All of this discussion on reducing rope burn with the Blakes hitch leaves me scratching my aging head. I have never experienced excessive wear while using the blakes hitch except in one instance when I was in a dead pine when a sudden gust of wind hit the tree and I bailed out real quick. This is with 26 years daily climbing experience as an arborist and over 10,000 first time climbers under my belt as well at TCI school. Am I missing someting here? Am I just a snail descender? Should I change my eye glasses prescription and maybe shave my hand callouses down a bit so I can feel a little bit better?
At the end of the day, your experience best describes the situation - more than mine. I can honestly say that I'm here to learn, not to direct. Though my first job out of High School was as a tree climber, I took a different path. Looking at the details of a climbing system and viewing it differently isn't a criticism of design flaws. For me it's the opposite; I have a deep sense of what the Blake's Hitch represents in terms of accimplishments for the tree climbing industry. My first climb was in '79, yet I don't have your level of experience or commitment. However, I'm truly amazed at the advancement that has been accomplished since that time. I'm astounded!! Because of your years doing this, you can recognize the same. I would never discount the voice of the experienced climber - especially in this period where equipment and practices are at a high performance level. For every entry that I read these days, I recount with disbelief the lack of procedures, techniques, and technology that we utilized in '79. In those days to be a man meant you took risks like free climb or no use of a lanyard while using a chain saw. In these days, it's all about understanding the climbing system and continuing a spiral of risk minimization, which calls for a review and discussion of details. As a result, I have a deep sense of gratitude that this forum is available for the purpose of tapping into the voice of the experienced climber.
However, all materials wear, and I really like the Spider Rappel applied in the dDrt for the purpose of minimizing wear. I submit that as a proposal only, not in the voice of the experienced climber.
In the final analysis, it's good to hear that the Blake's Hitch alone works just fine.
Your reply to this thread now has me very curious. In approximate terms, how often do you replace your personal climbing rope?