Tree failure, while I was climbing it.

colb

Well-Known Member
This is a system I’ve started working on that has some redundancies included.
View attachment 61430View attachment 61431

The left, starting at the bottom, has a load release hitch from the carabiner to the shock absorber plate. This plate is the main release, that will let its short rope slide through if there is a constant load, without the climber having to activate it. I need to make a large aluminum Cinch Samaritan above the lanyard hitch to push it off the end of the lanyard, as another way to escape the system.
The other system is a 4mm lanyard to use only as a position holder while advancing the other system. It’s connected to a releasable hook and bracket used on sailing, which will attach to the harness.
Not completed, but shows the basic concepts.
I'll be honest, @Brocky I don't understand your voodoo half the time, but I think I like it. That plate looks like it has a lot of friction, as set up. you could take a wrap or two off, right? I like how the bag prevents the end of the rope from flailing about and getting tangled. I'm not sure I get the Cinch Samaritan thing. Knowing you a bit, I'm guessing that 1.) you don't put yourself in situations where you might need this setup - it's extremely precautionary, 2.) you actually climb with it, and 3.) you have not done any empirical testing on it so the amount and duration of force exerted are not known. Does that sum things up?

So, technically, a mechanical multicender (akimbo, rr, bdb) on a lanyard without a stopper could be construed as a "breakaway" lanyard. I would initially advocate against that because that is a lot of line that has to get through without getting whipped and tangled on something, and also one would have to pay attention to the fact that there is no stopper. Considering that we always have stoppers, I'm not sure that that is a good thing for me to try to remember over the course of a long climb. Might be okay for a top pop though...
 

39Buick

Well-Known Member
Been following this thread and have to thank all who have posted and special thanks to @RBJtree for sharing his experience. Glad your ok and all ended well.
Just wanted to add a link on a very good deal on the book by @Tom Dunlap 's friend.
I ordered myself a copy this afternoon!
 

rico

Well-Known Member
A keychain biner. it will hold you easily in work position but will snap if anything fails. I will quit using it now like I did before a few years back when it was suggested on hazardous trees. I never had any tree fail though. Because of precautions and inspection.
A keychain biner? You gotta be fucking kidding me!

Do you guys that climb with a breakaway use it all the time or just on certain trees?
 

climbstihl

Well-Known Member
Been following this thread and have to thank all who have posted and special thanks to @RBJtree for sharing his experience. Glad your ok and all ended well.
Just wanted to add a link on a very good deal on the book by @Tom Dunlap 's friend.
I ordered myself a copy this afternoon!
Damnit, I was just at their store and warehouse. I would've gotten it if I knew about it. Great company btw.
 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Administrator
Years before TreeBuzz break away lanyards were discussed. Same concerns, all valid, same/similar, solutions.

Slip to fail or break to fail. Must be automatic and passive, meaning it's triggered or released without the climber being involved

Both ends of the breakaway must have breakaways. THere is a real risk of the lanyard ends whipping..ouch! I'd look really hard at padding ends with foam, remove snaps and hardware.

My use of a breakaway in the 20 or so years of knowing about them...zero...never. There are some plastic shower curtain rings in a ditty bag, been there for 20+ years too.
 

swingdude

De' Island Buzzer
A keychain biner? You gotta be fucking kidding me!

Do you guys that climb with a breakaway use it all the time or just on certain trees?
Hardly ever. but have on shit I did not want to be tied into. Not often at all. I am dying with laughter at your reaction though because now it truly seems silly. Honestly cannot remember the last time I used it. But I know I have.
 

Brocky

Well-Known Member
I'll be honest, @Brocky I don't understand your voodoo half the time, but I think I like it. That plate looks like it has a lot of friction, as set up. you could take a wrap or two off, right? I like how the bag prevents the end of the rope from flailing about and getting tangled. I'm not sure I get the Cinch Samaritan thing. Knowing you a bit, I'm guessing that 1.) you don't put yourself in situations where you might need this setup - it's extremely precautionary, 2.) you actually climb with it, and 3.) you have not done any empirical testing on it so the amount and duration of force exerted are not known. Does that sum things up?
The Kisa needs the correct size cord or rope for the weight of the climber. A 8mm poly core, Technora cover cord works for me, it has enough friction to hold just my weight, slightly more and it slips. I used it for a number of years when first starting SRT on HTP. When set up right, with a sudden drop, the climber slowly comes to a gentle stop.

