My box of goodies from TreeStuff arrived recently! My climbing experience has been mostly with DdRT, and recently a lot of that has been with a Hitch Climber system. The plan has been to get accustomed to working with advanced hitches, as a segue into SRT work positioning. For some time, I'd been thinking about a Rope Wrench and some Tachyon, but I went ahead and got a Hitch Hiker, and some Yale Arrowfrog line. A DMM Anthron used as an upper ascender with a hand loop and a foot loop for the left foot, and a Pantin for the right foot round out the system. I also have a Wiregate Revolver on the Anthron, which comes in handy for 3:1 advances. I bent and brazed some #8 copper wire, and wrapped it in tape to form a sturdy device to tend the HH. That connects to an over the shoulder bungee and advances it quite nicely. It took a little doing to get the kinks worked out, but I really enjoy the energy efficiency of this system! Now that I have the lengths worked out, I can optimize the hand loop, foot loop, and bungee. All in all, I'm quite pleased with the new setup, and I look forward to further discovering its potential. As a side note, I recently noticed irritation on my Achilles tendon. This has to do with the back strap on the Pantin digging in at that point. I created a loop between the back strap, and the one under the foot to keep it from riding up, but it places the ascender too low on the ankle. If i don't work this out before it becomes serious, or it could ground me. Anyway, that's a subject for another post.
Last edit: 6 years 6 months ago by dogwood. Reason: Had 2 copies of the same picture.
How are you doing with adjusting the hitch length? I found that I would often get on rope with the HH and find the hitch wasn't grabbing correctly, would have to descend and retie one end to shorten it up a little. It's one of the challenges of any hitch based SRT system, it HAS to grab without an assist from your hand or it is potentially dangerous to climb on.
A climber on Treebuzz came up with this excellent HH dogbone replacement that utilizes a slic pin to lock one leg of the hitch in. The beauty of it is that once you get your cord length right you won't have to adjust every tim you put the HH on rope. Hopefully the HH inventor will put this excellent modification into action on a future HH version.
I did a number of shorter climbs, 25' or so, before I took it out to the woods last week. Then I did two 75' climbs, one after the other. A couple of things come to mind about the hitch. I'm using the 8mm Beeline that came with it, which seems quite satisfactory so far. The first stopper knot is tied to the dogbone, and left in place. After a while it gets as tight as it possibly can. The second stopper knot is tied each time the hitch is applied to the line, and the trick is to get it to cinch up as tight as possible, which means tying that hitch so tight it'll barely move up the line at first. After working it a bit, it seems to find a sweet spot, but that takes some time. That dogbone mod is a very smart idea, and it looks like it could be a real improvement to this system!
I found that as I was climbing, the HH was in a slack position much of the time, as my weight was alternately on the upper and the lower ascender. So before sitting back to take a rest, I made a point of tending it up by hand. You're right about that, you need to keep an eye on it! In descent, the hitch was very responsive to pressure, from light to moderate to hard with corresponding speed. On letting go, it grabbed instantly.
The energy efficiency of an SRT ropewalker system is impressive, and I'm looking forward to learning about the work positioning potential of this style of climbing. However, I see that the mindfulness factor is high!
I appreciate your input on this AJ, and I'll be reporting back as I explore this further.
Yep it's interesting, most of us started out on Blake's Hitches and are used to the idea that a hitch must be pushed up. For the single rope hitch based systems the hitch should simply ride the rope during ascent and instantly grab when the climber sits back on it. If the hitch requires nudging to grab that is a problem. For example if your foot slipped off the tree or out of a foot loop, or if the foot ascender comes off the rope you could fall considerable distance before the hitch grabs, if it does grab.