Reviews written by Miko Del Giudice
|27 results - showing 1 - 10||1 2 3|
DMM Shield - freaky how light yet strong it is.
Both the Shadow and the Shield could easily get 5 stars for safety. I just throw the 3 in there as a nod to the ANSI crowd, and the fact that we tree climbers don't often use non-locking carabiners for life support situations.
Remember that mountain climbers, however, use these things all the time for critical applications. These things are SAFE. But why not use the auto-block if it's hanging right there?
Anyway, the Shield is easily my MOST used piece of tree gear ever, because I have one I use as a key ring - every single day! Seriously though, as a no-snag biner it's tops. This is the one that is usually on the end of my MS-200T lanyard ring. DMM makes a superior product. You can't believe how light this carabiner is. Truly a marvel of engineering. The no-snag gate is ingenious as well, not what you'd expect.
I have used these for 5 or more years in work applications. I always reach for one when I want a quick, easy, dependable connection.
DMM Shadow - get it now.
One of the best no-snag carabiners I have ever used. Gate is big enough to be versatile in a lot of situations. Gauge is thick and round enough to be good for medium duty pulling operations. Spring action is tight and very positive.
When you need a biner for utility, non-locking applications, you can't do much better. Finish is as smooth as liquid silk. But then again, I have come to expect that from DMM. I love that company.
Kids version of this is really super
Got the children's version of this harness for my daughter. I believe this review to be on topic because it looks identical.
She was four at the time, I think. She only had one frustrating attempt at the technique of climbing. By her second time she was throwing the knot and making progress. Now she's six and she climbs in comfort with this saddle, and she's good at it. You have to add your own screw link to the kid's saddle, if I remember correctly. I used a triangle screw link.
I adjusted the distance (made it longer) to the friction knot by adding a steel oval link between the factory D ring and the carabiner with the Schwab. Those xtra couple of inches are just right. Any kind of rope bridge is way too long.
She climbs with me now and again, and never once has complained of any discomfort. I purchased the XS size. I believe it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $120. Money well spent. Me and my little one enjoy great days outside together, climbing in safety and comfort. I use a blue tenex eye-to-eye made into a Schwabisch prusik for her, and Safety-Pro climbing line. I find it this to be a most grippy combination, totally stable with no chance of unwanted slippage under any circumstances. Yet still easy to back down.
Retreever - good for throwlines
It's a nice tool, but the bendable wire end could be heftier. It's so easy to re-shape that even a climbing line will slip out of it because the weight of the line pulls the "sickle" straight. It's really cool for snagging throw lines.
I don't want to de-value having this thing - even though I don't use it too often, having it has changed the way I strategize getting around in a tree. You can snag a throwline from very far away. Just make sure you are using a light weight!! I just wish it was strong enough to lift my flipline.
EDIT - The Retreever cut me pretty badly when it hyper-extended past one of its crimped joints and the inner part, which has slits in the metal, tore a nice gash in the bottom of my index finger. And I wasn't going ballistic on it either. So be careful with this thing. You may want to consider the other one listed here. I think that's the one I'm going to get. Sherrill Tree was very cool about the whole thing and credited it for me. I had been using it about a year, only semi-frequently.
ISC "Gator" - Good biner but it damaged my rope sn
Just know that, because of the "knife edge" shape these biners have, one did find its way under the safety plate of my rope snap (only on one side) and pried and bent it. Completely away from the little metal protrusion that's supposed to keep it snapped! I don't know if the larger sizes have a thicker edge, but my Gator and my steel rope snap got into a tussle.
Of course it was during a difficult job where I was double crotching and reaching and twisting far out on a limb, and I wasn't paying attention to the way the biner and rope snap were interacting. The rope snap scratched the Gator up a bit but no real harm done.
So I though that was worth mentioning. I use a rope snap instead of 2 biners when I do a split tail climb because sometimes 2 biners can get "inside each other", but I never had a probem with a snap entangling on a biner. Until now. So I switched this ISC biner out and now I'm using something much rounder and fatter that cannot get under the rope snap edge.
But it's still a cool biner cause it's compact, strong, colorful, and has a very positive action and feel.
French Creek Mobility - Good for awhile, then not
Well you know, you get what you pay for. Usually. I tried this saddle at my dealer and I was impressed by its comfort. It was maybe $200, but regardless of the price I found it to be more comfortable than some saddles twice the price. Also I like the fact that the leg straps have very rugged grommets in them; they're a nice touch if nothing else. It has some nice attachment points. I liked the ring enough that I ordered an additional one for the other side (yeah, there's only one)
I used it regularly for about 6 months, mostly for rec climbing. A lot of Texas-style SRT, split-tail DdRT of course, and also secure foot lock.
But despite the comfort it's got some nagging flaws and I ended up buying another saddle much sooner than expected. The worst thing about the French Creek Mobility is the center bridge strap, the main front strap that holds the single floating ring. It's made of layers of different materials, sewn together - plastic, fabric, and what looks like maybe rubber. This strap deforms after repeated use, and develops a permanent "kink" or loop in the middle where the center ring stays most of the time. It also is cracked pretty badly, and I have never left it out or got it wet other than use in the rain.
During secure footlock or a Texas-style ascent, there are periods of slack on the center ring. Instead of the ring floating back to center when the line gets taut again, it tends to hang up on the side because the shape of the strap is no longer smooth. The strap flops over to one side and the center ring hangs up.
So it really limits how you capture your progress when you are trying to throw your friction knot forward. It resisted me every time.
