Can we have an Ultimate Gear List for anything? Of course not and we all know that.. For the skiers out there this is like the mythical “one ski quiver”... that one ski that floats in powder, crushes crud, carves trenches on the corduroy, and holds Killington blue ice like a 2x4 with chisel edges. It’s a Unicorn. But this is a great place start and move towards.
But before we get to the list, I want to outline (in brief) how and where this list came from. The origin of this list stemmed from the building and producing the 5 Day Advance Workshop. In building this course with Jason Ilowite, we wanted to focus on a very narrow range of products that do a ton of things extremely well, have multiple uses, and would also yield minimal downsides when applied. This would keep the overhead of the horrendous gear cache down and maximize the application upsides of the gear being used. Only multi-functional gear with relative minimal weight need apply.
The process to get there was simple and maybe a bit unorthodox but it worked.
- What the process was: starting at zero and looking at ways to run a shared tension system with the most efficient gear choices possible. This is an exercise in thought process and an exercise in examining choices.
- What the process wasn’t: it wasn’t intended to result in recommendations on how to perform a rescue, or a mythical quiver of gear that solves all problems.
The exercise was to start at zero.. an empty rack.. and look at different ways to solve complex problems with a fresh mind. No rule was sacred and anytime we said “because that’s how it’s done” we challenged whatever assumptions we found. We know that some ideas won’t pass muster in terms of redundancy, whistle test, or “best practice”, but we’ll solve those problems later and certainly before we put a life on the end of the rope. We have a safe environment, a simulated patient we can’t injure any more than he already is (Randy is WRECKED), lots of gear, and plenty of time. This is a playground mentality and this is the basis of the 5 Day Advanced Live Workshop (dates TBD).
Manufacturing and equipment improves, technology advances, and techniques change. You might have an Arizona Vortex, maybe a few CMC MPDs, and maybe a number of Petzl I’Ds and don't really know how to use any of it properly or know when to use what. No gear is perfect and I promise that every piece of gear can be misused, misapplied, or mishandled. We want to talk about WHY we choose what we choose and give you a language to discuss the pros and cons of those choices.
Perhaps you’ve considered “going light” but aren’t sure how to do it and are concerned about deviating from G ratings. Or maybe your team is making the leap to shared tension systems. The process started earlier will weave through the 5 Day Advanced Workshop as well as some of the kit ideas we present later. No system is perfect and there isn’t a silver bullet. Education, practice, failure, and analysis will start to answer your questions.
So What is the 5 Day Advance Workshop?
The 5 Day Advanced Workshop focuses on two themes in rigging:
- The Artificial High Directional. Most of the project centers around the Arizona Vortex and the TerrAdaptor in various configurations ranging from monopod/gin pole, Sideways A-Frame, A-Frame to Easel A-Frame. We were also interested in testing some ideas with "small, fast and light" (SFL) gear that is multi-functional and efficient while also lighten the loads... be that backpacks, litter carry ins, run and gun from the truck or simply a smaller volume of gear cache that takes up much less room in the locker.
- Shared tension systems. Never in this course will you see a dedicated main and slack belay. Share tension does not mean mirrored or exactly equal tension but rather the load resting on both ropes held in tension. The gear is not nearly as important as the implementation.
High directionals (AHDs or artificial high directionals) and technology and other options on the market have developed to a point where there's really no reason not to incorporate a high directional into your rope rescue team (if you don't have one) or to expand your knowledge (if you do have one) into a bunch of different ways so it can help solve problems. What are those problems?
- Edge friction
- Bad (unsafe) edge transitions
- Rigging altitude for highlines and offsets
- Vertical lifting anchors for confined space
- And more..
In this workshop we use a variety of different high directionals and know that this deviates from lot other available training. We didn't just focus on the Arizona Vortex. We didn't just focus on the Terradaptor. We didn't just use the Vector. We used all three of those and in all three of them in different ways.
This course is all-encompassing when it comes to high directionals, no matter what high directional you have in your cache or what high directional you're thinking about getting, this 5 Day Advance course is going teach you to use that high directional in not just one way but several different ways to improve your operations as a whole.
The Arizona Vortex is the ultimate artificial high directional system (AHD). The Vortex can be set up in multiple configurations including tripod, bi-pod and monopod. Separately the two heads create an a-frame, gin pole, a combination of the two, as well as a multitude of other configurations. The Vortex can be used in a variety of situations including mountain and confined space rescue as well as rope and work access. Many companion products exist to extend the functionality of the Vortex, such as the Omni-block, AZTEK, Kootenay and AZORP, which allow it to meet virtually any requirement for a portable AHD system.