Ideal Multicender

Dan Cobb

Well-Known Member
Location
Hoover
I'm pondering a new type of multicender based on a principle different from what is currently available. I've never used a multicender, but it seems like desirable attributes include:
Reasonably small and light
Mid-line attachable with no disassembly
No potential for free fall
Easy tending during ascent and branch walks
Integral chest roller (device easily clips on/off a chest harness while climber is on the device)
Easy way to disable descent function (for safety while working)
Replaceable wear surfaces (at reasonable cost) or very long service life
Compatible with a variety of ropes without adjustment
Smooth operation on pitchy ropes
No or little sit back
Easily modulated descent speed
Suitable for SRS and MRS
Are their other attributes I've missed? How important is a swivel on the main connection? (I already know it should cost less than $20 and spit out a cheeseburger at lunch time!)
 

Mark Chisholm

Administrator
Administrator
I'm pondering a new type of multicender based on a principle different from what is currently available. I've never used a multicender, but it seems like desirable attributes include:
Reasonably small and light
Mid-line attachable with no disassembly
No potential for free fall
Easy tending during ascent and branch walks
Integral chest roller (device easily clips on/off a chest harness while climber is on the device)
Easy way to disable descent function (for safety while working)
Replaceable wear surfaces (at reasonable cost) or very long service life
Compatible with a variety of ropes without adjustment
Smooth operation on pitchy ropes
No or little sit back
Easily modulated descent speed
Suitable for SRS and MRS
Are their other attributes I've missed? How important is a swivel on the main connection? (I already know it should cost less than $20 and spit out a cheeseburger at lunch time!)
Sounds like a good start!
 

ATH

Well-Known Member
Location
Ohio
I'm looking forward to the new Unicender...it may come real close. But I heard they couldn't get the hamburger: sesame seeds kept plugging things up (and they didn't want second rate burger buns with no sesame seeds!), so it will be pizza instead.

I don't think a swivel on the device is critical as there are good options to have it on your bridge.
 

Dan Cobb

Well-Known Member
Location
Hoover
In addition to these two attributes, a powered up feature would be nice. :ROFLMAO:
I briefly considered the possibility of a device with the option of using a cordless drill as the motive source for powered ascent. (Have a socket on the device that could be turned by a drill with a driver bit.) But then I figured there's not much demand for that, especially because you'd have a drill tethered to you while working. Didn't even do the calculations to see how far a typical drill could advance a climber. For me, climbing rope "manually" just isn't a big deal. I know your comment was made jokingly, but is there any market for powered ascent?
 

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
Location
Evansville
I briefly considered the possibility of a device with the option of using a cordless drill as the motive source for powered ascent. (Have a socket on the device that could be turned by a drill with a driver bit.) But then I figured there's not much demand for that, especially because you'd have a drill tethered to you while working. Didn't even do the calculations to see how far a typical drill could advance a climber. For me, climbing rope "manually" just isn't a big deal. I know your comment was made jokingly, but is there any market for powered ascent?
If you really want to look into it, check out the diy ascenders thread. I think there are two or three threads. One is called "lazy or clever?" (I think) its a powered ascender, powered by a cordless drill. Works pretty well, when I use one it is for initial ascent only, so having a drill on you isn't bad since you don't move through the canopy with it.
 

moss

Well-Known Member
I highly recommend trying some of the current multicenders, it will fine-tune your thinking as to what if anything more is needed. Adjustable Compact Bulldog Bone is close to perfection on many levels. It weighs more than the other leading contenders. The ZK-2 Rope Wrench is still unparalleled in overall light weight and simple clean/effective function. Akimbo is a thing of art, was never disappointed riding on one. The original Rope Runner is my go to for a non-hitch multicender, lightweight, highly functional etc. Rope Runner Pro solves the midline attachability issue. In real world use midline attachability is not a must-have feature, a convenience on rare occasions. The Hitchhiker and all its variants has its own cult following. To go one better now is going to take some serious time and work.
-AJ
 
Last edited:

Dan Cobb

Well-Known Member
Location
Hoover
If you really want to look into it, check out the diy ascenders thread. I think there are two or three threads. One is called "lazy or clever?" (I think) its a powered ascender, powered by a cordless drill. Works pretty well, when I use one it is for initial ascent only, so having a drill on you isn't bad since you don't move through the canopy with it.
Thanks, I checked out that thread. Seems like the powered devices are not really what I consider a multicender though. Don't quite meet the "reasonably compact and light" criterion. I am interested in why you want to use a powered ascender. To me, it seems like the benefit doesn't offset the hassle. Rope walking just seems too easy to need a powered alternative. Granted, I take some breaks on long ascents (200-600 ft; obviously not in trees, in caves) but have never felt the need for a powered device.
 

