The 3 Major Divisions of a Trackline Highline

Written By: Lance Piatt

Thank you so much for hanging out with me today.  We hope you have enjoined our featured presentation…. sounds like the movies right? Anyway, there is a lot of talk as to what are the most important ingredients in making a dual trackline highline. In Pat Rhodes’, Horizontal Systems, he  include 3 major divisions…

  1. Taglines
  2. Dynamic Directionals
  3. Highlines

Highline operations are one of the most dangerous and most difficult vertical rigging solutions out there and because of the tremendous stress highlines put on anchors, I have included some principles that must be included in the construction of highlines.

  1. Anchors must be bombproof.
  2. Full strength of the trackline must be utilized by eliminating all knots and all sharp bends.
  3. All knots on the control lines must be by passed.
  4. Maintaining a pulley tension system to the highlines utilizing a “slipping clutch” or safety fuse, in the form of system prusiks.
  5. Incorporate a carriage system supporting the load.

And so it is with this list of principles I want to list the equipment used in this video module and why…

  1. Sterling Rope 7/16 HTP/Nylon HTP (hyper-tenacity polyester) multi-use rescue/rappel rope that resists moisture and has high abrasion resistance. Super strong and low elongation… perfect for highlines.
  2. TerrAdaptor is a high directional anchor system and is a mandatory requirement of NFPA 1670 for rope technicians.
  3. Sterling 8mm Prusiks The 8mm sewn cord is offered in multiple lengths and takes away the time consumption of tying knots if in a pinch or if time is of the essence. Met to meet the needs of arbor professionals around the world, but also for applications within rope access and technical rescue with the AZTEK System.
  4. Petzl Kootenay Pulley is an extremely useful tool when the scenario calls for long evolutions which require knot passes or as part of a carriage system in twin rope tracklines. The 76mm sheave can be locked off and the KOOTENAY can be used as an anchor plate. The sheave can then be used to facilitate high-strength tie-offs such as the blitz hitch or the tensionless hitch.
  5. Sterling 1 Inch Tubular webbing is also used as standard webbing for use with the military. With its ability to be used in nearly any scenario Mil Spec is a fantastic go to for anchor slings, anchor systems, or dozens of other applications.
  6. Petzl I’d is offers a versatile, durable descent control device that can be used for so much more. By point of design, the I’D is a self-locking descender and belay device. The user articulates the handle to control the speed of the descent or lowering, while if the user panics and pulls too hard, the load is auto arrested by the I’D’s anti-panic feature.
  7. CMC MPD is a CMC innovation that is changing the face of rigging and rope rescue systems. This patented multi purpose device features a high-efficiency pulley with a built-in rope grabbing mechanism that allows the device to be used not only as a variable friction descent/lowering-control device on the main line of a belay system, but with a few simple steps, can be turned into a powerful ratcheting raising system without a hardware change.
  8. Aluminum Carabiners The CMC ProTechTM Aluminum Key-Lock Carabiners are and optimized D-shape with anodized aluminum. The patented key-lock system, provides a clean unclipping process and has a wide gate opening that fits over 1” (25mm) railings. This carabiner comes in three gate styles Auto-Lock, Manual-Lock and Screw-Lock.
  9. Sterling Hawk ASYMM D Carabiner The Hawk carabiner comes in two versions: SL and AL. SL being the screw lock version and AL being the auto locking version.
  10. Sterling Single Rescue Pulley is ideal when a simple redirect is needed. Constructed from high-density aluminum and able to hold ropes up to 13 mm in diameter. This pulley has sealed ball bearings that help to keep dirt and grit out of the sheave.
  11. Single Prusik Minding Pulley is a prusik-minding single rope pulley that allows for use with ropes up to 13 mm in size. It not only helps to keep the prusik from getting stuck in the pulley, but also allows the user to tend to other tasks. Built with high grade aluminum side plates and a sealed ball bearing, this pulley is rugged and strong.

So while nothing really happens without the GEAR, it is also true that nothing happens without Talent. These two together ingredients (Gear and Talent) are vital, without Knowledge and Skills… there is no Strength to the system. So while I can’t really do anything about the Skills or Talent portion of the equipment, I can help with knowledge and gear… so here is our RRG-RLA Rescue and Rigging Manual. The manual should bring much clarity to aspects of systemology and how NFPA 1006 and NFPA 1670 come into play…

Peace on your days!


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