For Two Tension Dual Capacity Rope Systems Savvy Technicians: The Efficiency Schematic

Written By: Lance Piatt

So lately, I have been going through a type of transformation of sorts.  I will be honest… not all of the process has been fun and pushing through bias demons can be difficult, but with friends like Craig McClure, Jason Ilowite and Rich Delaney… the sojourn has been rewarding.  Bear in mind that a sojourn is a “temporary stay”… meaning I plant myself into something specific, in order to move on or past where I am and into a new journey.

I tend to live in a world of polarity.  Compromise is not something I find beneficial, because it always feels like a downgrade.  But, if I have a specific goal in mind and the purpose can be measured… then I am building for a reason and most certainly not settling for something less. Thus, as you read through the next portion of this blog, note… I have gone from pushing back against an established premise of what is true and without ever really understanding why (fill in the blank), to building systems based purely on what I want as a functional outcome and using only what is needed to achieve that goal… and nothing more.  Meaning, instead of building and then removing, I look to build incrementally… only what I need, wait… and then move on. It is slower in the beginning but the fruit is much sweeter.

The following menus line out the systems (or kits) used in virtually all the setups seen in the 5 Day Advance Workshop.  It is true that there are hundreds of variations that could have been used and though “traditional” efficiency (the friction coefficient of a pulley system) was a portion of the formula, it was but a segment of the consideration; and so it is here I would like to introduce you to my “what and why” approach to build a functional raise and lower system…  I need to give credit to Craig McClure on this. Thanks man!!! 

The Framework or Bedrock
  • Why are you building the system?
  • What is your ultimate goal?
Here are 3 Key Ingredients to answer WHAT you need and WHY you are doing it.
  1. Efficiency of Gear
  2. Efficiency of People
  3. Efficiency of Effort (physical effort)

*Keep in mind that you can’t have all three of the above at the same time.  This is where the decisions get made and why its important to define your goals in system design.

So let’s take a look at what “efficiency” can be viewed as…

  1. Effective operation as measured by a comparison of production with cost (as in energy, time, and money).
  2. The ratio of the useful energy delivered by a dynamic system to the energy supplied to it.
  3. The ability to do something or produce something without wasting materials, time, energy, or personnel.

So now that I have “opened the box”, I also want to reveal a certain perception I have in building systems… “small teams are the rule and not the exception”.  This might mean that trading pulley efficiency for sake of lacking human input is part of the package… the users need to be at levels ahead of the average understanding (of systems) in order to accomplish this.  

I do want it known that I am not advocating entire systems being run with a skeleton crew (simply because you can), nor I am abdicating the responsibility of a team to drill with smaller teams and a lack of (or an abundance of) gear.  My mode of operations is always to build an MVP first (minimal viable product) and then refine… and if this works, this becomes the model for a particular use or a set of tools to pull from.


The Efficiency Schematic
  1. Efficiency of Gear (amount needed, weight, ability of gear to serve multiple functions, cost implications)
  2. Efficiency of People (number of people and effectiveness of each person needed)
  3. Efficiency of Physics (the relationship between physical effort applied and movement of the load)

On a 0 to 5 scale:

  • Efficiency of Gear:
    • 0: large amounts, heavy, single purpose utilization
    • 5: A few pieces do the whole job
  • Efficiency of People:
    • 0: Team of 12, lots of standing around
    • 5: 2-3 people fully tasked, smooth operating.
  • Efficiency of Effort:
    • 0: High friction, excessive input needed to move load, risk of overload
    • 5: Very low friction, minimal effort needed
Kit, System and Gear Review
Petzl Dual Capacity Two Tension Rope Inside 9 System
  1. The efficiency of Gear… 4
  2. The efficiency of People… 5
  3. The efficiency of Effort 3



Are there other options that we could have posted?  Of course! That is the beautiful thing about living in a day of technology and advancements.  However, we’d go bonkers if tried… so that being said, I guarantee that in the coming months, we will most certainly be unveiling a “boat load” of other options… some which of might scare the timid.

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Peace on your Days…



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