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SRT tree access going mainstream! Perhaps?

Richard Tregoweth - Thursday, August 12, 2010

When the ITCC starts using the SRT (Single Rope Technique) accident scenario for the "Rescue" discipline in a world event you can be sure this method of ascent is well on the way to becoming mainstream.

Unfortunately, the use of the acronym SRT can still be confusing. When SRT is referred to in this blog we mean SRT as an ascent method into the tree. SRT can also be used to reference the working of the entire tree using single rope technique but that is a separate topic altogether.

One major stumbling block in the use of SRT in ascent has been the inability of the climber to descend (in a hurry) thereby increasing the chances of a rescue being required. That is, in the event of unforeseen circumstances, the climber may not be able to descend from the tree under their own steam.

The rescue scenario implemented at the recent 2010 ITCC in Chicago had the dummy on a single line access with a hand ascender up top and a Croll on the chest (as per standard), both under load.

Below the Croll, the ‘dummy’ had installed a Grigri in order to descend (this in itself appears to be an unusual configuration by NZ standards – perhaps someone present on the day could enlighten us?).

Anyway… the scenario had the dummy trying to descend on the single rope when he got cramp resulting in a locked up Grigri (against the base of the Croll).

From what we understand, rescue climbers, who started the event already positioned in the tree, had to ‘lift’ the dummy to release him from the jammed SRT set-up before they could lower him safely to the ground.

By introducing SRT rescue methods at the worlds it appears the ITCC have recognized the market trend towards SRT in tree ascent and the importance of understanding rescue procedures required for this type of accident.

Treetools have definitely noticed increased interest (and sales) in SRT equipment through our store. Combine this with SRT ‘how to’ documents provided by climbing organizations like VTIO in Australia and the development of commercial SRT systems from Stein and others it is highly likely SRT for ascent is now an established trend in tree work.

Chrissy's photograph supplied by Treemagineer, Chris Cowell

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