Climbing Ergonomics

dtreez

Member
Location
Bucks County
I've been thinking a lot recently about climbing ergonomics and the longevity of my career. Having only climbed on hitches, are mechanical devices easier on your body/joints than hitches? I have really taken notice of how much strain pulling slack through my climbing hitch and lanyard is. I am going to experiment with other hitches this week, but was wondering if that is a problem you would have at all mechanical.
 

Reach

Well-Known Member
Location
Atglen, PA
I believe mechanical devices generally take much less effort to tend, however a good hitch climber setup does not require a lot of effort unless your hitch is locked up and you’re dragging a lot of rope through it. SRT vs. DDRT however is a big difference, SRT will definitely save your body over fighting a rope with DDRT unless you’re using a friction saver for every single climb.
 

swingdude

De' Island Buzzer
Location
Barbados
I've been thinking a lot recently about climbing ergonomics and the longevity of my career. Having only climbed on hitches, are mechanical devices easier on your body/joints than hitches? I have really taken notice of how much strain pulling slack through my climbing hitch and lanyard is. I am going to experiment with other hitches this week, but was wondering if that is a problem you would have at all mechanical.
How long have you been climbing?
 

dtreez

Member
Location
Bucks County
I typically only use DRT for small trees, and then I almost always use a cambium saver.

You are right about SRT. It just takes so much less energy. Especially for ascending.

Maybe my hitch cords need to be replaced? I climb on a 5 wrap michoacan DRT and a 6 wrap knut SRT (rope wrench). I feel like most climbers only need 4 wraps, but fewer doesn't seem to hold me.
 

Jonny

Well-Known Member
Location
Buffalo
I’d fuckin love a 3/4” climb line that has the weight and performance of a 7/16”.
I was worried about my knees or hips or ankles getting me out of the tree game when I get old, but they’re fine. I think it’s gonna be my hands. I just turned 40 and after a 7 hour removal climb yesterday, I’m taking ibuprofen like they’re skittles.
 

evo

Well-Known Member
Location
My Island, WA
For me it’s my elbows and hand grip. I am pretty sure I have some specific nerve damage, as my arms fall asleep regularly at night. Specifically my pinky and ring finger while the other three digits are normal.
Three huge differences was slack tending, switching from a 200t to a 150, srt for almost anything bigger than a Apple tree.
 

Mark Chisholm

Administrator
Administrator
I've been thinking a lot recently about climbing ergonomics and the longevity of my career. Having only climbed on hitches, are mechanical devices easier on your body/joints than hitches? I have really taken notice of how much strain pulling slack through my climbing hitch and lanyard is. I am going to experiment with other hitches this week, but was wondering if that is a problem you would have at all mechanical.
Tom is right, shoulders can get smoked over time. If you come from MRS climbing and switch to SRS climbing and don't change your approach it will magnify your shoulder, wrist and tendon pain/injuries. You can't climb like you see in competition by muscling your way back in from a hard to reach spot. They do that because of a time issue and can physicallydo it, but they aren't as worried about tomorrow in that moment. You should take the time to refine your approach and not put yourself in those situations.

It's good you're thinking about this now.
 

RyTheTreeGuy

Well-Known Member
Location
Canada
I typically only use DRT for small trees, and then I almost always use a cambium saver.

You are right about SRT. It just takes so much less energy. Especially for ascending.

Maybe my hitch cords need to be replaced? I climb on a 5 wrap michoacan DRT and a 6 wrap knut SRT (rope wrench). I feel like most climbers only need 4 wraps, but fewer doesn't seem to hold me.
That seems like a lot of wraps...one pirce of advice to get away with less wraps is to twist the eyes of your hitch cord. Rotating the eyes of the hitchcord in towards the rope has helped me ditch a wrap and make tending, ascending and rapping much better on my wrench...even on the occasional MRS climb also
 

Tony

Well-Known Member
Location
Lancaster, PA
Climbing is only part of the battle. Many focus on it, which is good, but neglect the other, greater amount of time that is non climbing. Work well in all aspects. Start your chainsaws well, drag brush well. You get the point. Do the same in your leisure. Play hard, yes, but play smart. Give yourself time to recover. Don't be stupid on purpose at work or at play.

Hydrate, eat well, get enough rest. Develop an activity schedule or regularly to train muscles, joints and tendons that are antagonistic to the ones you use at work. Read, learn new things about a lot of things. Body and mind cannot be separated health in one enhances health in the other.

Tony
 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Administrator
Start your chainsaws well, drag brush well. You get the point. Do the same in your leisure. Play hard, yes, but play smart. Give yourself time to recover. Don't be stupid on purpose at work or at play.
Tony
So many small changes that pay off long term.

Size the saw to the job. Use the lightest weight saw for the job.

When you're carrying anything get a firm grip and then straighten/lower your arms so that the load is held by your bones not your muscles and soft tissues. Relax. It take soooooo much less energy to support loads on bones than muscles.
 

dtreez

Member
Location
Bucks County
So many small changes that pay off long term.

Size the saw to the job. Use the lightest weight saw for the job.

When you're carrying anything get a firm grip and then straighten/lower your arms so that the load is held by your bones not your muscles and soft tissues. Relax. It take soooooo much less energy to support loads on bones than muscles.
That makes sense. I have thought about rock climbing that way. So if you need to tend slack and hold yourself aloft, will you keep the arm holding you basically fully extended?

Also, do thicker ropes help with wrist pain? Or lighter ropes?
 

dtreez

Member
Location
Bucks County
Tom is right, shoulders can get smoked over time. If you come from MRS climbing and switch to SRS climbing and don't change your approach it will magnify your shoulder, wrist and tendon pain/injuries. You can't climb like you see in competition by muscling your way back in from a hard to reach spot. They do that because of a time issue and can physically do it, but they aren't as worried about tomorrow in that moment. You should take the time to refine your approach and not put yourself in those situations.

It's good you're thinking about this now.
That is awesome feedback.

Any advice on places to go for examples of how to work a tree SRS as opposed to how you would move in a competition? I think the only two pieces of advice I have gotten are to utilize redirects to work the tree in columns, and to set up a mechanical advantage to come back from a limb walk.
 

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
Administrator
Columns and layers

A friend of mine has done research to find how much grip strength is needed for half inch and larger as well as smaller ropes. Bare handed or grippy gloves.

Turns out above with no glove is about equal to below with gloves.
 

Mark Chisholm

Administrator
Administrator
That is awesome feedback.

Any advice on places to go for examples of how to work a tree SRS as opposed to how you would move in a competition? I think the only two pieces of advice I have gotten are to utilize redirects to work the tree in columns, and to set up a mechanical advantage to come back from a limb walk.
I would agree to both. Preplan the hard work and make it easier before you start. So much better for you.
 

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