Throw line Tricks Article

  • harrywbarnhurst
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19 years 6 months ago - 19 years 6 months ago #124670 by harrywbarnhurst
Replied by harrywbarnhurst on topic Lessons from TreeClimbing: The Stuck Throwbag
It all started on a cool, overcast Sunday afternoon, January 09, 2005, in Hatboro Pennsylvania. In fact, there had even been a few snow flurries seen by my youngest daughter and a few other members of her basketball team. They had just had a hard earned win and were pretty excited at the snow flurries and, as only kids can do, immediately started talking about “tomorrow being a snow day.” Well to get back on topic and get on with my story...

Wanting to keep up with my resolution (it only being the 9th of January and all) of climbing at least once a week, I put my tarp down under “Four Winds” a 60ft English Walnut that graces my backyard. She’s not real tall but with four leaders there is a lot of chances to practice tossing the throwbag, retrieving said throwbag, and advancing my climbing rope. I guess I made this the reason for this climb because of “Docteric’s” recent message “Troubles placing my throwline.” This gave me the incentive to get working on something that I needed to improve: something that watching friends like Bob Wray and Wild Bill climb had made me aware of. That being, how slow I am with advancing my rope. Now I do not advocate speeding through a climb. In my mind that would kinda defeat the purpose of the climb, but sometimes I just find myself pretty much tangled up in the tree and am glad there isn’t someone else there to see just how uncoordinated I am.

I did a five pitch climb. Normally I would have gone right to my final pitch so the distance between pitches was rather short, remember I was just practicing my advancing skills. It was setting up my fourth pitch when I got to witness something that happens to all of us all the time, but we rarely get to witness up close and personal. In fact, a few of us alluded to this phenomenon in the message thread that I mentioned above.

The toss to my fourth pitch was only ten feet away with the vertical distance about five feet higher than my present position. My first throw, using my football toss with my 12oz bag and slickline, went over the target branch, but was a little high up on the branch and with all the smaller branches in the way I knew that I would never be able to work it down into the crotch where I wanted it to be. I started to pull my throwbag back to me so I could make a second attempt. As the throwbag crested over the branch it dropped down over a branch that was about six feet below; this is why I had such a good view of the event. The throwbag came down going over this lower branch but did it stop there? As you probably guessed, no it didn’t. It proceeded to swing back around the branch, around the slickline, twice, before dropping down into self-locking position. It was done in such a way that I could not have fastened it more securely if that had been my intention, and the throwbag/slickline combination did it seemingly on its own in what now seems to have been a well choreographed aerial ballet. This got me thinking; yes I do this thinking thing occasionally when I am aloft.

Do these tools that we use in pursuit of our beloved sport actually have an inherent intelligence that we are unaware of. An intelligence that could be used for the good of treeclimbers everywhere, but in instances like this is used for the evil purpose of making fools out of us when we least expect it. You all know the times, like when we make a throw so easy that we could usually do it with a blindfold on, and just because there are spectators about the whole thing goes awry. I feel like I was privy to the sort of trick that our tools occasionally play on us and do indeed feel blessed. I just hope that I am not violating some sacred trust between me and my throwbag by sharing this with you but I feel I must take the chance.

The beauty and coordination in which my throwbag became entangled at first left me speechless. My second reaction was to want to utter the phrase son-of-a-!#*!#, then almost instantaneously I saw the situation for what it was…a gift. I got to view the ease in which things can go horribly wrong, even with something simple like tossing the throwbag. And since all I needed to do was squeeze my Blakes hitch (B53) come down a few feet and untangle my throwbag, I figured no harm no foul.

So do our tools have some sort of devious intelligence of their own or does Murphy—yes the one with the law—enjoy climbing trees with us as well as following us around in all other aspects of our lives. I am not sure which it is or even if it matters; the outcome is the same. The important thing is the overall lesson, one which causes the “Scouts” Boy’s and Girl’s to include in their respective motto’s. Always be prepared!!!! When you least expect it your throwbag will get stuck, so make sure you have another.

Have a great day and great climbs!!!!

In Peace,


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  • docteric
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19 years 6 months ago - 19 years 6 months ago #124706 by docteric
Replied by docteric on topic Throw line Tricks Article
It's ben a while since I've been able to get back here and I must say I'm very impressed, and gratefull, for all the advice.

Ponderosa's suggestions about the knees will come in handy. I kinda did that, but now will focus a bit more on the legs of the throw. Icabod, I tried the NA, NA song, but the tree said NYAA NYAA back to me (was it teasing me?).

Could you describe the "arch throws" for me. I can't quite figure out what you mean by that.

I made an 8 oz bag and have only been able to try it a few times. Seems easier to throw, but didn't get any higher that the 16 oz'er. I might try throwing a few more beebees into it and bring it up to 10 oz.

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19 years 6 months ago - 19 years 6 months ago #124708 by icabod
Replied by icabod on topic Arch Throw
I often use a toss in tree that is very effective. I start with the bag hanging about 1/4 the target distance. I look for a clear space behind me, then arch that bag backwards over my shoulder, with my arm straight, kind of like a trebuchet, without the counter weight. I can make 30' throws like that. I think that is the same as what Treeman calls the arch throw. One thing I do to prevent stuck bags is to let it come all the way down, and removing the bag before hauling back. I've never hung just line in the tree...

Cam "Icabod" Taylor

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19 years 6 months ago - 19 years 6 months ago #124710 by nickfromwi
Replied by nickfromwi on topic Throw line Tricks Article
Harry, really thought you were going to go somewhere else with that post. I thought you were going to say that you stumbled onto the Boomerang throw!

Boomerang Throw

There's a thread about it at Just do a search on the word boomerang.

Sounds like the situation was valuable to you nonetheless.

nick aka Gimli

Would you like a lanyard spliced up, or anything else for that matter??? Give me a call- 323-384-7770 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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19 years 3 weeks ago - 19 years 3 weeks ago #123778 by oldtimer
Replied by oldtimer on topic Throw line Tricks Article
There is an article from Mark Adams about this topic in the treebuzz site. It has a lot of good tricks to use to get your lines set in the right place with a limited amount of effort. Check it out. I hope this info helps some of the new comers to RTC and TCI.

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19 years 3 weeks ago - 19 years 3 weeks ago #123783 by Electrojake
Replied by Electrojake on topic Throw line Tricks Article

Thanks for posting that.

Nice collection of .pdf files I would have otherwise overlooked!

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