ascent and descent.
 

moss

Well-Known Member
To try and answer your question, “What’s the advantage of the rope wrench, unicender etc?”... a little background first... before working and rec climbers were climbing SRT on multicenders, if they wanted to move horizontally in a tree, for example if an arborist wanted to deadwood or prune outer branches on a wide-crowned tree, they had two basic options: do limbwalks with potentially low/unfavorable rope angles, or drop down through some upper/outer branches creating a redirect. The problem with redirects on a doubled/moving rope is that tremendous friction develops at the redirect point. It wasn’t long ago that climbers posted photos of elaborate mechanical redirect systems, involving double sheave micropulleys etc. and that was to achieve only one redirect. Stationary rope systems are frictionless on the tree, a climber can set one, two or more redirects in a row to help them get where they’re going in a tree. They can be natural crotch, mechanical or a combination, many options there. Besides helping a climber efficiently get to places in a tree that would’ve required great effort, the multiple redirects distribute the climber’s weight over several support points creating greater safety. There are more advantages to mention but what i’ve mentioned has revolutionized rope and harness tree climbing.
-AJ
 
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fall_risk

Well-Known Member
Some pics or video of your current system would help with critique. I consider moving or doubled rope technique to be the basic method of climbing that I would teach first. It's self-belay and there are no change-overs at height, both of which reduce the chance of accidents, but it's pretty important to learn from a person, in person, or failing that, to stay with a system you are comfortable with and sure of. Climbing Arborist did a great tutorial of the technique here:


As far as ascending systems, that's another plus for the MRS/DdRT system, you can ascend by hip thrusting or footlocking your tail with no additional equipment. It doesn't sound like you are climbing high/often enough yet to notice the benefits of either rope walking systems or single/static rope systems. Having said that, if you already have a food ascender and a hand ascender, you already have the components of a frog walker, which is functionally equivalent to a HAAS/SAKA-based knee ascender system:


All you need to add is a foot loop:


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moss

Well-Known Member
Just read your OP more thoroughly. Curious to know what your rope/experience background is. You seem to be using alpine/aid climbing technique. You may be making things more difficult for yourself than you need to be. I highly recommend trying a simple DdRT/moving rope system, all you need is a supple rope constructed for arborist climbing, a locking carabiner and a Blake’s Hitch. You can get all over a tree with that. It will give you ideas and point you towards more advanced tree climbing techniques.
-AJ
 

Mowerr

Well-Known Member
[QUOTE="fall_risk, post: 611579, it doesn't sound like you are climbing high/often enough yet to notice the benefits of either rope walking systems or single/static rope systems. Having said that, if you already have a food ascender..."
[/QUOTE]
I definitely recommend the food ascender too
 

fall_risk

Well-Known Member
[QUOTE="fall_risk, post: 611579, it doesn't sound like you are climbing high/often enough yet to notice the benefits of either rope walking systems or single/static rope systems. Having said that, if you already have a food ascender..."
I definitely recommend the food ascender too[/QUOTE]I have mos def been using my food ascender WAY to often...

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