Before beginning, basic SRT climbing knowledge is recommended.
SRT ascent is a great way to access trees. Work positioning, on the other hand, is a different story. A prusik is very hard to move while under tension on a single line. A climber could easily become trapped on a prusik on a single line, trying to descend. By adding extra friction, such as a figure 8, the climber can easily descend down the rope in a smooth and safe fashion.
Ascent/Descent is great, but to properly and comfortably work position, we need to add in a revolutionary piece of equipment. Let me introduce you to the Singing Tree Rope Wrench.
The rope wrench is a friction device that, with use of slick pins, easily connects above your prusik and micro-pulley, onto your climb line.
Make sure when tying your prusik, the friction hitch you choose, is guaranteed to hold.
The climber here is seen tying a VT. VT’s are great hitches, but they do tend to be finicky and not always grab. The recommended hitch is the Distel. The Distel always grabs and still moves freely along the rope.
Always be sure to tie, dress and set any friction hitch or knot you intend to use.
Once your hitch is tied, the rope wrench attaches next to the side plates of your hitch climber pulley, or
in the center of your Pinto or ISC pulley.
Always be sure to do an on-rope test before heading up.
As you can see, the rope wrench easily slides up the rope and once weighted engages, creating friction above the friction hitch. By putting your lanyard over your shoulder and attaching it to the micro-pulley or rope wrench, the climber can easily advance the rope wrench up the rope with them as they ascend.
With use of a foot ascender or hand ascender, the climber can easily move up the rope using large muscle groups such as their legs to advance. Once they make it to where they need to work position, all they need to do is unclip the foot ascender and hand ascender and unclip the lanyard on the rope wrench. They can now easily move down the rope in a safe steady fashion.
The rope wrench is a much safer option to traditional SRT ascent methods because there is no need to switch over to dynamic system to descend the rope. All the climber must do is grab his hitch and descend.
Another great thing about SRT work positioning with the rope wrench is there is no need to isolate your climb line. The rope can easily go throughout the entire tree, rubbing on all kinds of branches and the friction stays with you.
This means that natural crotch redirects are very easy to obtain and work positioning is much better because the natural crotch redirects help maintain a better rope angle.
SRT work positioning tends to introduce less slack into the climbing system, traditional double rope climbing systems work on a 2 to 1 principle, meaning for every one foot of rope you pull, you only move 6 inches. SRT work positioning on the other hand, works on a 1 to 1 principle, this means, for every 1 foot of rope you pull, you’ll move 1 foot. This makes tending slack extremely easy as there is less rope to be moving in the system.
The transition from a double rope climbing system to an SRT work positioning system, can be a daunting task. By practicing low and slow the climber can safely and easily make the transition as quick as possible and as easily as possible.
The rope wrench will not only help with efficiency, it will also make your climbing day much more enjoyable!