The Basics Of How The Arizona Vortex Works: Part 1

Written By: Lance Piatt

Okay, so we’re just going to talk about the background on why we use the Vortex, so for this demonstration, we’ve taken the rope out of the pulley, the head of the Vortex. In this configuration, assuming that the Vortex is actually not even here, you can see that John is tied into the red line as if it were your typical main-line rig. He’s at the edge and he’s ready to go over, but the distance between his rope attachment at his waist to the deck is several feet. This can make edge transition a little bit challenging. If he’s got a litter in the mix, then that makes it even more challenging, where he’s going to have to muscle and maneuver that litter over the edge and negotiate that edge while that rope drops down to the deck before it really catches his full weight.

So if we could, what we would like to do is be able to raise that rope up so that John can put his full weight on it before he transitions at the edge. If we had a rescue tech come in and hold that rope up, from this position, if Rich was actually strong enough, he could hold the full weight of John, the rescuer, as he sits down into his harness, and his system will be fully loaded before he even goes over the edge. So of course, Rich or most rescuers are not strong enough to handle that, so that’s why we bring in the Vortex, and we’ll clip that rope right up into the high directional of the Arizona Vortex.


So now rather than a rescue tech holding the line, we put it up into the Vortex through the pulley and we have the artificial high directional, which allows the rescuer to put his full weight on the system before he transitions to the edge. So as you can see there, he’s fully loaded and onto the line and he can transition to the edge much easier this way, with or without a litter.

All right, in this shot, you can see that the Vortex position is set back from the cliff edge at least a couple of feet. This does offer us a high directional and does give us some of the benefits of a high directional, but allowing the rescuer to put some of his weight on the system. But it’s really not ideal. If we’re going to use this piece of equipment best, we get the most out of it that we can, and in order to do that, we want to reposition it right up close to the edge, as close as we can safely put it. When we have it in that position, it’ll afford us more of the advantages that it offers.

All right, so in this shot, different from the last shot, we’ve moved the Vortex closer to the cliff edge. This is going to be a more advantageous position, right up against the edge as close as it can safely be positioned, and you can see that the head of the Vortex is actually kicked out over the cliff edge. Now this is going to be a good, optimal position for us. Keep in mind, there are limitations to what you can do with the Vortex and how far you can kick it out. We’re going to talk about some of the physics. Just for clarification, we’ve taken a couple of parts of the rigging out, including the tie-back and also the belay.

We’ve discussed the positioning of the Vortex, getting it out close to the edge, kicking that head out, actually, so it’s out over the edge. We mentioned that there are limitations to how far you can kick it out. Those limitations are based on physics, and the physics of this system affects the stability of the Vortex. Now the way we can measure that is by what we call the resultant. The resultant is the line, essentially, that bisects the angle in the rope that wraps around the pulley.

One strand of the rope goes toward the anchor and then it comes through the pulley, and then the rope feeds down toward the rescuer or the load. That angle between those two strands, the line, the imaginary line that bisects that, is the resultant force of all the forces included in the system. We have a laser attached to that, and that laser points down to the ground. Ideally, we want that resultant force, that laser light, to be near the base of that triangle, between the two forward legs, but inside the footprint itself. That’s going to be the ideal position for maximum stability of the Vortex. Now is it okay for that laser to be in other positions other than directly at the base of the triangle between the two legs? It is. We can live with it being in other locations, as long as that laser is in the footprint, but again, the ideal location, maximum stability, is going to be near the base of the triangle inside the footprint.

Need To Budget For An Arizona Vortex Multipod

A portable artificial high directional system with the ability to be a tripod, a monopod, and a bipod all in one. With a precision two point head, the CMC Arizona Vortex can be rigged in various applications such as, a standard tripod or advanced set ups such as an A-frame, gin pole or multiple other imaginative configurations.

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Peace on your Days…



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9 thoughts on “The Basics Of How The Arizona Vortex Works: Part 1”

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