SMC Vector Gin Pole Insight (Excerpt and transcription From RLA 5 Day Advance Online Course)
The SMC Vector is a single use monopod-only device. It’s designed to be this height and this height only and it’s true purpose — which has been a game changer — is a very lightweight and usable device that reduces edge friction. If you look at some of the physics and some of the testing, just pulling a rope over a 90-degree edge in different edge designs or materials has been shown to double or triple the force required to get that rope over the edge. Getting this clearance allows us to use less mechanical advantage and lighter weight gear to get the load up.
A few things to point out about the Vector
Because it’s lightweight, you have to be a little more careful. You want to make sure that the resultant vector always bisects the angle. You we can always look at the resultant vector by looking down the line of the pulley. You want to make sure that it’s either within 15 degrees forward of the foot or 15 degrees back of the foot and stay within that small triangle.
Just remember to err forward as this helps you maintain tension on the back tie. As you haul and add a bunch of force, things are going to want to swing back a little bit. Make sure that when you swing back a little bit, that resultant stays within that 15 degree window.
Because we’re using lightweight gear, it wouldn’t make sense to then bring a bunch of heavy stuff to pair with it. That would defeat the purpose. If we’re going to carry heavy stuff, we could just carry a giant 4×4 here, but we’re not. So we’ve paired Petzl Tiblocs with RollClips. If you haven’t used a Tibloc, they will move in one direction up the rope and then lock in the other.
While they do have teeth, it’s not something you need to worry about. You can almost always find someone who will tell you that the teeth will destroy the rope. The teeth help grab the rope a little bit to start the camming action in the device, which then pinches the rope between the carabiner in the back of the Tibloc. That’s it’s breaking force, not the teeth gripping into the rope. You could overpower these in a giant system. In really high forces, they could start to do damage, but we’re nowhere near that.
The RollClip is a great device because it ties the carabiner and the pulley together into one device. We carry less and we get more utility out of a single piece.
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