Dan Cobb

Well-Known Member
Location
Hoover
I highly recommend trying some of the current multicenders, it will fine-tune your thinking as to what if anything more is needed. Adjustable Compact Bulldog Bone, is close to perfection on many levels. It weighs more than the other leading contenders. The ZK-2 Rope Wrench is still unparalleled in overall light weight and simple clean/effective function. Akimbo is a thing of art, was never disappointed riding on one. The original Rope Runner is my go to for a non-hitch multicender, lightweight, highly functional etc. Rope Runner Pro solves the midline attachability issue. In real world use midline attachability is not a must-have feature, a convenience on rare occasions. The Hitchhiker and all its variants has its own cult following. To go one better now is going to take some serious time and work.
-AJ
I would love to try out all the various devices, but can't really afford to buy and try. Coming from a long background in caving and technical rescue, I find the evolution of arborist techniques and devices fascinating. Having always climbed SRT, the original DdRT stuff seems brutal. It seems like most of the advances to the current state have been incremental improvements. The rope wrench solved a problem by letting you "take the branch with you." The zigzag replaced the friction hitch with a mechanical device. (Can't figure out why they haven't made a version for SRT that doesn't require an auxiliary device.) The rope runner, akimbo and bulldog bone seem to be along the lines of twin, stacked rope wrenches. I think the unicender and OAR are innovative. I think of them as collapsible rappel racks. Having said all that, I started thinking about what a multicender might be like, starting from a blank sheet, rather than trying to improve on existing devices. I think that shedding the constraints of trying to make an improved "device X" can lead to novel solutions. I agree that besting the available devices won't be easy.
 

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
Location
Evansville
Thanks, I checked out that thread. Seems like the powered devices are not really what I consider a multicender though. Don't quite meet the "reasonably compact and light" criterion. I am interested in why you want to use a powered ascender. To me, it seems like the benefit doesn't offset the hassle. Rope walking just seems too easy to need a powered alternative. Granted, I take some breaks on long ascents (200-600 ft; obviously not in trees, in caves) but have never felt the need for a powered device.
Definitely not a multicender, I use my runner and unicender for that on SRT and zigzag on doubled. You mentioned a drill powered ascender, which is why I suggested the thread.

I really bought it to play around. I've used it maybe 10-12 times and use a rope walker primarily for ascent.
 

RyanCafferky

Well-Known Member
I highly recommend trying some of the current multicenders, it will fine-tune your thinking as to what if anything more is needed. Adjustable Compact Bulldog Bone is close to perfection on many levels. It weighs more than the other leading contenders. The ZK-2 Rope Wrench is still unparalleled in overall light weight and simple clean/effective function. Akimbo is a thing of art, was never disappointed riding on one. The original Rope Runner is my go to for a non-hitch multicender, lightweight, highly functional etc. Rope Runner Pro solves the midline attachability issue. In real world use midline attachability is not a must-have feature, a convenience on rare occasions. The Hitchhiker and all its variants has its own cult following. To go one better now is going to take some serious time and work.
I would love to try out all the various devices, but can't really afford to buy and try. Coming from a long background in caving and technical rescue, I find the evolution of arborist techniques and devices fascinating. Having always climbed SRT, the original DdRT stuff seems brutal. It seems like most of the advances to the current state have been incremental improvements. The rope wrench solved a problem by letting you "take the branch with you." The zigzag replaced the friction hitch with a mechanical device. (Can't figure out why they haven't made a version for SRT that doesn't require an auxiliary device.) The rope runner, akimbo and bulldog bone seem to be along the lines of twin, stacked rope wrenches. I think the unicender and OAR are innovative. I think of them as collapsible rappel racks. Having said all that, I started thinking about what a multicender might be like, starting from a blank sheet, rather than trying to improve on existing devices. I think that shedding the constraints of trying to make an improved "device X" can lead to novel solutions. I agree that besting the available devices won't be easy.
Without testing and understanding the existing devices you won't understand the problems or you will be much more likely to repeat existing patterns and problems. Also, without climbing DDRT you won't fully appreciate the versatility, fluidity, and functionality of that climbing method. A device needs to be built for ascent and decent but just as much for the nuanced micro movements up down and around.
 

