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Omnitree director Menno Kluiters wins innovation competition

Richard Tregoweth - Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Tree climbing innovation is on a roll, with new equipment being launched daily onto the market. The true value of these new innovations is often measured by the amount of money that needs to be invested to acquire such equipment - rightly or wrongly.

Jerry Lynch (who probably has a little Scottish blood in his veins) wanted to buck the trend so he devised an innovation contest for the 2011 Southern Arbor Day Arborcamp which had a limit on the amount of money one could invest in such the project - a maximum of $100 for the Best Climbing innovation and $150 for the Best Redirect.

Jerry was certain he would win with his contribution: The Earth Stick (sorry guys its already trade marked by Jerry Lynch), a rubber bungee device designed to keep the tail of your SRT access line under control during ascent - basically The Earth Stick is a large plastic tent peg with a rubber bungee prussic attached to the top (at the non-pointy end).

What Jerry hadn't counted on was a Dutchman entering the competition!

Omnitree director Menno Kluiters, ever canny with the dollar, won the Best Climbing Innovation for under $100 with his weight reducing device - a Cone-Basher made by cutting about a foot off the end of a broken long handled shovel. To be fair, Menno did make a small investment in the accessory cord loop for attaching the Cone-Basher to his harness, boosting development costs somewhat.

Consequently, Jerry was pipped at the post in the first competition by the penny-pinching Dutchman, but even worse was to come.

His second innovation, the aptly named Fang-It, turned out to be a direct copy of the already existing Anchor Bridge - Jerry was not a happy camper!

Everyone tried to console him by saying 'great minds think alike' but that didn't really cut the mustard for Jerry, so he went off and sulked by the fire for awhile.

Auckland climber and arborcamp road-tripper, Dom Eastwood easily won the Best Redirect for under $150 division with his knot-based retrievable redirect.

Dunedin arborist, Menno Kluiters demonstrating the weight reducing Cone-Basher: winner of the Best Climbing Innovation for under $100 at the 2011 Southern Arbor Day Arborcamp in the Waitaki Valley, North Otago.

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