Light & Fast Climbing systems

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6 years 7 months ago - 6 years 7 months ago #136437 by Bushwhacker
Light & Fast Climbing systems was created by Bushwhacker
Let me just first say that I'm trying to minimize weight and set up time.

I'm looking for a quick way to get into the canopy. Currently I'm considering the following system:
- Throw line and zing-it
- Harness
- 100-150ft Dynamic (80% dynamic maybe?) rope
- locking carabiners
- Either a Black Diamond ATC Guide or a Petzl GriGri2
- Petzl Ascension
- DIY Foot loop connected to the Petzl Ascension
- DIY
- Backup line from Harness to Ascender
- Pulley (Don't know what brand yet - suggestions?)

So all in all it would look somewhat like the attached photo (credit to Refreshing from Hammock Forums )

Would it be possible to replace some of the gear with a pair of petzl ascensions? Would this be an improvement?

For the longest time I was using prusik hitches, but this past winter my rope froze over and I was stuck in a tree. It was really scary. Hence the decision to upgrade. I was also using cambium savers, but the set up time for those seems excessive, s I'm leaning towards a static single rope technique.


Does anyone have any suggestions?

http://s112.photobucket.com/user/lspade/media/Tutorial%20-%20Canopy%20Camping/11ht_zps000e68c6.jpg.html
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Last edit: 6 years 7 months ago by Bushwhacker.

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6 years 7 months ago #136438 by Tree-D
Replied by Tree-D on topic Light & Fast Climbing systems
Total new guy here... I'm sure you'll get some excellent advice from more experienced climbers, but let me say--from exhausting experience--that I am certain you do not want Dynamic rope. I climbed on some once, and hope I never do it again. It was like trying to climb a slinky that drained all my energy with every advance. There are many excellent ropes out there!
Fat ropes (1/2") that knot well and are easy to grab for dedicated DRT.
Hybrid arborist ropes that knot well but are low-stretch that can be used DRT and/or SRT (I use New England Fly, for example, but there are others).
Static rope that feels like you are climbing a cable for SRT (I use Sterling HTP Static* for climbing SRT--including to climb "Yo-Yo" which I think you are trying to set up--just as an example, but there are others).

There's a description of Yo-Yo here:
http://www.newtribe.com/documents/tip4.htm
My setup looks like that, except for I use a Petzl I'D (*I use Sterling HTP that is sized appropriately for this device) instead of a GriGri. (Note: I always carry a Trango Cinch as a backup descender because I built my lanyard around it, and then I carry a Petzl Pirana on a Petzl William Ball-Lock biner as a backup-backup, and I carry a spare Petzl William Ball-Lock biner to use with a Munter Hitch as my backup-backup-backup. And then I carry my cell phone as the backup to all that. Oh, and I carry a whistle as the backup to my cell phone. That's about as light as I climb SRT. Just saying.)
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6 years 7 months ago #136439 by Bushwhacker
Replied by Bushwhacker on topic Light & Fast Climbing systems
"I am certain you do not want Dynamic rope." Noted - explains why I always find climbing so tiresome!

Is it important to have some dynamic rope for when you get into the canopy and falls are a possibility? The last thing I would want to do is make my own widow-makers.

Also, would it be safe to use 8mm rope?

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6 years 7 months ago #136440 by Tree-D
Replied by Tree-D on topic Light & Fast Climbing systems
The booklet that comes with your primary descending device will tell you what rope size(es) you can use. (8mm is too small for my device, my acceptable rope size range is 10-11.5mm. YMMV.)

As for dynamic rope and falls (again, total new guy here, willing to defer to the advice of pretty much anyone else who speaks up on these boards) no, it is not necessary. Rock climbers are doing a fundamentally different activity: they are climbing the rock and using the rope as a bungee cord in case of a fall (sometimes a significant fall) and they only spend a minute or so in their "harness." On a related note, rather than a "harness," I climb with a "saddle." I can (and have) spent an hour sitting in my saddle without my legs falling asleep and in relative comfort. (Relative comfort should probably be in quotes. I still shift around a lot trying to get more comfortable, and am always relieved when I get to a branch or the ground and can put my weight back onto my feet.) As for falls, I always keep a little tension on the rope which goes up to my anchor... and my anchor(s) is/are ALWAYS above me. So for me, a "fall" should just be a few inches if my feet slip from a branch. Yes, it's possible to take a REAL fall if your anchor branch breaks (I think ANSI describes a "fall" as a drop of 2' or more), but then your wide-band padded saddle combined with the stretchy-ness of the rope (they do have some give to them) should save you.

For a new guy, I've already logged a fair amount of time over 100' in redwoods. I climb Texas-style to get into the canopy, and then like to switch to Yo-Yo once I'm up there to bop around, and then I descend as described in that link I sent you.

