Rope on rope friction

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
As I've said, I tried for a climbing season to find a rope/rope [RR] combo that would release going up but not lock when descending. Nothing worked quite right. Then, along comes the Unicender so I stopped that discovery.

Now with the Rope Wrench and Surveyor's Dogbone there is new life in this approach. Then...along come's Muggs and sets up back in our seats! Go Big and Go Up!

Here's a story that was told to me by a couple of friends in Europe. They were working on a treejob and noticed that a pedestrian had stopped to watch them. They could tell that the observer was interested because the weather was ugly, rainy/cold. When they got on the ground the observer walked over to chat with them. It turns out that this was Franz Bachmann, the inventor of the Bachmann Hitch. If you don't know what this is go to Google or Storrick's site and learn.

FB told my arbo friends that he could see that they understood how RR worked! This was very much an example of synchronicity!

FB has a website with some great info:

Arbos seem to have stayed with RR systems when the rest of the rope world has gone to mechanical. For arbos there are lots of solutions that can be met using RR. In the past there haven't been rope tools that solve the problems as well. The Uni does as a stand alone but has a few [acceptable to me] quirks.

Arbos have climbed on RR since climbers went into trees with saddle and rope. There is a tradition and body of knowledge that has grown for our unique place off the ground. Now...with SRT its time to go to the next step. I'm confident that the quirks and shortcomings of RR SRT will be solved and accepted. My regret is that I'm not climbing every day to be able to do more field testing :(


Well-Known Member
This is a great thread Tom and I appreciate you starting it.

I will be field testing “The Muggs System” out very soon with different cordage to see how it works.

Does anyone know if they make a heat resistant 1/2" split tail? I don’t think that there is one out there.
I have been looking and have found no supplier of 1/2 inch heat resistant split tail. I believe Muggs setup using kmIII is probably one of the best combos.

I realize this is used mainly for the eye of a split tail..but the manufacturer says you can apply it to parts of rope that take alot of abrassion.

Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree...


Well-Known Member
The whole 5/8" thing for me grew out of a few different factors, starting in 2009 after playing around with the F8-Revolver setup:

1. I had never liked DdRT, way more overcomplicated and limiting than I wanted. It was obvious to me that SRT was the future and was clearly superior.
2. I had never liked 1/2" rope, never felt big enough in my hand.
3. I hated climbing with gloves on, except in the winter, but even then it was just to keep my fingers from freezing.
4. I loved the simplicity and elegance of just a hitch on a rope. It is just so perfect for tree work with our constant ups and downs, and I didn't want to get into mechanical doodads. The simplest solution is usually the best solution and I still believe the simplest solution is just a hitch on a rope, nothing else comes close.

Don't get me wrong, if I was a caver or a rock climber I would definitely go with the smallest diameter rope that would work for me. If I was just descending all day or just using the rope as a backup in case of a fall, I would think that 5/8" rope was way too big and just silly. If I could find a 3/8" rope that was life support rated and would work with my hardware then I would use that because it would be nice and light and get the job done.

But I really see tree work as so different from all the other rope disciplines out there. The demands that we place on our climbing systems are unique and I believe that we need to approach our systems from a unique angle, not simply copy what other rope disciplines are using. We need to embrace what makes us different from every other rope profession.

All that being said, I have no hidden agenda here, I have no product to sell. I am simply saying that for me, climbing with a 1/2" split tail on 5/8" rope in an SRT setup works, and it works really well. I am not trying to convert anyone. If someone else wants to try it, go ahead and try it. If you think its silly or that 5/8" rope weighs too much, then don't try it. That doesn't keep me from doing what I do. I am having a blast climbing with this setup and I highly recommend it but at the end of the day it is just personal preference. Also, I am not using this setup to climb 300ft monsters, most of the trees in my area are between 50-100 ft tall with spready canopies.

Get High, Climb Trees.