I bought another "mobility" saddle by Buckingham, and they use an amazing material for their center strap, almost like fabric sealed with resin. It's so durable it has never even changed shape.
I stuffed the French Creek in my truck as a travel "just in case" rig, but I have never used it since.
Blaze 11mm -
I only have experience with two 11mm climbing lines - this one and Samson's Velocity. I wanted to add a quick affirmation to what has been stated: This stuff knots incredibly well and feels really soft and supple. It's a joy to work with.
Whereas the Velocity, in contrast, is much harder to set knots in.
At this point in time I am only using 11mm line for tails and such, like tying a Klemheist for secure footlock or as a rope bridge for my equivalent of a "quick draw" with a carabiner on each end to give me more length when climbing with a v.t. I don't like the smaller diameter in my hands as a lifeline.
But I had to emphasize that Blaze is really a perfect line for tying, handling, and looking at too.
Samson Velocity - good if you like 11mm lines
This stuff is pretty waxy, as mentioned. I take a little extra time to set the knots. It works great as a tail for tying a friction hitch like a Blake's to a 1/2" line. Because smaller diameter tied to larger gives you a better hold, in most cases.
Velocity is also very visible.
I am just not a fan of 11mm lines, because most of my climbing is done without mechanical ascenders. I like a fatter rope, it feels better in your hand. I have to work harder to hold onto a narrower rope, and so only in a mech ascender scenario would that not make a difference.
Even when using as a tail in a dynamic climbing system, I get bummed by the fact that my "Y" has a narrow side.
You Don't Know What You're Missing
Yes to the statements so far. Read the other reviews then try these. I would be surprised if your own experience is not spot on. Yeah, they get caught and torn up pretty easily until you get used to them. No, they don't last nearly as long as leather gloves. But you can also feel a lot more and do a lot more with them on.
Like I already said when I referred to these gloves in a different review, the grip they afford on my lifeline is so dramatically increased that I went from climbing in "cycles" to a straight walk up the tree. Look, I'm sure many of us have read Jepson's "The Tree Climbers Companion", right? So yeah, for years I thought there was basically one general method to the DdRT -
Step up or swing your legs up,
Thrust your hips forward while taking in your line
Hold the line and advance your hitch
Catch a split-second of rest while beginning a new cycle.
And I make this even easier on myself. A lifetime of guitar, piano and motorcycling has played havoc with my carpal tunnels - so each time, I alternate hands and take 1 wrap of lifeline around the lower wrist to make towing the line that much easier and more comfortable.
Let me tell you, I put these gloves on and it was like Popeye and his spinach. I forgot I was 44 years old. I forgot about carpal tunnel; I only knew carpe diem. I was going up hand over hand for a good 5 or more strides, and then it was like, "What the hell am I supposed to do with this big loop of slack that's all over me????" So you know, until I played around and figured out which hitches work for this new (to me) style, I had to hold myself with one hand and take up the slack with another. And that gets harder and harder after exhausting yourself going up hand over hand. After about 5 or 6 "extended cycles" of this, I was hanging limp, breathing heavy, resting my weary arms and hands, but still laughing while looking down from like, 30 ft. that I had covered in maybe 45 seconds. Shite ! Man, what I would have given for one ground guy on belay during that job!
But the fact that I could do it at all - it's because of the rubber coating. And I don't do this anymore - it wreaks havoc on my carpals. But whether or not you change your speed or technique, these gloves are worth a try. And if you are really strong (and young, ha!) you will blow yourself away with this advantage.
Figure 8 descender - it's all I know
I guess some people like gizmos and others like simplicity. Not a blanket statement, as there will always be both. But in terms of what attracts me... A lot of times simplicity appeals to me. This and the munter is all I have ever used.
I think these things are the bomb. It threads on fast, below your friction hitch, you put a couple of wraps around it, and the ears hold the line fast. Then you can untie your friction hitch, unwrap it and down you go. Or, descend with your friction hitch still in place. That's the safest way to go but be prepared to go thru tails.
If I'm descending SRT, part of my changeover from the Texas system is to use both the Figure 8 above and a Munter below through a 'biner in one of my side rings. With this 1-2 punch of friction, I can hang hands off without slipping at all. When I do get going, 2 fingers on the line below the Munter will stop me.
I tried it a few times SRT descent without the Munter, and without gloves, just because you always want to know how you can deal with difficult scenarios. And here's how it goes - it burns a bit. Of course I'm using as much body friction as possible, reaching around my back.
But with DdRT, it's much easier to control - you do not need gloves at all. But heat? Hell yeah. It gets hot enough where you can't really grab it sometimes when you're done. And wear? Man, I have an old Kong that has rope grooves so deep that my dealer told me to retire it. All my 8's have always been aluminum. I guess theoretically they can hold up for a long time, but that one I used day in day out for years, it's showing big wear for sure.
If my descent is frought with obstacles, and I have to manuever around branches, I am practically chanting an audible mantra to always keep at least one hand surely on the line. It's a "Do As I say, Not As I Do" scenario, as I would never recommend using this without a friction hitch backup unless the path to the ground is a wide open, unobstructed belay. And even then, it's only for those with a lot of experience.
So yes, there are some amazing devices available that make descent as safe as going up - I even read about one in the Sherrill catalog that stops if you take your hands off it, AND if you grip it too hard.
But sometimes I like simple, and when I climb I have faith in my skill and my ability to keep my mind on what I'm doing. So I love the 8.
And it's also good for lowering medium sized branches from up top if there's no one down on the ground to help me.
|27 results - showing 1 - 10||1 2 3|