ATH

Well-Known Member
Location
Ohio
Has anybody heard anymore on the new Unicender? I saw the prototype at TCIA in Pittsburg (Nov 2019). I called Rock Exotica early last fall to ask and they said maybe summer 2021... I'm not gonna hold my breath because:
A) The Akibo was "3 months away" for 3 years.
B) with Covid, everything is way behind schedule.
 

moss

Well-Known Member
I would love to try out all the various devices, but can't really afford to buy and try. Coming from a long background in caving and technical rescue, I find the evolution of arborist techniques and devices fascinating. Having always climbed SRT, the original DdRT stuff seems brutal. It seems like most of the advances to the current state have been incremental improvements. The rope wrench solved a problem by letting you "take the branch with you." The zigzag replaced the friction hitch with a mechanical device. (Can't figure out why they haven't made a version for SRT that doesn't require an auxiliary device.) The rope runner, akimbo and bulldog bone seem to be along the lines of twin, stacked rope wrenches. I think the unicender and OAR are innovative. I think of them as collapsible rappel racks. Having said all that, I started thinking about what a multicender might be like, starting from a blank sheet, rather than trying to improve on existing devices. I think that shedding the constraints of trying to make an improved "device X" can lead to novel solutions. I agree that besting the available devices won't be easy.
If all tree climbers had to do was go up and down lines multicenders wouldn’t have been invented. Hitch based DdRT systems actually worked well for the majority of tree work situations and rec climbing, the multicenders just made it better. There are a lot of tree climbers out there still climbing DdRT.

You have an excellent chance to network with climbers in your area and try out some different systems, rec climbing forum on the ’Buzz is open 24/7 ;-)
-AJ
 

Acerxharlowii

Well-Known Member
Location
Milwaukee
I highly recommend trying some of the current multicenders, it will fine-tune your thinking as to what if anything more is needed. Adjustable Compact Bulldog Bone is close to perfection on many levels. It weighs more than the other leading contenders. The ZK-2 Rope Wrench is still unparalleled in overall light weight and simple clean/effective function. Akimbo is a thing of art, was never disappointed riding on one. The original Rope Runner is my go to for a non-hitch multicender, lightweight, highly functional etc. Rope Runner Pro solves the midline attachability issue. In real world use midline attachability is not a must-have feature, a convenience on rare occasions. The Hitchhiker and all its variants has its own cult following. To go one better now is going to take some serious time and work.
-AJ
U forgot about the z-runner. Lol
 

Bart_

Well-Known Member
Location
GTA
Rope friction is a fickle beast. Whether you bend, squeeze or pinch, the variation of rope is difficult to accommodate particularly in the face of different climber weights. Even worn rope vs new rope, let alone contamination or water/rain. High gain systems with a feather touch are considered jerky while low gain systems can be criticized as too hard to modulate. Where are you, Goldilocks? We seek the Grail that is Holy, But you better be pure of heart and look away when the German dude opens the box or you'll melt... :)
 

Dan Cobb

Well-Known Member
Location
Hoover
To create friction for descent, the rappel rack is approaching ideal in my opinion. Modulation of friction is easily managed to accommodate wildly different conditions. They work well on very supple ropes and ropes so stiff you can barely knot them. Dry ropes, wet ropes, ropes covered in mud. Single rope and double rope. Thin ropes and fat ropes. Slick rope and furry rope. Short rappels and rappels of over 1/2 mile. Little climbers and 2 person loads. I see the big challenge to be creating a device with great descent characteristics which instantly and effortlessly converts to negligible friction when moved upward.
 

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