Mitigating “edge trauma”, as many call it… is likely the most arduous job of any rigger or rope rescue team.  Edge trauma is all about the transition vertical to horizontal terrain (or visa versa).  It is difficult and can be dangerous.  So it is here the vision and strategy of anchoring and positioning the working line at or near edge.  Thus creating as “elevated working line” or “elevated high directional anchor”.

There are numerous commercially made artificial high directionals (AHD) on the market, and all are very good at what they do, and since we can really only cover one at a time… I thought I would start with one that pretty much got the wheels going first.  The Rock Exotica Arizona Vortex MultiPod V2 Portable Anchor.  Distributed in the USA by CMC Rescue.

First dreamed up by Reed Throne, then engineered by Rock Thompson, the Arizona Vortex Multipod (AZV) is relatively light weight, and incredibly well designed.  It is classified as a Portable Anchor Device by NFPA and “G” rated.  Now, the AZV isn’t the only AHD product out there.  PMI-SMC has an amazing product of their own called the TerrAdaptor and Rigging Lab Academy has spent time with Tom Woods of PMI-VRS looking into numerous adaptations this AHD has to offer as well.

The assembly is super simple and yes… even one person can set this product up (though it might be advisable to have at least two).  Generally, setting it up away from the edge is best and moving toward the edge after the prerequisites have been taken care off.  Note… when setting it up and bringing to the edge, as per the vortex-technical-notice… anchor the AZV so you don’t lose it off the cliff.

There is plenty of information on the set up within the vortex-technical-notice so please check with this for all specific information on rigging the Arizona Vortex.  Also I want to point out that as with all AHD set ups, the term “force vectors” will crop up and so for this, please check Rigging Lab Academy’s extensive library on this subject.  Richard Delaney speaks directly to the physics of resultants and force vectors with in his course and Pat Rhodes looks more directly at the set up of various AHD configurations.  These two courses alone are worth thousand of dollars!

There are 4 Artificial High Directional AHD Types

Tripods are generally consider the most stable and require the least amount of work.  As the name implies… there are three legs in use.  The resultant must always be kept as close to the center of the footprint as possible.  Please refer the vortex-technical-notice on this.  As often as not, the AHD needs to be set close to the edge, when a tripod configuration is desired, extending the back leg out, gives the AHD technicians plenty of room to work and keep the resultant within the footprint while allowing the head piece to be at the edge.

Bipods are really unstable and thus requires a fair bit of “guying”.  Pat Rhodes and Richard Delaney both cover this information in their courses with Rigging Lab Academy.  There essentially two types of bipod set ups

Monopods are potentially the least stable of all, however… these (in my opinion) are the future of high directionals. Freestanding with a quad-guy or minimally a “tri-guy” configuration, the resultant MUST be placed perfectly.  That said, once the concepts are mastered this will be “the go-to” configuration for all mountain rescue and SAR teams around the globe.

The Specialized configurations are really bipods/monopod combinations.  Rigging Lab Academy will releasing a new Elevated Anchor and High Directional Series in 2018 and the Specialized systems will certainly be some of the most interesting.  Please note… don’t get carried away with what can be done with such a system or configuration.  These consume MAYBE 5% of all systems ever needed in the normal world of rigging, so knowing the standard systems well will get you 95% of what you’ll ever need.

I am excited about putting together this little Arizona Vortex mini-series.  Hope to see you back soon.


Peace on your days



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