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Backing Things Up

arm breaker

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Jan 11, 2019
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This is a spin-off thread based on the several recent discussions of falls. Whether based on equipment failure, user error, or both the topic of backing things up keeps popping up. I am very interested in this topic as I like the idea, but I also like to balance it with a trusting of abilities and equipment along with the lesser issues of reducing weight, bulk, obstructions, etc. Beyond a safety harness and later a rock-climbing harness, I never backed up anything on tree stands, and I consider those more prone to safety issues than a well-executed saddle system using climbing-rated gear. I could obviously be wrong about that.

So, who backs things up and how? It would be great to share pictures and suggestions for how things work given the various concerns I list above.

For my part I always back up my rappel with an auto-block—and that is whether I am using a mechanical device or not. I also use a jammy below my Duck and attach my tether to my linesman's. I have also started backing up my Kong Duck with a long jammy attached above it on my Oplux.

Other ideas for things that could be backed up (I will add to the list and update as people respond):
  • Tether
  • Bridge
  • SRT device backup (for the way up)
  • Ascenders like the Ropeman and Duck
 

dlist777

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May 21, 2019
Messages
672
This is my method of backing up. But before I get into the specifics, I want to give my "philosophy" on backing up. I only use climbing rated equipment (ropes and connections). I feel there is actually zero (or nearly zero) chance of a real actual equipment failure. I'm backing up because of the human in the system (me). I'm sure if I ever end up falling it will be because of some screw up I make.

Also, I think we sometimes fail to consider that it's the climb and the descent (and the transitions between hanging and climbing or descending) that are probably the most dangerous part. If I could teleport into the tree already hanging from a tether and fully connected I probably wouldn't back up at all.

I'm not a fan of guessing which component or connection will fail and backing that up. I want to back the whole system up and add as little complexity into my process. Sometimes, backing up can actually increase your chance of failure by making the whole set up more complex and increasing a chance of human failure.

I use the JX-3 and wear a very light weight RC harness underneath. I carry an extra tether with a ripstop. That's the extent of additional gear. Let's call this tether my "secondary tether" and the one on the JX-3 my "primary" tether.

So, when I climb (using sticks, bolts or steps), I use a lineman's belt connected to the loops on my JX-3. I add in my secondary tether connected to the belay loop on my RC harness. I move the tether up above the sticks/steps/bolts as I climb. When I get to hunting height, I attach my primary tether to the JX-3, loosen (and eventually remove) my lineman's belt and lean back and hang. I will loosen up my primary tether (to allow for movement while hunting) a bit but leave it attached.

IMHO, this gives me a complete independent backup from the whole time I leave the ground. If any component on my main system fails (that is the JX-3 or my climbing method), my RC harness / secondary tether should stop me from falling.

This only adds a about 1.5 lbs to my weight. It does slow me down during the climb for sure.
 

arm breaker

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Joined
Jan 11, 2019
Messages
438
Location
Arkansas
This is my method of backing up. But before I get into the specifics, I want to give my "philosophy" on backing up. I only use climbing rated equipment (ropes and connections). I feel there is actually zero (or nearly zero) chance of a real actual equipment failure. I'm backing up because of the human in the system (me). I'm sure if I ever end up falling it will be because of some screw up I make.

Also, I think we sometimes fail to consider that it's the climb and the descent (and the transitions between hanging and climbing or descending) that are probably the most dangerous part. If I could teleport into the tree already hanging from a tether and fully connected I probably wouldn't back up at all.

I'm not a fan of guessing which component or connection will fail and backing that up. I want to back the whole system up and add as little complexity into my process. Sometimes, backing up can actually increase your chance of failure by making the whole set up more complex and increasing a chance of human failure.

I use the JX-3 and wear a very light weight RC harness underneath. I carry an extra tether with a ripstop. That's the extent of additional gear. Let's call this tether my "secondary tether" and the one on the JX-3 my "primary" tether.

So, when I climb (using sticks, bolts or steps), I use a lineman's belt connected to the loops on my JX-3. I add in my secondary tether connected to the belay loop on my RC harness. I move the tether up above the sticks/steps/bolts as I climb. When I get to hunting height, I attach my primary tether to the JX-3, loosen (and eventually remove) my lineman's belt and lean back and hang. I will loosen up my primary tether (to allow for movement while hunting) a bit but leave it attached.

IMHO, this gives me a complete independent backup from the whole time I leave the ground. If any component on my main system fails (that is the JX-3 or my climbing method), my RC harness / secondary tether should stop me from falling.

This only adds a about 1.5 lbs to my weight. It does slow me down during the climb for sure.
Thanks for sharing! Do you use the belay loop on your RC harness as the attachment point? Can you link/pic the ripstop tether?
 

dlist777

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Joined
May 21, 2019
Messages
672
Actually, I attached the ripstop directly to my belay loop and then connect the tether into that. My tether is just 8mm oplux with a prussik loop attached.

