An Introduction to Twin Highline Systems In The Work Access Environment

Written By: Lance Piatt

Force Vectors

In general, the greater the angle between two anchor points, the greater the stress will be on those anchors. It must be the goal of the technician to minimize all angles in a manner that will still accomplish the job at hand. The kind of stress that will be required of the horizontal system is a direct relation to the distance the load must travel from the original fall line. Greater vector forces will always require more complex systems that in turn, will require a greater amount of time, and higher-skilled personnel.

Horizontal Systems

In high-angle rescue, horizontal systems are add-on rope systems that serve as a means to change or influence the original fall line of the mainline/belay line package. This form of rope rigging is very useful in overcoming obstacles and correcting the horizontal orientation of the rescue operation. In this unit, we’re going to address three major divisions of horizontal systems:

  1. Taglines
  2. Dynamic Directionals
  3. Highlines

These three may be further divided into minor or major systems. Minor horizontal systems do not require belaying from the point of horizontal influence, major horizontal systems require belaying from the point of horizontal influence. They all have advantages and disadvantages. Some work well on wide chasms, others work better on smaller gaps, and some are simply used for minor adjustments of the rescue package.


Hi guys. My name is Trask Bradbury from Gemini Rope Access Solutions, and we’re here at Rescue Response’s rigging lab. And today, we’re working on a scenario that I’ve encountered somewhat recently on a job site in Rope Access doing some inspection work. So what we’ve done here today is recreate the situation and allow me to paint the picture for you.

So here we have some space that we’ve got some ropes suspended over. For our purposes, the space of this rope is over represents the rooftop of a tank that has no structural integrity and cannot be walked on, but yet needs to be inspected in regards to some non-destructive testing, some thickness readings. So we’ve devised a tension track line system in which to send a Rope Access tech out on that system, but while still giving them the ability to descend down to the surface of the tank while he’s making his way across the tank.

So there’s really two systems here. We have a set of track lines that we tension using our tandem tensioning kit, and then we have a working platform in which two independent ropes, our main working line and our safety line, are suspended from for the Rope Access technician to go down and come back up. We also have another rope incorporated in this system. It’s a bullae rope. It’s simply a way for our Rope Access tech to travel down the lines or up the lines if need be. So we have two independent lines, a main and a safety, and we have two independent Rope Access lines attached to those main safeties acting as the Rope Access main and safety line.

So that’s the purpose of this system here, basically to gain access to a work site that can’t be walked on and can’t be tampered with in any major way. And this is one solution in which to perform that job utilizing Rope Access techniques.

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Peace on your Days



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113 thoughts on “An Introduction to Twin Highline Systems In The Work Access Environment”

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