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Don't rely solely on ratings and certification when configuring gear

Don't rely solely on ratings and certification when configuring gear

Richard Tregoweth - Tuesday, March 27, 2012

You have dreamed up the latest and greatest gear configuration: all the components have certification or ratings clearly displayed, and the system appears to work - so it must be good-to-go!

The ITCC TAC (Technical Advisory Committee) or anyone with PPE gear configuration experience might tell you to take it easy - your assumptions are not necessarily correct!

Unfortunately, there is plenty of PPE equipment currently on the market that simply does not play together. That is, unsafe when combined!

This is not a reflection on the manufacturers of the equipment - it's a fact of life. PPE manufacturers do not have the resources, nor the inclination, to check every possible configuration a tree climber might come up with.

Here are a few examples:

Do not use the Petzl William or Am'D carabiner with the ART Lockjack. The wooden toggle on the Lockjack locks (excuse the pun) into the eye of the William and Am'D carabiner keeping the device permanently in descent mode - not healthy if you are unaware of the problem.

Do not combine the DMM Belay Master with the AB Descender in a base-anchor system - the AB Descender creates a cross-load on the carabiner when configured a certain way - you have a 50/50 chance of getting it right - see pic.

The ironic thing is, the Belay Master is designed to reduce potential cross-loading and in most other configurations it works as expected.

Finally, check which line you use the the Petzl Rig - not all specified ropes work with the device. Some EN 1891A ropes, even those with the correct diameter, are too 'knot-able' in construction (loosely translated - too soft) which reduces the braking effectiveness of the Rig. You could be in for a big surprise if you don't check first.

The reality is this: tree climbers must check system compatibility (or… 'good functional interaction' as Petzl says). And remember, do not rely solely on ratings and certification to make your call.

Now… don't start bagging DMM, ISC, Stein, Petzl or ART or the TAC for that matter. It's not their problem - it's yours!

AB Descender Configuration Issues

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