Review Detail

Line Placement Gear--Devices
Overall rating 
Type of Use 
Frequency of Use 
Technical Skill Required 
Ease of Use 

A key enabling tool

The ratings numbers above don't quite reflect my overall judgement of this tool: it simply makes many climbs possible that would otherwise be out of the question. My climbs are about evenly divided these days between research (professional) and recreational. I can't give it a high rating for frequency of use, simply because I don't climb often enough - but it comes with me now on 90% of the climbs I do, both for research and for recreation. I've only had it since May 2007, but it so far shows no signs of wear.

I generally use this with an 8 oz. throwbag and Zing-It line; the same stuff I hand-throw with. It is not an easy tool to learn, but it nearly doubles the height of tie-in points that can be hit.

Things about using it that I've learned, mostly the hard way:

- Make sure you position the throwline pile between the big shot and the tree.

- Flake the throwline VERY carefully - re-flaking it a time or two would not be amiss - and make absolutely sure that nothing extraneous, not even a pine needle, is in the pile of line.. Line pays out very fast during a shot, and the least extra loop or piece of debris can lead to a really nasty tangle.

- It's worth the trouble to aim carefully. You'll sometimes hit shots without aiming much, but with practice you'll actually hit "windows" between branches with some deliberate aiming.

- Wear helmet and goggles. There's a lot of energy stored in a shot, and if something catches or ricochets that energy could come back at you.

It's not an easy tool to use, but it's opened up a whole world of trees that I simply couldn't enter a year ago, including all of the tall white pine trees my grad students and I have been working in for research.



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