If the Kisa and load release hitch failed, a large CS would allow the lanyard hitch to be released fully, hopefully not burning your hand, this is the second to last option, because of the length. The last is a easily accessible knife.
 

evo

Well-Known Member
Is the breakaway lanyard in fact another level of security, or is it just another potential point of failure that a climber needs to worry about. I myself would never choose to climb on a flip-line that had the high likelihood of "breaking-away" while I was working a tree. Fuck that. Instead I choose to use sound judgement, devise a solid game plan, and to do the work necessary that ensures that the trunk failure that RBJ experienced (no offense RBJ), or a barber-chair is never allowed to happen.
But would you have a high tie in, on the tree beside, then swing over to make the cut. The only role of the (break away) is to aid in work positioning?
 
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RBJtree

Well-Known Member
@RBJtree I've followed this thread and held back from commenting. Its very easy to sit here and come to conclusions that might not be accurate and judgements that are wrong. Bottom line, it looks like you got lucky...even though you knew the lead was decayed and hollow.

My questions for you were meant to find out what you did before putting yourself at risk. None of what I asked is new or cutting edge. They have been discussed and taught for many, many years.

You suggested that I do your homework for you and put up links to more information. Are you serious? Mark and I started TreeBuzz to be a repository of shared knowledge. Every one of my questions is answered many times over. Take time and educate yourself so that next time you're faced with this situation you have many solutions...not just one.

Here...I'll give you a clue for one solution, using the search you can read about it in more depth.

If a tree is inaccessible to a lift or crane consider hiring a scaffold company to erect scaffolding for access. Its not expensive and can take some odd shapes not just vertical.

My friend Pete Donzelli was smart. He had a doctorate in biomechanical engineering. He's been through many modules of Arbormaster training and competed too. What he didn't have was the depth and nuanced knowledge of tree structure. If he would have known what the thump of his spikes in the trunk meant on his climb above the decay he would have chosen a different solution. He didn't know what it meant...and he died. YOu got lucky..this time.

Pete's contribution to our profession isn't as evident now. It's 'common knowledge'. In a generation prior you and many others would know his name. Now, his name isn't recognized.

Get hold of his book...the name is perfect:

The Art and Science of Practical Rigging [ASPRn]

Then read it...along with following up on your own by going through the archives here or Google. Along the way you'll follow the path of knowledge in some amazing rabbit holes.

Pete made up tree climbing action figures...this is Pete under the guidance of my cat Scourge...notice the Silky Zubat! Made from a wooden matchstick and the corrugated
tear off from saran wrap

View attachment 61436
I am going to do my best to respond to each of your statements in order. For the sake of organization and better communicating.
First, you didn't state your questions honestly asking if I had done these things. You made the assumptions near the end of your first post that I had not done these things.
Second, you said I want you to do my homework for me. That is ridiculous. I asked a guy, you, who claims authority to suggest a good source for info. Not just for me, but for anyone reading this thread now or in the future, members or guests. Remember, for every member you see on here, there are 100 people who never sign up and read these threads. I thought a guy with your experience and knowledge, training, time studying, seat on the board for ansi, would be able to suggest a reliable source for tree hazard assessment. It doesn't matter how long these practices have been used, it matters who needs to learn them. There are plenty of guys like myself who grew up in the tree bussiness being "trained" by people who knew just enough to get by and who themselves had no "good" training. We only know what we are exposed to. I have been working hard to make my company safer and more professional by doing my homework. If you are not willing to contribute in a meaningful way, then by all means don't, but don't mis-characterize my statements to justify it. And for the record, there were no outward signs of decay, I knew it was hollow by the sound it made when my spikes hit it.
"Take time to educate yourself", what do you think I am doing on this site? Why do you think I am asking questions? Seriously? I already have multiple options on how to deal with dangerous trees. As I stated before, I made a mistake evaluating the level of decay on this tree. I has happened to some of the best and me too. That mistake could have killed me. I AM lucky. I hope my experience can serve as a warning to others who might read this thread. I am certainly not at the pinnacle of knowledge and have never made myself out to be so.
Scaffolding ay? Never thought of that. I would not have done that with this tree, better ways to skin the cat, in my opinion. Obviously not the way I choose, but another.
So, I get the feeling you have something against me. So be it. You are the only commenter on this thread who has not said they are glad I wasn't injured or killed. Thats fine. Maybe you think I am a hack and Pete was better than me. Maybe he should have lived. I don't know you. I didn't know Pete. I did a little research on him and his accident after you mentioned him. Its a damn shame of course.
 

swingdude

De' Island Buzzer
As for me. I always thought the breakaway lanyard was a good concept. I am not sure where or when I decided this. Anyway I have now reevaluated it. I will not be incorporating it any longer. There are other ways. Climbing hazardous trees is just not worth it to me these days. I can easily walk. Nothing to prove and the money is useless if I am.not around.
 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Administrator
First..I have nothing 'against' you at all. Furthest thing from my mind.

