Why “cross pollination” (hybridization) is crucial in rope rescue and rigging.

Written By: Lance Piatt

So what exactly is “cross pollination”?  Well… glad you asked.  Most understand this term through botany channels and while this is true, it is also true that cross pollination is “a sharing or interchange of knowledge, ideas, etc.” and it is through this that I want to make a statement.  “Without cross pollination, civilization as we know it will no longer exist”…  This is also true for the world of rigging.

We cruise through a number of different segments of the rigging population:

  1. Rope Rescue (Fire Service)
  2. Arborists
  3. Industrial Rope Access
  4. Climbers
  5. Slacklining
  6. Canyoneering
  7. Tower Rescue and Access
  8. Small Team Rigging
  9. Fall Arrest and Fall Protection
  10. Entertainment Rigging
  11. Water Rescue
  12. Mountain and Climber Rescue

My feeling is this.  Everyone can learn from someone and cross pollination is the quickest and most efficient means of strengthening your strengths. I don’t believe that working on weaknesses leads to better success.  Many may argue with me on this point, but strengths are strengths and weaknesses are just that.  Let an industrial access guy learn what an arb guy knows and watch the amazing feats that come about.  You ever wonder what goes into making those seriously gnarly long highlines you see in Yosemite and other wild settings?… the rigging of these monsters are nothing less than incredible and forces exerted on the anchors are seriously huge!  Remember what the forces are at each anchor at 160°-179°?  That is what these guys are trying to do.

For years, I have been pursuing a place where ideas flourish and have a high risk of irritating and or pissing people off.  I saw this in the early Ropes That Rescue days with Reed Thorne, Pat Rhodes and others… Arguments, yelling and shouting matches, accusations, and eventually an “agree to disagree”.  It raised the bar many notches from where it was.

I camRich Hattier - Rigging Lab Academye through the rigging ranks being more of student rigger than a true student of rigging.  The main reason for this is that networking and watching the lights “switched on” with people was more stimulating and glorious than coming up with some new form of overcoming friction, building multiple resultants within a single system, or determining what is better… the mainline-belay line system or a twin tension system.

Rigging Lab Academy was born out of a desire to see outrageous ideas come to fruition.  To answer the question of the “chicken or egg” (chicken BTW)… will technical needs breed new gear or will gear bring more strategy options?  What are we solving for?  Should the process of solving a problem always include the desire to see another problem to solve?

My resultants start at where my footprint needs to be (first) then create the main anchors, mainline, mechanical advantage system, artificial high point, retrieval, leverage options for change overs or reverse directions and eventually complete the evaluation… all through the one main idea; What am I trying to solve?  And the answer to this is… a riggers diet.

Our bodies need proteins, fats, carbs, hydration, minerals and a host of other things.  Not every body requires the exact same level of nutrition… some climbing, arb access, mountains, industrial access, theater rigger, fire rescue and the list goes on. No one diet serves everything… and this I love.

I remember the conversations about the Petzl I’d or brake bar racks, the CMC MPD or the Petzl I’d, Sterling HTP or Sterling Super Static.  Side Note… When filming for the Tower Rescue series in 2005, when Sterling’s HTP first came out, the issue of sheath slip, abrasion resistance, melting points etc… all of which were really new and often conversationally problematic.  Now, no one thinks twice about it. Two products with two separate job requirements and to show the blessings of Sterling’s risk taking, how many “htp” or “polyester rescue rigging ropes” are there?  A ton!!!!  Everyone has them.

So why am I doing this?  Those who know me will laugh… I like offending people with really really good ideas.  I promise to stay in touch with updates and insights into the amazing minds of people of simply think differently…

Oh… and why it important to cross pollinate?  Science shows prolonged repetitive training  leads to unhealthiness and cross pollinating (hybridization) with the strength and wisdom of others, leads to better skills and thus strengths!!!!  Training needs to be able to connect on multiple levels.

Peace on your days!



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21 thoughts on “Why “cross pollination” (hybridization) is crucial in rope rescue and rigging.”

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