The Goal of a Rope Rescue Rigging Cache List?: Think like an architect

Written By: Lance Piatt

rightpersonrightseatrightbusThe goal of a rope rescue rigging cache list?  Think like an architect. So earlier this week, I talked a bit about the Pareto Purchasing concept… the premises is hundreds of years old.  Now I want to apply this concept to your rigging and rescue equipment gear cache list.  Rope access professionals, by in-large, have this down well,  and all but a short list of pieces, are actually with them “on rope”… so weight is a huge factor.  The gear is almost exclusively ‘dual purposed”. Remember 80-20 rule.


At the risk of making this blog into an advertisement (which is not my intent).. we filmed and edited a piece showing the dual purpose elements of the CMC MPD.  The piece is expensive, heavy and intimidating to say the least.  This one piece of equipment saves time, energy, resource and yes… money.  I will let the video explain this, but in short… when you add up man hours by replacing old guard methods, cost of gear replaced, and serving to eliminate many SSSF questions, this piece is no brainer when analyzed properly right?  Maybe… It does serve Pareto’s 80-20, but does it match the stated objectives?  It may or may not, and hence, may not be a perfect match.

There is an old adage, “right person, right seat, right bus”.  The goal of having a gear cache check list isn’t to determine whether or not you have checked in all the gear that left for training or call-out (although this is certainly important), but to determine if the cache contains all the essential “elements of life” such that if something was missing, could all jobs be accomplished with what was “on site”.  I have heard it said that the mark of a great architect is shown in his work… “there is nothing left to remove such that all elements used have complete efficiency”.  Does your gear cache accomplish this?  Think like an architect. Will 80% of all your work be accomplished by 20% of what you have?  Does this sound impossible?

There is always an SOP (standard operating procedure) with higher level teams.  Does this mean that this team is ready and able.  Not always!  All it means is that someone put a piece of documentation together, voted on it and ascribed it to the folder.  Truth be told.. few if any can actually recall what is in the document.  All’s not lost though.

In the 20+anchor_systems_pat_rhodes_rigging_lab_academy_rigging_physics_3389 years I have been in this industry, many times have I tried talking people out of thousands of dollars of gear purchases because it was simply not a great plan.  The common responses were…

  1. This is what I was told to purchase.
  2. If we don’t use the money, we lose it.
  3. We are needing to standardize with other teams.
  4. This is the list the training instructor gave us to purchase.

My friends, there are better ways to do this.

The goals of any rescue and rigging operations are simple. There are “rules of thumb” for a lot of things.  Rescue Response Gear alone has done well over 350 unique videos on training and educating folks to help them with their responsibilities.  We do know a little bit about this stuff and what isn’t needed and will continue to build a better mouse-traps for our professional and volunteer rigging generalists and specialists, but the responsibility of engaging the system is yours.

Raven 2
Raven Collective Media

Going back to the CMC MPD… The price of this beauty is pegged at $725 MSRP and will likely be going up next year (not my call).  Can a piece of gear actually create a shift in methods?  I have watched teams buy this product and never use it because it scared them and watched dirt-bag slackliners use it and build rock solid works-of-art, hundreds of feet off the deck and hundreds of feet across.  What is the difference?  Vision, Purpose and Goals.

The purpose of the gear cache is defined by the vision of the riggers and the aptitude and appraisal of what is needed to accomplish said goal.  Build your constraints as tight as possible. Be wise about matching the systems you need, with the personnel you have, with the responsibilities you have been given.  This should be reflected in your gear cache and training objectives.

Main Line/Belay Line, Twin Tension Systems, Single Rope Technique (SRT), Main Line / Safety Line… none of this matters. Know the job, know the gear, know the methods and keep it simple.  If the odd bird shows up and messes with your groove… go back and question your SOPs first and then make the best of what is before you and learn from it.  And as my good friend Pat Rhodes says…” the answer will present itself” and I promise it will.  Be a great architect of your vision and purpose.. your gear cache will most certainly follow.




Lance Piatt is CEO of Rescue Response Gear Inc. His other ventures include Rigging Lab Academy Inc., Raven Collective Media and Trails 2 The Sea.



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