Not sure where you live, but if you have a chance to take a class or meet some folks from a local club, you could check out and learn some good safety skills, and you'd probably also be able to push the boundaries of where you can get to in a tree way beyond where you think you can get now! I don't suppose you're in CA near the Bay Area?
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6 years 7 months ago #136441 by Bushwhacker
Replied by Bushwhacker on topic Light & Fast Climbing systems

djbaum wrote: For a new guy, I've already logged a fair amount of time over 100' in redwoods. I climb Texas-style to get into the canopy, and then like to switch to Yo-Yo once I'm up there to bop around, and then I descend as described in that link I sent you.


I can't express how envious I am of your location!

Is this what you're talking about for Texas style? The video says it's good for technical climbing, but not much else - perhaps you meant the other way around?

djbaum wrote: Not sure where you live, but if you have a chance to take a class or meet some folks from a local club, you could check out and learn some good safety skills, and you'd probably also be able to push the boundaries of where you can get to in a tree way beyond where you think you can get now! I don't suppose you're in CA near the Bay Area?


No such luck - I live in Toronto.

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6 years 7 months ago #136444 by Bushwhacker
Replied by Bushwhacker on topic Light & Fast Climbing systems
Or did you mean this for the Texas-style?

http://www.sherrilltree.com/The-Texas-Climbing-System-1421#.UyC3LD9dXTo

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6 years 7 months ago - 6 years 7 months ago #136445 by Tree-D
Replied by Tree-D on topic Light & Fast Climbing systems
Sort of. My setup and style is basically this although I use the pre-sewn straps as sold by Sherrill Tree here . (The sewn straps are super bomber. Some people get very nervous about water knots and girth hitches as shown in that video I started with, so I don't do that.)

Honestly, if I was climbing much less than 100' (again... this is just me, and only worth what it's worth) I would probably just climb Yo-Yo right from the ground. But when I'm climbing 100'+ I think Texas is better than Yo-Yo for that first long haul. (As noted in the video link I started this post with, there are a BAZILLION other systems and variations thereof! But, as a new guy, I like cheap, simple, and relatively dummy-proof techniques that my instructors recommend.)

As for why that guy (in the video you sent me) said Texas is good for technical climbing... I can only speculate, but I will say that climbing down (DESCENDING) on Texas sucks. Flat out, no question, it's not very fun. That's probably why he said that? Anyway, that's why I say for bopping up/down in the tree, I switch to Yo-Yo, and if it was a lower SRT climb, I'd just use Yo-Yo right off the bat. (Although, in all honesty, if it's a lower climb, then I climb DRT! It's a lot more adjustable, it's quieter, there's less gear to deal with, it's lighter, etc etc etc.)

Toronto? I bet you've got sweet trees there! I wouldn't be surprised if you've got some recreational climbers in your area! Have you checked out the Climber-Finder tool? And/or have you checked out this discussion board under... hahahaha, never mind! You're on the board right now and just posted to the "finding climbers" list! Good job, BW!

(Obviously our messages crossed in the aether... yes, the Sherrill Link you found is what I use.)
Last edit: 6 years 7 months ago by Tree-D. Reason: Edited DRT comments and emphasis.
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6 years 7 months ago - 6 years 7 months ago #136446 by Tree-D
Replied by Tree-D on topic Light & Fast Climbing systems
I should probably back out of the technical parts of this conversation since I'm a new guy and have very little business advising someone on gear/techniques, but (you knew I was about to say 'but,' and then keep writing, didn't you?) but... for cheap, light, adjustable, quiet, and easy, I think it's hard to argue for ANY SRT setup rather than just learning to climb DRT!!

Climbing DRT, you can climb a 60'+ tree using 150' of DRT or Hybrid rope, and you can climb even higher if you're willing to climb in multiple pitches!

I would strongly argue for a climbing class and/or buddy, no matter what system you want to learn. Have you considered ordering a copy of Treeman's DVD (available here on this site)? It's a pretty great introduction, and fun to watch. (And at under $20, it's cheaper than most triple-locking carabiners! What a deal!) If you like that DVD, you can go on to find a local instructor, or you could do Treeman's "At Home Basic Tree Climbing Course" and then do a checkout climb with a local certified TCI Reviewer.

I just checked Toronto, and see there's another climber--besides you--listed on the climber-finder. Ping them too! You might already have a local buddy and you don't even know it yet!
Last edit: 6 years 7 months ago by Tree-D. Reason: Fix name of "at home" course.
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6 years 7 months ago #136447 by Bushwhacker
Replied by Bushwhacker on topic Light & Fast Climbing systems
I can't thank you enough for your time! How do you get down 100ft? And what's your opinion on the simple descenders like http://www.sherrilltree.com/Figure-8-Decender-Deaf-8#.UyDL8T9dXTo (if you used them)? They don't seem very popular - I feel like it's extremely easy to end up buying a lot of unnecessary gear.

Ontario definitely has some really nice trees - but everything that has ever gotten me into the sport came from California. Have you perchance seen this: http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/1a8sjz/hi_i_am_a_guy_who_lived_in_a_tree_on_public_land/, or read the Wild Trees by Richard Preston?

