The Harrison Rocket, designed and produced locally by Andy and Ali Harrison, proved to the world (and naysayers in NZ) that a quality New Zealand made tree climbing related product could succeed, and thrive, in the international marketplace.
Over the years Drew Bristow, under the DB Tree moniker, has also dabbled with tree climbing tools, but, outside of the Harrison Rocket, no other NZ tree-climber-designed product has managed to crack the international market.
That is, until now.
Kiwi Klimbers leading innovation
Following in the Harrison’s innovative footsteps, Dale Thomas’ Kiwi Klimbers look likely to find a ready international market with working tree climbers.
Dale is a contract climber, trainer and representative tree climber so he has plenty of practical experience to call on when it comes to designing a tree climbing product.
To help tend slack and manage the climbing line during tree removals, climbers have previously experimented with foot ascenders bolted to climbing stirrups. These homemade systems were always a bit ‘Mickey Mouse’ and prone to breakage.
No one had managed to take the next step, to perfect the design and bring a ready-to-use product to market - until Dale put his mind to it.
Size-adjustable carbon stirrups suit company use
Dale has designed three different products specifically for SRT or DbRT tree removal; the KK Carbon stirrups with the integrated Titanium KK Spikecender, the KK Carbons without gaffs (or Spikecender) and the milled aluminium KK Spikecender for retrofitting to the popular Gecko climbers.
Unlike the factory-sized Gecko Carbons the KK Carbons are ‘size adjustable’ which should make them very popular with arb companies where there are multiple users.
The KK Carbons are easily sized to individual requirements by removing a couple of stainless screws. The screws are tightened back into a threaded brass ferrule so the procedure can be carried out many times without fear of damaging the carbon fibre.
The NZ-made Titanium Spikecender on the KK Carbons has the gaff portion fully integrated into the foot ascender. The shape of the gaff is a cross between the American ‘Short’ pole gaff and Gecko Euro-style.
The KK Carbons are also available without the Titanium Spikecender.
The gaff attachment holes are identical to the Distel Gecko climbers so all three styles of the Gecko gaff will fit directly to the KK Carbons.
Aluminium KK Spikecender a winner
Perhaps the most exciting product in the range, due for worldwide release late November, is the milled aluminium KK Spikecender.
This ascending device is independent of the gaff and can be retrofitted to the KK Carbons or the Distel Geckos (Carbon or Classic) utilising the existing Gecko gaffs.
The aluminium KK Spikecender bolts directly to the shaft, beneath the existing gaff, and tucks well out of the way beside your heel.
The use of the KK Spikecender ensures smooth management of slack, while keeping your climbing line out of harms way when ascending SRT or DbRT.
Milled from aircraft grade aluminium and featuring a NZ-made Titanium ‘toothed’ cam, the KK Spikecender runs far smoother than any of the other foot ascender brands currently on the market.
Dale has lightly tensioned the Titanium cam which seems to resist the tendency to create a bight in the rope on ascent - this is a real bonus.
The aluminium KK Spikecender can only be used when attached to stirrups – KK Carbons or Distel Gecko.