Throw Line Hijinks
“How did you set your rope all the up there without leaving the ground?!”
You won’t believe the countless times I’ve heard that comment!
It has to be the most asked question when the homeowner comes out. After they see how the magic happens, they follow with this comment;
“So that’s how you did it!”
Nevertheless, the throwline is one of the most important tools in our trade. Think about it: if you had a 75-feet ascent, or even 50-feet, to go trim out two limbs and you had to throw a Monkey Fist to work your way up until you hit your final tie-in point, that's exhausting!
That's why the throw line is an underrated tool! I always carry at least three on me. You can use them to set climb lines, pre-direct your climbing route, work lines, tag a tree, or set multiple rig points while the climber gets ready. There are SO MANY things you can accomplish with just a throw line, it’s not even a joke!
Throw lines can be frustrating though, it's true. The throw line is very challenging to master and even pros miss. Somedays you’re on it and somedays you’re off. Here are a few tricks and tips that may help with your throw game.
This throw line technique comes in super handy when you overshoot your original tie-in point.
Instead of pulling the line back down, you could instead use a second throw line set to secure your tie-in. You can do this method on your own, but it would be a lot easier if you had a second person manipulating that other throw line. Drop your throw weight down once you’ve cleared that route, and attach the second weight to it. Don’t detach the throw line from it! Begin pulling upward; once you’ve reached the union you want to isolate, either you or your helper begin swinging that second throw line until you get the right amount of momentum going to where you can clear the union. After you’ve cleared it, drop it all down and BAM! You’ve just successfully isolated a tie-in!
This trick is relatively simple with no real extra gear needed. Tie a second throw weight onto the other end of your throw line so its weighted on both sides. All you need to do is drop the weight down to you and it a nice gentle push. In other words, DON’T GO HULK ON IT! That’s it, nothing fancy. As the weight pendulums over the tree union that you desire to tie in, drop it and let it rip to the ground. If there is some route clearing left to do, it should be simple to do.
Swish and Flick
The name of this method was borrowed from Harry Potter (yes I'm a fan). This technique is rather tricky and has the potential to wrap around a limb if not done correctly, so read and practice carefully!
In this method, let’s say you shot a little bit lower than your intended target and double bagging is not an option. Begin by dropping the throw weight a bit, followed by pulling it up and down until you get a pendulum swing going. As the pendulum swings faster and when it almost gets toward its peak, pull the throw line hard. If you did the correct sequence, the whole throw weight and throw line jumped upwards into the higher union you may have wanted in the first place. Like I mentioned, this one is a tricky! If you can learn to pull this off, you will be considered the throw line king amongst your co-workers!