There are many books and articles available about hazard trees and assessment. I have no way of archiving a list of my sources after so long. Its too easy to use Google or some search function to find information. When I have a reference at my finger tips I always share it. When I don't I expect that anyone reading will do their own research or not.

YOu got caught short somehow and were lucky enough to have a story to tell. I'm so glad for that. Pete taught me a lesson from dying. Learn...pay attention to clues...be better prepared.
 

rico

Well-Known Member
Hardly ever. but have on shit I did not want to be tied into. Not often at all. I am dying with laughter at your reaction though because now it truly seems silly. Honestly cannot remember the last time I used it. But I know I have.
Yea the breakaway lanyard is one of the silliest fucking ideas I have ever heard of. My flipline is my security blanket and no matter what is going on I know I can always count on it to keep me safe and secure. To intentionally compromise its integrity seems insane to me, but thats just me.
 

southsoundtree

Well-Known Member
Is the breakaway lanyard in fact another level of security, or is it just another potential point of failure that a climber needs to worry about. I myself would never choose to climb on a flip-line that had the high likelihood of "breaking-away" while I was working a tree. Fuck that. Instead I choose to use sound judgement, devise a solid game plan, and to do the work necessary that ensures that the trunk failure that RBJ experienced (no offense RBJ), or a barber-chair is never allowed to happen.
A thousand zip-ties will not break before you, I'd bet.

A hundred zip-ties will probably not break before you, I'd still bet.

20?

A person can easily start with one zip-tie and test the holding power, several times. Then test two, three, etc.


If I'm using a break-away, I have cleared the swing-back area of any stubs/ problems, and will possibly have 2 SRT lines. The tails can be held/ tied to prevent swinging back toward the TIP. With a HH, you're still free to move on an SRT line, with tail-tension, allowing some angling-rope options.
 

Mitch Hoy

Active Member
Breakaway is just for positioning. Never life support. There are plenty of trees I will climb with an overhead or two, but some I don’t like the idea of attaching my life to. Hence the breakaway.

It’s mostly a psychological aide in situations. In reality, most failures are not total or catastrophic. Our reptilian brains like us to imagine tree failures involving dynamite and forces that chart on the Richter scale, but in reality trees fail fiber by fiber until they come to rest. How dynamic that is depends widely. On the spectrum of how spectacular it can be, I would say that RJB’s experience is an outlier, but an important event to consider.

I think the breakaway is a valid tool, but should be used with extreme caution. I have only used one a handful of times. I think it’s more important to consider every variable, and pay attention to experience. Walking away is an important option too.

$.02
 

Bango Skank

Well-Known Member
The scaffolding idea is a good one if you’ve run out of options. Never heard of using that for trees, but I’ll keep it in mind since some folks around here seem to be waiting for their dead EAB ash to spontaneously come back to life.

The breakaway talk was scaring the shit outa me at first, but I get it I think. As long as you’re tied in overhead to something strong, you might go for a surprise swing... providing the breakaway works right. Make that tied in twice to something else that ain’t gonna fail if cutting, and really what else would one be doing up there?

Does ANSI got a standard on that? I’ll be fuckin floored if they do.

Duly noted and all but I’ll still probably never use it. It’d take a pretty stupid amount of cash anyways. If something is that sketchy, I bid too much or straight up say no thank you.
 

evo

Well-Known Member
The scaffolding idea is a good one if you’ve run out of options. Never heard of using that for trees, but I’ll keep it in mind since some folks around here seem to be waiting for their dead EAB ash to spontaneously come back to life.

The breakaway talk was scaring the shit outa me at first, but I get it I think. As long as you’re tied in overhead to something strong, you might go for a surprise swing... providing the breakaway works right. Make that tied in twice to something else that ain’t gonna fail if cutting, and really what else would one be doing up there?

Does ANSI got a standard on that? I’ll be fuckin floored if they do.

Duly noted and all but I’ll still probably never use it. It’d take a pretty stupid amount of cash anyways. If something is that sketchy, I bid too much or straight up say no thank you.
The standard is something along the lines of, "Watch our for your own ASS"
 
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