Throwline Tales from the Crypt
Allow me to vent some frustration out! I'm afraid I’ll be talking about my love/hate relationship with the THROWLINE. I’m surprised I haven't had a heart attack with the amount of stress and anger that throwlines put me through. Even though they anger me so, I can’t live without them! You’ve probably heard, or know firsthand how essential this tool is in our trade. If you aren't as familiar, then allow me to give you a few harsh lessons I've learned from my time using throwlines.
Lesson #1: Don't Catch It
The first lesson that you should know is to NEVER TRY AND CATCH A FALLING THROW WEIGHT. You will immediately regret it. I’ve caught an 8oz on the way down and it ended up bruising my hand. That was enough to never do that again. I've heard tale of one climber who was trying to catch his throw weight but lost sight of it and it hit him in the eye. He then lost sight in that eye.
Lesson #2: Don't Miss
The frustrating thing that can happen with throwlines is when they manage to get caught up in the tree, or worse, magically forms a Clove Hitch around a limb! (Yes, this has happened to me.) Now you’ve got to do the climb of shame and retrieve it. (Or if you have an apprentice, this is good practice for them.) You know what’s worse than a stuck throw weight? THREE STUCK IN A ROW. That had to of been my worst day with the throwline. Or how about when you are right on the money but then it WON’T come down because it turns out that it’s an included bark section! At least you know not to tie into that section.
Lesson #2 Part 2: Especially Don't Miss at a Competition
I'm not sure if all of my readers are into the competitive climbing scene, but if you are you may have noticed how many pro climbers choke when it comes to a throwline competition! At the 2021 Michigan Tree Climbing Championship, I heard someone say, "Work climb is for the show and throw line is for the gold!” I see a lot of truth in that. Every time I’m under pressure at the throwline event, I’ll throw a goose egg. The ironic thing is that the following workday I’ll be throwing aces every time! Maybe you're the same.
Lesson #3: Don't Get Burnt
My last lesson: watch your hands when throwing. Believe it or not, it is possible to get rope burn from that thin diameter throwline! I have a habit of holding the throw line after I have shot in case the shot is going wrong. Some times it has caused me to give myself friction burn. So watch out for that too!
Lesson #4: Avoid Tangles
Wondering why your throw line keeps forming into a bird's nest? New throwlines will surely get tangled until they're broken in. If a twig or a single leaf gets caught in between your throwline, that’s all it takes to create chaos. Always try to clear out the area where you plan on throwing or lay down a tarp. One common mistake is storing a throwline wrapped around a stick. This will make your throw line gain memory and stay coiled, causing it to bird nest almost every single time you throw.
A throw line cube helps to get rid of that mess and makes storing so much easier. Putting away your line is as easy as opening the cube, flake in the rope in the top hole then fold it up. Storing it this way is quick and effective, but make sure you fold the cube correctly. If the cube is folded strangely, the throw weight will come out of its pocket and wrap up with the throw line.
What Are Your Lessons?
If you have some throwline tales, share them with us and happy throwing!