Hold Tight! Positioning with Lanyards
We cut on the ground = we watch our body positioning.
We lift heavy logs = we watch our body positioning.
So why is it so difficult to use a work positioning lanyard while up and about in the crown?
Work positioning lanyards are found in numerous configurations and in either rope or wire core material. Work positioning lanyards help us accomplish our tasks safely, keep us stable, and cause less stress on our body. As the saying goes, “work smarter, not harder!"
Way back in the early days of arborists, climbers used 3-strand “buck straps” and they would whip a wave up on each side of it as they ascended the trunk of the tree using “climbing” spikes. These buck straps were simple but difficult. When it required shortening, it became an arduous task if the Prusik Hitch became covered in sap!
Flip lines are wire core-based lanyards. This style is very popular to the masses because it gives the user a false notion that you cannot cut through it with a chainsaw. However, a heavy heavy follow-through may cut it. In short, keep sharp tools away from all cordage! These provide simple, yet effective means of positioning; however, lanyard systems today offer the user several different configurations.
In today’s climbing world, many use mechanical rope grabs. Speaking from personal preference, hitch-based lanyard systems for the win.
How I Use My Positioning Lanyard:Hitch-based lanyards grant the user more, in terms of creativity and choking configurations. Hitch climber pulley, prusik in a Catalyone configuration, thimble prusik and carabiner; that’s how I run my lanyard.
- Making my work positioning system into a mini climbing system. Switch the lanyard to the ventral attachment, throw the carabiner over the branch union and reconnect; voila! Mini MRS system.
- To achieve an SRS configuration, two ways.
- Find a branch union and pass your lanyard end through it.
- Take your thimble prusik on the working end and attach the standing end of the lanyard to it via carabiner. DONE
- The alternative if you don’t have a thimble prusik; follow step one, take the working end of the lanyard and wrap it three times around the spine of the carabiner.
My Cinching methods:
- Wrapping the limb or spar once completely, is what I like to call; “The Victory Lap”. This helps keep the climber from spinning… to a certain extent. It’s a very minimalistic and effective trick.
- “The Grip”. Having a 12’ or longer lanyard is preferred with this technique. Bear with me here.
- Pay out a decent amount of slack, create a bight with the slack.
- Now, create a bight with that excess slack and pass it through the branch union or around the spar.
- Now take the standing end with the carabiner, and pass through the bight.
- Attach to your D-ring as normal.
This creates a Munter Hitch… sort of. This technique is fairly new to me. However, I will use it to position myself properly for a cut as it keeps me from spinning. Loading the bight allows for great ease when making the face cut on a spar.
Where to Connect Your Positioning Lanyard
Before getting to the different configurations, lets touch on which set of D-rings to attach the lanyard to. Traditional connection to the side D-rings is predominantly used in the industry because older styled harnesses only have that connection, but the side D-rings are meant for work position or on an even plane. The Lower D-rings on newer style harnesses or also known as Forward D are designed for suspension. Keep this in mind; rope angles play an important role in mitigating the potential for a dangerous swing. In the event that we as climbers get into a rope angle exceeding 45-degrees, the potential to get hurt increases and that’s when forward D-rings must be used, as they put us in suspension. On other occasions, forwards also distribute the body weight away from the hips. Sometimes but not all the time, on spar work; I’ll work my lanyard on my forwards but that’s preference.
What About You?
What is your favorite trick to apply with your lanyard?!