Saved from a stupid mistake by a backup prussic

moss

Well-Known Member
#21
Great discussion, thanks for posting your report. I'm originally from a rec climbing background, I can relate to slower learning progress than daily work climbers, I climbed when I could when I started, never enough.

In my early days teaching myself to climb I realized I needed to learn some solid safety protocols from an expert and went down to Atlanta and took Peter Jenkin's TCI "basic course". One of the key safety concepts I learned is around the "switchover". A switchover is whenever you transfer yourself from one tie-in or system to another. The protocol is this: when you attach to a second system, stay clipped in to the first attachment, slack the first system and completely load up the second system, preferably feet off the tree or if they contact the tree no load bearing on your feet. Once you've verified the the second system is functional and holding your position go ahead and detach the first system.

The tricky part is that in your incident you didn't switch to a new system, but you essentially created the conditions that occur when you switch to a new system. When you climbed over the the limb, slacked, then reloaded the system you just entered into what should be a switchover protocol. At that point you would put your lanyard on a limb, and use it as your "first attachment" in the switchover protocol. A pro climber may or may not do that. They are likely doing a conscious version of the switchover protocol as they prepare to reload the system, ie: visual check of the system, gradually putting their weight back on (not jumping on it) and keeping an arm or foot solidly on the tree as they load it up.

If you consistently practice a solid switchover protocol in your climbing you will likely lose the need to have a back-up prussik above your system.
-AJ
 

evo

Well-Known Member
#22
Great discussion, thanks for posting your report. I'm originally from a rec climbing background, I can relate to slower learning progress than daily work climbers, I climbed when I could when I started, never enough.

In my early days teaching myself to climb I realized I needed to learn some solid safety protocols from an expert and went down to Atlanta and took Peter Jenkin's TCI "basic course". One of the key safety concepts I learned is around the "switchover". A switchover is whenever you transfer yourself from one tie-in or system to another. The protocol is this: when you attach to a second system, stay clipped in to the first attachment, slack the first system and completely load up the second system, preferably feet off the tree or if they contact the tree no load bearing on your feet. Once you've verified the the second system is functional and holding your position go ahead and detach the first system.

The tricky part is that in your incident you didn't switch to a new system, but you essentially created the conditions that occur when you switch to a new system. When you climbed over the the limb, slacked, then reloaded the system you just entered into what should be a switchover protocol. At that point you would put your lanyard on a limb, and use it as your "first attachment" in the switchover protocol. A pro climber may or may not do that. They are likely doing a conscious version of the switchover protocol as they prepare to reload the system, ie: visual check of the system, gradually putting their weight back on (not jumping on it) and keeping an arm or foot solidly on the tree as they load it up.

If you consistently practice a solid switchover protocol in your climbing you will likely lose the need to have a back-up prussik above your system.
-AJ
Well said
 

moss

Well-Known Member
#23
Thx, just taking everything said and tried to whittle it down to relevant essentials ;-)

This all reminds me of a situation that occurred with a rec climber with 14 years climbing experience. He also took the TCI basic course and is a strong practitioner of switchover protocols. He's a stalwart DdRT Blake's Hitch climber, he likes it simple and is no rush to do anything so 2:1 climbing system is fine. I introduced him to SRT climbing, he's been up a few times on a RADS and likes it a lot. On a recent climb he made a move where he slacked his basal anchored system and then reloaded it. I watched his surprised face as he dropped 3 feet, sliding down the trunk. Landing was soft enough when his Grigri (on the RADS) caught him, it helped that there was rope stretch available in the basal anchored setup and his upper redirect was bomber. I blame myself for not reminding him to take out the slack before reloading. Point is he completely ignored his normal protocol because he was not in his "normal" DdRT context, and didn't think he was doing a switchover. And I have so internalized taking out slack on an SRT/SRS setup I didn't even think of mentioning it to him. Good news is how resilient these systems are, to a certain point.
-AJ
 

southsoundtree

Well-Known Member
#24
Slow approaches to cat might me fast retrievals.


I never untie my HH. Just slide it.

Often I climb on 120' SRT, adding an extension rope of desired/ needed.

That's 120' for trunk-choked removal without a base-tie, or 55' for base-ties.
 
#25
Also helps when lowering onto a system to grab the tail of the lifeline (its mandatory when abseiling) and can pretty much guarantee you aren't going for long decent. Also you often must weight the tail anyway when pulling slack out of the system so is a good habit to get into rather than dropping onto a system and hoping, or relying on a backup to grab that others have already discussed.
 
#26
I have not checked into this thread in a while. One answer - yes, I use lanyards. In fact, I always have two long lanyards up with me in case I have to climb above my tie-in point (depending on how far above the tie-in I will either remain attached to the main rope or detach myself). In this case, I was only a foot above the tie-in point, still attached to the main rope, was in a hurry for no good reason, and did not use one of my lanyards to lower myself in order for my main rope to engage as I normally do - a mistake was made.

Thanks for the comments.
 
#27
Thanks for posting this mishap. I've seen some of your cat rescue video's and noticed the thimble prusik above the BDB. I climb on a BDB myself and do some cat rescues. I haven't had this happen and I'm aware of the "big top" issues so I try to be vigilant about it. Your story will hopefully stick in my mind should I find myself thinking about doing something similar.
 

ARLO

Well-Known Member
#28
I know that most arborists don't use a back-up on their multicenders, but I frequently do long SRS ascents with a handled ascender and then transition over to a D4 or RIG for the descent. For this situation I have started using a Rocker as a back-up below the handled ascender. That way if the attachment to the handled ascender fails the Rocker will catch you. I am not saying that you should use something like this with your multicenders, but it is certainly an option if you want to try it.
 
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