Swivels Keep You from Getting Twisted Up

Posted by Professional Tree Climber on 4/2/2018 to Tree Climbing Safety
Swivels Keep You from Getting Twisted Up

Swivels Keep You from Getting Twisted Up

Have you ever been out on a limb with your climb line attached to the ring on your bridge while also trying to use your lanyard as a second tie-in, but as you lean way out there you notice your rope and lanyard are turning your bridge all around in a circle? This is a headache that can easily cause you frustration, but also, in a rescue scenario, cause the rescue to take far longer than it should because of an avoidable misconfiguration of gear. There is, however, a really easy way to fix this little dilemma: a swivel!


Swivels are pretty simple tools that keep things from getting all twisted up! Swivels give you a connection point on top and bottom with a bearing or sheave in the middle that allows these two different connections to move separate from one another. This is great for the previously mentioned scenario or in rigging scenarios as well. Simply put, anytime you want to keep one piece of gear from causing another to get twisted is a good time to use a swivel.


Where to Place Your Swivel

A great place to put a swivel is on the bridge of your harness. By utilizing the swivels ability to spin, you can keep your MRS systems from getting crossed and twisted as you move through the tree chasing deadwood. When your MRS system gets too twisted, the friction will build up and you will be hard pressed to move quickly any longer. The bottom connection of the swivel can be attached to your bridge just as a ring would. Now you can clip your climbing system to the other connection point of the swivel. 


Honestly, my favorite way to use a swivel on my bridge is to attach it the same way as I mentioned above, but instead of clipping my climbing system into the other connection point, I would actually clip into the same connection that is attached to my bridge. This allows the swivel to act the same way as a ring. This technique keeps the swiveling side free for another climbing system or for my lanyard when used as a second tie-in point. Now, when I twist or turn to get that one piece of dead wood WAYYYYYY out there, my climbing systems stay neat and in order.


Another place that tends to get twisted and cause havoc is the sliding piece of a speed line. Have you ever had the limb or log take a good swing and then twist the carabiner riding on the speed line? It slows the “speed” of the speed line right down, therefore, making your day longer up in the tree. If you add a swivel between the sliding carabiner or pulley on the speed line and the sling attached to your limb being removed, you can guarantee a smooth and easy removal on your hands. 


Another Useful Application

Swivels can also be used for a floating false crotch while climbing. You can set a rope over the tree and attach a swivel and pulley with your climb line passed through. Once the FFC is pulled up to its desired location, you can start climbing. The swivel will help your pulley stay in the perfect orientation as your climb line leading to a friction free and hassle-free climb!

Swivels can be used for a ton of other things as well! These super versatile tools help me remain less frustrated throughout the day and they keep “most” of my lines from getting tangled! We would love to hear some of the ways that swivels have made climbing or rigging easier for you, or at least less stressful! Let’s hear what you have to say in the comments below!


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