Lanyards are short pieces of arborist rope used to temporarily hold a climber in position, climb short distances, or provide a second attachment point for safety. The lanyard is a primary climbing tool. You have to have one if you are serious about tree climbing.
When you’re in a tree, figuring out which rope is going where can be a bit confusing when your ropes are all close together. To make identification easier, it is preferable that your lanyard be a different color than your long climbing rope. Also, being able to adjust the length of your lanyard while it is loaded with your weight is very important to getting the best throwing position.
Pre-made lanyards come in a number of different configurations and lengths. Some have sewn or hand-spliced tight eyes on both ends that accept double action auto-lock carabiners. Others have locking snaps sewn in on both ends with an adjusting device. Some have a fixed mechanical ascender between the two ends, while others use a mechanical ascender and a sewn in locking snap.
The length of lanyard you use determines how versatile it is. If you use a short lanyard, say 10 feet, it will only be good for a temporary tie-in point or a close position setting. A longer lanyard, 25 feet, will permit you to climb short distances and provide you with more positioning opportunities.
If you are new to tree climbing, a homemade lanyard will do fine. A simple homemade lanyard can be made using a short piece of 11-13 mm arborist rope (10-30 feet) with an anchor knot tied at both ends to take a carabineer. Knots can then be tied (or a sliding Prussic loop can be used) to make this lanyard adjustable. Some climbers use a small mechanical ascender or an eye-to-eye tail using a friction knot to make it adjustable. As you get more skilled at tree climbing, you might want a pre-made lanyard that works more smoothly. If you are a professional tree worker, you must always use a bomb-proof setup that will provide complete safety hour after hour, day after day.
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