The Ropetek Hitch Hiker has landed!
Trails begin immediately in preparation for the Arb Tradeshow at the 2012 NZ Arbor Conference in Wellington later this month.
On first viewing, the Hitch Hiker is compact yet quite heavy.
Most of the weight is probably in the steel Triact Petzl Oxan Oval carabiner which attaches to your harness bridge. Presumably a steel carabiner is required to reduce the wear from the climbing line which uses the bar to introduce additional friction?
The Hitch Hiker itself is constructed of a block of aluminum with steel side plates secured via four domed hex-head bolts down each side.
The rope-side of the aluminum block is concave to accommodate the diameter of the climbing line. There are deep fins milled into the back side of the block, providing what appears to be a heat sink to dissipate friction heat away from the climbing line.
The simple 5-wrap friction hitch producing a very short knot, consisting of a one meter length of 10mm Yale Beeline. The hitch is secured with a stopper knot on each side of the main device via a lathed two-holed connector.
The re-setting of the friction hitch in the tree might prove to be a bit fiddly. The friction has to be wrapped then the tail threaded through the hole and secured with a stopper knot as opposed to sliding your carabiner bar through a couple of eyes. Let's wait and see before we pass judgement on this one.
While the Hitch Hiker is in the same family of Single Line Work Positioning products as the Rope Wrench it is a completely different beast.
The Hitch Hiker operates below the friction hitch and forms an essential component in the climbers life support system. This fact will introduce safety issues far more stringent than the Rope Wrench has gone through so the SLWP debate could get even more interesting from here on in.
Treetools will post more pictures and operating explanation of the Hitch Hiker over the next few days.