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Advanced Throw Line Techniques

From our previous blog post about basic throw line techniques, we covered 3 different ways of throwing your throw line into the tree. (Just to clarify, when the term throw line is used, I am referring to a throw bag attached to the throw line as one system.) We covered the basket throw, the single hand throw and the trigger shot. Each of these techniques should be practiced and with that practice, you should become proficient with one or more of these techniques. The goal with this blog post is to explain and show case some of the more advanced techniques that the throw line can be used for to increase efficiency as well as decrease the effort that goes into an already hard job.

In one of our previous videos, we demonstrated how to isolated a single tie in point with the double bagging technique. This technique is great for thick canopies that have hard to hit TIPs. One great trick for getting your throw line into that ideal TIP when the canopy is thick is to throw your throw line over the entire tree. From this point you can use the double bagging technique to easily swing your line into the TIP that you are looking for. This technique does take a bit of patience and even more organization to keep lines from twisting and getting confused when pulling the non usable throw line.

Another technique that is highly beneficial but quite risky is the whipping technique. This is used when your throw was lower than you wanted or when the ideal TIP was missed and the throw line is in a part of the canopy that is behind the TIP. When this happens the throw bag can be lifted within a couple feet of the limb that the throw line is over. The bag can then be lifted and lowered quickly with small flicks of your wrist. This will get the bag swinging slightly. As the bag swings out and away from the TIP, a solid jerk can cause the bag to shoot upwards and backwards towards the tip in point. This jerk of the line should be pulled as the bag swings up and as it starts to make it over the top of the limb. If you are looking for your throw bag to shoot up higher into the canopy, the throw line should be swung as stated earlier but as the throw bag makes it's arc and begins to move upward the line should be jerked quickly. As you quickly jerk the line, immediately let it pass through your hands. This will shoot the bag straight up into the air allowing your to get to a higher portion of the tree.

The previously stated technique should be used with caution because it is a great way to get a throw line wrapped up in the canopy or wrapped around that one limb that just won't let it got. I would highly recommend practicing this technique and getting a feel for the nuances of how the bag moves once you whip it or flick it up through the canopy. Unfortunately when anyone sees you use this technique, they probably won't believe that you did it on purpose! When you do it a second time, they will still think it is an anomaly. By the third time they will know that you are a throw line god!

Another technique that is super helpful for another climber is to remotely tie limbs off that need to be rigged down. We have used this technique multiple times, mostly on storm damaged trees or extremely large removals. If you have a good thrower on the ground, they can get the rigging line tied off, mostly in a tip tie scenario, so that the climber can move to where they are going to be making the cut or tie the butt off while the ground team is getting the tip tied. This really does make the job work WAY more efficiently but that only works if the thrower is efficient and on point with their technique as well. Many times we can get that difficult limb tied off as the climber is getting the rigging set. Once we have the limb tied off, we send the end of the rigging line up to them and they can pass it through the block or ring at the primary rigging point. This works best when that difficult limb is going to be the first to rig out or when there is a ton of movement for the climber to get between cuts.

I'm sure we have all managed to get a throw line stuck in a crotch or up in the canopy. Sometimes the throw line wraps around a limb and that becomes a lost cause, ending in another line needing to be set and then having the climber rescue the stuck line. Sometimes the throw bag will just get stuck in a crotch. This can be rescued much easier with another throw line but it takes patience and practice. Let's say that your throw bag gets stuck in a crotch of a Locust tree midway up in the canopy. You can take another throw line and throw it above the stuck bag, high in the canopy. Try not to throw it into the same crotch unless you want to be the laughing stock of the company for a couple weeks! Let's get back on track! Once you have your second throw line set above the stuck bag, you will need to pull the far end of your second throw line so you are now about to lift the isolating end of your throw line off the ground. At this point you will have the bag of your second throw line about to be lifted off the ground as well as the stuck throw line in front of you. Next you will attach a carabiner to the bag on the second throw line and then attach that to the line of the stuck throw bag. Now, pull the second throw line up into the canopy until is is sitting above the stuck bag. Usually you can put tension on the line of the stuck bag and then lift the second line. This will crane the stuck bag up and out of the crotch that is is stuck in. Again, this is a pretty advanced technique that I would recommend practicing at lower heights and in your spare time before employing it in front of an audience! When it does work though, it is a major time saver and WAY WAY WAY easier than having to climb up to get that bag unstuck!

I think this is a good place to end this for now seeing as there are still a couple tricks that can be touched on in another blog post. I would love to hear some of the tricks and tips that you have for those just now learning to throw their throw line as well as some tips you have for veteran throwers! Throw line is a great tool that really can save you from extra hard work and can make you look like a true pro to homeowners as well as other climbers
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