I used to have the ripstop on the tether (attached to the prussik) but it got in the way a little more that way while I climbed. Either way is probably fine. Also, the ripstop is not a critical part of this and could be omitted altogether. I like having it because I don't worry too much about slack building in my secondary tether as a I climb with it.

The ripstop is connected to the belay loop via a shackle (link below). Its underneath all that vet tape.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071FJMLHM/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Screenshot_20201103-144107_Gallery.jpgScreenshot_20201103-144118_Gallery.jpg
 

ChasingDinner

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Oct 15, 2019
Messages
150
I shot this last week before I had heard of the guy falling in the other thread. Figured I would offer up my technique.
To each his own.....this is how I do it.

Apologies if the audio and my speaking to the camera skills are not pro level, but you get the idea....

 

arm breaker

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Jan 11, 2019
Messages
438
Location
Arkansas
I shot this last week before I had heard of the guy falling in the other thread. Figured I would offer up my technique.
To each his own.....this is how I do it.

Apologies if the audio and my speaking to the camera skills are not pro level, but you get the idea....

Thanks for sharing. I do something very similar, I just use a Jammy on my tether instead.
 

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arm breaker

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Here is a thousand words. Not much else I can say. Lucky for you guys.
I really appreciate your contributions to this community along with lots of original thinking. I’m not convinced I could effectively manage to hunt with the various amounts of rope, webbing, ascender, descender, and what not without ending up in a giant mess. I get the safety commitment and I know it’s your system that works well for you.
 

bj139

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I really appreciate your contributions to this community along with lots of original thinking. I’m not convinced I could effectively manage to hunt with the various amounts of rope, webbing, ascender, descender, and what not without ending up in a giant mess. I get the safety commitment and I know it’s your system that works well for you.
My climbing line is at the same position as a standard tether. I would have to lift my bow over a standard tether the same as what I now use.
 

arm breaker

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I get it. My point is I am not coordinated enough to make all that work for me without messing something up. When I do SRT I take my ascender and foot loop off and get things out of the way. Part of it is the battle of minimalism versus redundancy. We all tend towards one or the other I am sure.
 

Weldabeast

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May 23, 2019
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All the double safety sounds good but all that doesn't really matter that much if u rappelling.... How do u back up a rappel rope? Rappel with ur linesman attached?
 

jkwill5

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I cinch my lineman's belt down and run it as a secondary bridge and also tie an alpine butterfly knot below my friction hitch on the tag end of my tether and clip that in to my carabiner. I feel pretty comfortable with these but still have single points of failure with my tether carabiner and a single tether. Still debating on running a second tether.
 

bj139

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All the double safety sounds good but all that doesn't really matter that much if u rappelling.... How do u back up a rappel rope? Rappel with ur linesman attached?
I should make a video but I need two hands to get down.. I move my ascender, which is attached to my bridge with a climbing sling, down to my Safeguard then release the Safeguard and slide down the length of the sling. If the sling gets too taut I have to climb up an inch to move the ascender down to the Safeguard again. Then I repeat these two operations. It is not as much fun as speed rappelling, but my feet never hit the ground at a high rate of speed so no ankle injuries. I am connected to the rope at 2 points, both up and down.
 

arm breaker

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I should make a video but I need two hands to get down.. I move my ascender, which is attached to my bridge with a climbing sling, down to my Safeguard then release the Safeguard and slide down the length of the sling. If the sling gets too taut I have to climb up an inch to move the ascender down to the Safeguard again. Then I repeat these two operations. It is not as much fun as speed rappelling, but my feet never hit the ground at a high rate of speed so no ankle injuries. I am connected to the rope at 2 points, both up and down.
Why do prefer this over an auto-block?
 

Weldabeast

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I should make a video but I need two hands to get down.. I move my ascender, which is attached to my bridge with a climbing sling, down to my Safeguard then release the Safeguard and slide down the length of the sling. If the sling gets too taut I have to climb up an inch to move the ascender down to the Safeguard again. Then I repeat these two operations. It is not as much fun as speed rappelling, but my feet never hit the ground at a high rate of speed so no ankle injuries. I am connected to the rope at 2 points, both up and down.
U still rely on just 1 rappel rope correct?
 

bj139

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U still rely on just 1 rappel rope correct?
You got me. That is the weak spot in my system since it has no backup. I haven't thought of anything yet. ;)
I climb up the same rope so it is already there.
 

Weldabeast

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You got me. That is the weak spot in my system since it has no backup. I haven't thought of anything yet. ;)
I climb up the same rope so it is already there.
Not trying for a gotcha moment with anybody....just saying that all those double backup safety stuff is great while u at hunting height but rappelling down we all just reply on that 1 rope on maybe the most dangerous part....I don't back anything up and do stupid things sometimes but I'm a big boy and I'll suffer the consequences of my mistakes
 
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