SRT Climbing Technique: The Texas Tug

Posted by Professional Tree Climber on 1/27/2016 to Tree Climbing Gear

Did you know that you don’t have to use a base anchor for SRT climbing? Many of the crews we work with tend to think that SRT climbing means your rope is set over some limbs and then tied off to the base of the tree. This is not the case! SRT climbing means that your rope doesn’t move, therefore you could tie your rope off to the base of the tree or to the top. A canopy anchor can be as simple as a running Yosemite Bowline sent up to the top of the tree or as advanced as a Texas Tug canopy anchor but the concept is all the same, your rope is attached to the top of the tree. One of the concerns associated with a base anchor is the danger of someone on the ground cutting your rope while you are climbing. In the event your rope is cut while you are aloft and not lanyarded in, you will fall! So let’s look at the most basic canopy anchor, the Running Yosemite Bowline. The first thing to know about canopy anchors is that you need to have your tie in point (TIP) isolated. SEE IMAGE #1

Isolated means to have your rope over that specific limb with no other limbs in between the two legs of rope coming down to you. Once your rope is completely isolated, a Running Bowline can be tied around your rope. Make sure to finish off the Bowline with Yosemite finish since it is life support. SEE IMAGE #2 Now pull the Running Bowline up to your TIP so it cinches tight. You are ready to climb! SEE IMAGE #3

SRT Technique for tree climbing

If you were doing a removal, the previously mentioned technique would work great. If you are just pruning the tree this technique is not ideal. Obviously you would want to be able to retrieve your rope when the pruning is complete so we need to move to a different anchoring system. A cinched alpine butterfly is a very simple canopy anchor that involves no extra gear. We will start with an isolated TIP once again. Begin with one tail just within hands reach above you. Tie an Alpine Butterfly in the other leg of rope and place the first mentioned tail through the Alpine Butterfly.  Pull the tail going through the Alpine Butterfly and cinch it to the TIP. You are all set to climb once again! To retrieve, all you need to do is pull the leg of rope you haven’t been climbing on. SEE IMAGE #4 

SRT Technique for tree climbing

If you are climbing on a Rope Runner, you don’t even need to take it off the rope to retrieve because the Alpine Butterfly or a Pinto pulley will disengage the Rope Runner and pull it down the rope for you! SEE IMAGE #5 

One disadvantage to the choked Alpine Butterfly comes when trying to retrieve your rope after going through multiple redirects. Pulling the rope straight down from the TIP is very easy but as soon as the rope begins to pull down from the side it becomes extremely difficult to pull. SEE IMAGE #6 

One quick and easy way to help reduce that friction is to add a PINTO pulley or micro pulley below your Alpine Butterfly.  When setting up your system, just tie 2 Alpine Butterflies in a row. Feed your rope through the first, put the PINTO pulley onto the climbing side or static side of your rope and attach it to the second Alpine Butterfly with a carabiner. SEE IMAGE #7

Now when you retrieve your rope, as soon as the rope begins to pull from the side through a redirect, the PINTO pulley will cause a slight mechanical advantage and help pull the rope out of the redirects. SEE IMAGE #8 

SRT Technique for tree climbing

This technique is referred to as the Texas Tug and works quite well! Now get out there and try out some canopy anchors! Stay safe!

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