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6 years 7 months ago #136448 by Tree-D
Replied by Tree-D on topic Light & Fast Climbing systems
Happy to share my time! You are absolutely welcome.

I believe that descender you showed (sometimes affectionately called a "deaf 8," because it has no ears) is not very popular because it's possible for your rope to flip up ("capsize") and turn into a girth hitch, leaving you in a pretty lame and hard to get out of stuck situation. So, no, I don't carry one of those even as a backup.

Back to my DRT soapbox, where I should have started and then stuck with...
The nice thing about learning DRT and getting that gear ironed out first, is that--if you start with hybrid rope (like 150' of New England Fly)--you can buy rope, a saddle, helmet, and just a few more pieces of very basic gear that are useful on ANY climb! And then later you can add SRT hardware if you do start to climb very tall trees where the lowest branch is waaaaay up there.

I have not seen that Reddit, I'll check it out.
I have read Wild Trees! Backwards descending device? *shudder* That part made my hands sweat. The flying-squirrel moves did too, but those were so obviously dangerous... I can't see ever leaping out of a perfectly good tree. (The same reason I don't parachute... I can't see jumping out of a perfectly good airplane.)
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6 years 7 months ago #136449 by Tree-D
Replied by Tree-D on topic Light & Fast Climbing systems
(I can't believe I'm still talking. I keep saying I'm going to stop. I'm going to more than double my all-time number of posts on just this one topic!)

After you watch the DVD... (See how I did that? I assumed that my argument was so well-made that you're going to rush out and order the DVD! I promise you it'll be the best $20 you spend on gear! PROMISE! How about that?)... you should totally come back here and ping me/us with an update and ask any questions it raises!

Let me add a few thoughts. The first, and really the most important, is that I would like to say how sorry I am that you had a scary experience with your hitches freezing! I'm glad you got out of the tree safely! And I'm glad that you found TCI!

What else? Well, I took a step back and looked at the words you have chosen: you want a light and fast system, and you want to avoid buying a bunch of unnecessary gear. I'm guessing that you would enjoy a quiet system that doesn't require lots of clicking/jingling technical gear surrounding your waist in a metallic halo. Seriously man... I think you're looking for DRT, and you don't know it yet!

I got suckered into the SRT tangent because you posted a Yo-Yo picture, and SRT is on my mind right now since my most recent climb was SRT. But I bet 2/3 of my tree time has been on DRT in oaks... and I'm in California where I DO live very close to redwoods!
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6 years 7 months ago #136450 by Tree-D
Replied by Tree-D on topic Light & Fast Climbing systems
If you click on my profile picture? That's me climbing a big old oak using DRT. The only reason the gear bucket off my hip is so big is because it's got my 3d camera and lunch in it! The size of my smile in that picture is bigger than pretty much any piece of low-tech gear I was carrying that day.
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6 years 7 months ago #136451 by Bushwhacker
Replied by Bushwhacker on topic Light & Fast Climbing systems

djbaum wrote: If you click on my profile picture? That's me climbing a big old oak using DRT. The only reason the gear bucket off my hip is so big is because it's got my 3d camera and lunch in it! The size of my smile in that picture is bigger than pretty much any piece of low-tech gear I was carrying that day.


Grrrr... I can't see profiles or do any of the climber finder stuff until I've paid my membership dues. Which is probably worth it, I'm just broke.

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6 years 7 months ago #136452 by Tree-D
Replied by Tree-D on topic Light & Fast Climbing systems
Can you get private messages if I send you one?
Testing now...
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6 years 7 months ago #136453 by Bushwhacker
Replied by Bushwhacker on topic Light & Fast Climbing systems

djbaum wrote: (I can't believe I'm still talking. I keep saying I'm going to stop. I'm going to more than double my all-time number of posts on just this one topic!)


Your enthusiasm is completely understandable - I have had difficulty sleeping for a few years because I kept trying to work out new ways of climbing trees using only friction hitches. And difficulty concentrating in class because I was too busy sketching a better hammock design. And doing anything really. There should be a TreesholicAnonymous, even though I don't want it.

djbaum wrote: After you watch the DVD... (See how I did that? I assumed that my argument was so well-made that you're going to rush out and order the DVD! I promise you it'll be the best $20 you spend on gear! PROMISE! How about that?)... you should totally come back here and ping me/us with an update and ask any questions it raises!


Do you really think it's better than the plethora of youtube videos and PDFs? Or even a membership? Shipping to Canada is often inhibitive, and I'd rather buy more expensive but more durable/safer gear.

djbaum wrote: What else? Well, I took a step back and looked at the words you have chosen: you want a light and fast system, and you want to avoid buying a bunch of unnecessary gear. I'm guessing that you would enjoy a quiet system that doesn't require lots of clicking/jingling technical gear surrounding your waist in a metallic halo. Seriously man... I think you're looking for DRT, and you don't know it yet!


The distinction between SRT and DRT is a little confusing - which one did you say is a DRT?

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