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Backing up your set up

Arkie

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Aug 27, 2020
Messages
251
What is everyone doing, if anything, to back up certain things on your saddle. E.g. bridge, tether, etc..

I used my phantom with the regular bridge and a single tether last year, but I’m thinking I want to either back some of these items up to be safe or move to a lightweight hang on and harness.

I’ve really enjoyed the versatility of the saddle, being able to set up wherever and whenever, and being able to keep the tree between me and the animals; however, I have been thinking more about failures at 20’+


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Arkie

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Aug 27, 2020
Messages
251
I was thinking about adding an extra bridge and tether; however, until I go test it out I wasn’t sure how you’d set it up at height and still be able to easily maneuver around your ROS.

It’s my understanding that saddles aren’t rated for fall arrest. I also debated on pairing it with cheap RC harness/belt. Really didn’t think much about this is the past couple years, but with a young kid I figured I better look into it further.


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philsanchez76

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May 20, 2019
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682
Location
TN
I only use one bridge tied into both of my bridge loops, one tether and one Prusik for my main set up. But I climb with a lineman belt made of same oplux rope and it gets tethered around the tree once I am at height as my back up system. Its hooked to my lineman loops which are a totally separate system of webbing as my bridge loops. That way if a bridge loop on my saddle failed, I'd still be locked in with the separate lineman webbing. So that way everything is totally redundant. I can't speak to other saddles not being made for fall arrest, but I do know the way the original kestrel was made all of nylon webbing which has much more stretch than the seatbelt style webbing that a lot of the new ones are made of. Also the kestrels leg loops are weight bearing vs. a lot of the new ones the leg straps are really just there to hold the saddle on better. I feel safer buying a saddle from a reputable arborist company who's been in business 40 years.
 
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MNFarmHunter

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Jun 6, 2021
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296
Location
Minnesota
I don't have any "safeties" per se, but have begun consolidating down and multi-purposing things. My tether is oplux. My 2TC foot loop is also oplux which doubles as my lineman's belt if using sticks. If I notice wear on my tether, my foot loop can replace it and use my original 11mm tether as my new foot loop/lineman's belt until I can order a new oplux.

I also switched to mechanical ascenders so my original sewn eye prusiks are now my fully detachable bridge. Doing it this way, I can walk into the woods, with or without sticks, and climb a tree without having to switch out my ropes/saddle setup.
 

kyler1945

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Joined
Dec 4, 2016
Messages
4,225
Location
Baton Rouge, La.
What is everyone doing, if anything, to back up certain things on your saddle. E.g. bridge, tether, etc..

I used my phantom with the regular bridge and a single tether last year, but I’m thinking I want to either back some of these items up to be safe or move to a lightweight hang on and harness.

I’ve really enjoyed the versatility of the saddle, being able to set up wherever and whenever, and being able to keep the tree between me and the animals; however, I have been thinking more about failures at 20’+


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how does moving to a hang on make you any safer in regards to ropes ?
 

bj139

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Jun 13, 2019
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5,267
Location
SE PA
Double climbing sling bridges.
Add second tether when at height.
 

Adrena123

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Oct 20, 2016
Messages
668
Location
MARYLAND
how does moving to a hang on make you any safer in regards to ropes ?
Yeah... He would need 2 tree straps for the stand, 4 cables for the platform and another tether for the full body harness tied to a different location on the harness....All in the name of a backup safety system, that's a lot of stuff.
 

Sbrammer

New Member
Joined
Nov 30, 2019
Messages
14
I basically just inspect my ropes and replace them at the slightest sign of age or wear. My fear is being strapped in a tree and the root system of the tree fails. (May sound funny but look around at really otherwise healthy looking tree down fall.) For this reason, when I'm at height, I unscrew the lock on the carabiner so I can bail if I have to. Definitely not a suggestion it's just something I do.
 

dlist777

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Joined
May 21, 2019
Messages
699
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 (fail to connect, tie ropes improperly, etc.)

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 (my opinion).

I wear a very light weight RC harness underneath my saddle. 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 saddle my "primary" tether.

So, when I climb (using sticks, bolts or steps), I use a lineman's belt connected to the loops on my saddle. I add in my secondary tether connected from tree 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 from tree to the saddle via bridge, loosen (and eventually remove) my lineman's belt and lean back and hang. I will loosen up my secondary tether (to allow for movement while hunting) a bit but leave it attached throughout the hunt.

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 saddle, bridge, loops, or my climbing method), or I fail to connect component properly, 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.
 

SNIPERBBB

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Joined
Feb 19, 2020
Messages
500
I was thinking about adding an extra bridge and tether; however, until I go test it out I wasn’t sure how you’d set it up at height and still be able to easily maneuver around your ROS.

It’s my understanding that saddles aren’t rated for fall arrest. I also debated on pairing it with cheap RC harness/belt. Really didn’t think much about this is the past couple years, but with a young kid I figured I better look into it further.


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The point and safety of a saddle is that you can't fall. You only should be able to swing. Falls come from having slack in the system. One of the reasons I prefer DRT/SRT climbing is that there is very little chance of introducing slack vs the other climbing systems
 

131north

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Joined
Mar 11, 2020
Messages
216
Location
Grand Rapids, MI
When I saw a post on here about making Amsteel tethers, using one as a backup option was my very first thought. I haven't tried it, but I was thinking that similar to @philsanchez76 said about using his linemans and how he clipped it to the separate loops that one could use 1/8" Amsteel with no prussik, but at a length where if your main system were to break, it would catch before your bodyweight really got much momentum going. I thought maybe it would give some peace of mind that would fit in the palm of your hand.
 

Brocky

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Sep 27, 2020
Messages
411
Location
de mitten
The only approved fall arrest harnesses are full body with a back attachment point using a shock absorber lanyard.
If using a dyneema backup bridge, or tether, if the first breaks you will probably shock load the second unless the slack is always maintained. Many knots slip at 25-30% of break strength and those that hold cause it to break at 50% at most, make sure to do the math.
 

philsanchez76

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May 20, 2019
Messages
682
Location
TN
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 (my opinion).
This is a great point. I have definitely reached the point while practicing in the backyard where I have so many ropes I am now confusing myself. I had to back track a little and fight my obsessive compulsive nature to find the balance point of safely backed up and simple.
 

philsanchez76

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May 20, 2019
Messages
682
Location
TN
The only approved fall arrest harnesses are full body with a back attachment point using a shock absorber lanyard.
If using a dyneema backup bridge, or tether, if the first breaks you will probably shock load the second unless the slack is always maintained. Many knots slip at 25-30% of break strength and those that hold cause it to break at 50% at most, make sure to do the math.
Great point. I read an article where OSHA certifies body belts (basically a large padded belt with lineman loops) only up to 4KN for a fall. I figure that a well put together saddle with all rated gear from an experienced and reputable company (Aerohunter for example) is at the very least good up to this 4kn rating (but likely higher if it has rated leg loops like aero hunter etc). I have added a dynamic Prusik cord from Bluewater ropes as well as a Yates shorty screamer/ripstop to my tether system while one sticking. As long as I never climb above my tether, various fall calculators put me at 4kn in a fall. If the screamer activates (if forces go above 2KN) it will further decrease the felt force by 3 or so KN so now I am at a 1KN fall. With a 100% static tether and no screamer etc, this figure goes up to over 9kn! 9 KN of force for a 1 foot fall would very likely cause some injury.
 

MNFarmHunter

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Jun 6, 2021
Messages
296
Location
Minnesota
Many good points that the greatest cause for failure is the human element. The way to help prevent this is to be very strict on your climbing routine.

Carabiners - Every one of my carabiners must face the same way and clip into my saddle/mechanicals the same way. Doing this, I have muscle memory, I know exactly how everything should look and can immediately feel if something was done differently.

Ropes - For 2TC, I always connect my tether first to the tree then my foot loop and always wrap the rope the same way around the tree for reasons previously mentioned. Same method also applies to sticks.

Rappel rope - I don't climb on my rappel rope because the madrock is intended to be a tended belay device, not free swinging. For climbing, I use mechanical ascenders. This also keeps the excess rope out of my way. When doing the switch-over to rappel, the rappel line is connected (per previous methods), slack is taken up until the rappel line is carrying the load then disconnect my tether.

Saddle bags - I know some don't like them but I find them essential. I can drop/forget my pack but if I forget my saddle, I cannot climb. With just my saddle, I can climb, hunt and descend. Everything in the pack is just to support the hunt to make it more comfortable. They're also purposely organized so that everything is on the top in the order of use:
1. Bow hoist - First to come out, connected to the cam and to my saddle
2. Gloves - Tight fitting leather gloves which protects the hands while maintaining dexterity and feel
3. Tether
4. Foot loop
5. Gear strap - Connected below the tether once at height

When done, everything gets packed back into the proper order and is double checked before heading to the tree.
 

HuumanCreed

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Joined
Aug 21, 2020
Messages
585
I uses seat belt strap material with an Alpine cobra buckle as a regular belt on my pant plus leg loops. Use my linesmen belt as a second tether almost parallel to my main tether line. Basically use my saddle as a sit drag. I dont wear my saddle going in but l do wear the belt going in as l prep it into pants the day before. Dont even noticed it. The 5-10 minutes climbing is the only time I'm dependent on one system. I used to use a RCH as backup but found that it pinched in certain places. A backup system work best if there is no single point of failures. Backing up only 1-2 aspects of the system seem flawed, l highly recommend a RCH at the least. Not saying saddles are unsafe, but human errors can't be underestimated.
 

Madgrad02

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Apr 10, 2019
Messages
329
Location
South Central Wisconsin
I have swapped out the waist buckets on my AH, Cruzr and JX3 with AustriAlpin D-ring buckles to which I have a short CI-V tether than I can cinch around the tree onto itself with a Prusik...
 
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