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Rigging with Minimal Gear - Part 2

Rigging with Minimal Gear - Part 2

Previously in Part One, we covered rigging out limbs with just a rope. Today, I would use rigging rings or blocks to create a false branch union, but how was negative rigging done before the ring? That's what we're here to find out.


How is negative rigging achieved without hardware?

The first step is to leave yourself some stubs. Easy enough, right?

Early on in my career, I would leave some stubs along the spar because I was “planning” my rigging points so I'd be set up for chunking wood. I had no idea that the stubs could play such a negative role rather than a positive. 

So what's wrong with leaving stubs? Let me begin by saying this; not everyone sets up a mode of egress when working a spar--even to this day! Most climbers I have talked to will work a spar with only ONE lanyard and that’s CRAZY! 

There are plenty of reasons why not to leave stubs with the number one reason being, safety.  I don’t know about you, but going home safely at the end of the day to my loved ones IS my #1 goal. It should be yours too! Everyone has people that care about them, and that tree will be there tomorrow to finish up.

So why leave stubs? Sure they can prevent you from slipping, but if you where to fall--you could easily get seriously maimed or worse, death!

“Oh, but that will never happen to me; I’ve been doing it this way for years and nothing has gone wrong.”

Remember this, COMPLACENCY KILLS! Look into proper cinching spar tie-ins. Trust me when I say it does NOT take much time to set one up.

In a rigging scenario, those “pre-determined” rigging stubs can and will work against you. There have been a handful of times where I have blown out the top and it’s gotten stuck on those stubs.  In those cases you have to go down in order to free the top from its stuck position then climb back up to finish blocking down wood. Talk about exhausting!


How am I supposed to rig wood down without hardware or stubs then?!

You could snap cut small sections and handle the wood. However, this would be limiting as the wood begins to get larger in diameter and heavier. Plus, cutting cookie-size pieces is a pain in the ass! I was taught a better way (or so I thought at the time).

On the spar, opposite side and slightly lower to where your directional notch is made, make another yet shallow notch. This will create a “false anchor point”, but be sure to smooth out not only the edges but the inside of this notch. Skipping this crucial step could cause you to sever your rigging rope because as we all know, a rope under load is severed with almost no effort. Keep in mind that this method can be time-consuming.

I personally no longer employ this method of rigging, but I am extremely grateful to have been taught that technique. Without question, it has gotten me out of some tough situations. I always recommend listening to your more-experienced coworkers and mentors! Take their lessons; apply them, modify them or better yet, invest into some hardware that will make life easier.

Encourage brainstorming and creative problem-solving within your team to find innovative solutions using minimal gear. Pool together the knowledge and experience of team members to ensure a successful rigging operation. Minimalist tree rigging requires ingenuity and a deep understanding of rigging principles. Embrace the challenge, think outside the box, and enjoy the art of rigging.

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