Rescue Rigging’s New Era

Written By: Lance Piatt

Rescue rigging’s new era has begun.  It started maybe as early as 2005 and has continued to evolve for the last 10 years. Today’s riggers are a mixed breed as opposed to days gone by where if you weren’t in the fire service, you were a climber or caver and thus weren’t really trusted…. You were sort of… “a little off”.

Once the snarls and back-biting ebbed at NASAR, and ITRS took over, a stand on “tolerance” was issued and  progress started making some really nice head way.  I remember the day when Pat Rhodes stepped up to the plate with a target on his back and enlightened attendees about the truth of NFPA 1006 and 1670.  Too, all the arguments that erupted with Mike Gibbs when he had the nerve to study twin tensioned rope systems and the news was encouraging.  Man, the list goes on.

Out of all this, leaders like Reed Thorne, Mike Gibbs, Tom Briggs, Steve Attaway, Steve Hudson, Kirk Mauthner and dozens of others, spoke up for, out against or just plain considered anything and everything fair game in the name of testing.  Many of the results began to turn the tide and others still just sort of languishing around the eddy and not finding any consensus… hmmm like prusiks!  And many new faces are becoming household names and gaining global attention for their efforts, such as Richard Delaney, Tom Evans and Tom Woods.

It’s like the music industry moving from 80s-90s, then from 2000 into 2010.. and today’s riggers, like musicians are doing some amazing things.  Rigging like music, is a complex set of “rules” made simple. I remember siting around the table while filming the Tower Rescue series with Reed Thorne and Pat Rhodes one evening and they both compared their art to music.  With Rich Delaney… same thing. It really hit home with me.  So often, as I look through the lens of a camera or in one slacklining over steelhead fallsof our editing bays, I see what they are talking about.  Sometime you can even here the song being played.

Many of you read my recent blog/book review of Steve Crandall’s Rescue Rope-Based Rigging Concepts.  What an amazing piece of work. Here at Rescue Response Gear, and Rigging Lab Academy (formerly The Rigging Lab), our passion as always been to bring the work many have put their heart and souls into and bring the artistry out in all of them.  Steve is one of these folks that just quietly build a concert of their own.

We are having a great time seeing the work of future thought leaders like Jason Fautz of SlackTech who is transforming the world of slacklining. What Jason is bringing to the table, is found in the rigging archives of icons like Dean Potter and Dan Osman, as well as a massive “slackline team” who’s soul pursuit is “the line” and how to rig it safely.  These guys are bringing a massive amount of testing data to the table.  Be watching these crews and be ready to have your thoughts offended… because this stuff will be the future of lightweight rigging and even rescue.

My question is… Are we ready for the new generation of riggers?  Honestly, this is why I am passionate about Rigging Lab Academy.  I love working with artists!!!!  And I love creating good controversy.


Lance Piatt

Founder of Rigging Lab Academy and CEO of Rescue Response Gear


About The Author: