Horizontal Systems and the Gear Used Part 1

Written By: Lance Piatt

Hey All!

I wanted to drop in some thoughts about the equipment used when rigging highlines and other horizontal systems for the purposes of work and rescue.

Your anchors are the key… 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. We will address 3 major divisions of horizontal systems, they are:

  1. Taglines
  2. Dynamic Directionals
  3. Highlines

These 3 may be further subdivided into minor or major. Minor horizontal systems do not require belaying from the point of horizontal influence, major horizontal system 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, some are simply used for minor adjustments of the rescue package.

Gear in all 3 types of horizontal rigging as used as seen in Horizontal Rigging 3: Major Taglines / 2 Rope Offsets


  1. TerrAdaptor or Arizona Vortex 2 Multipod
  2. Sterling 11mm HTP Static Rope
  3. Sterling PMP Pulleys
  4. AZTEK 4:1/5:1 MA System
  5. Prusik Sets
  6. Litter Basket



























































Peace on your days!

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