Winch Power, Artificial High Directionals and Human Curiosity

Written By: Lance Piatt

We have been saying for years… “it doesn’t take 6 people to do a rescue”.  Really!  Two strong, smart and logical riggers (certainly no more than three) can do a raise and lower from just about any place.

I think over the years, a near sided perspective and a lack of vision has kept thousands of technical rescue riggers in the dark.  Not purposely mind you, but “in the dark” nonetheless.  Think about it.  When was the last time the earth shook because something was invented in the rigging for rescue industry?

Is there anything new under the sun?

We’ve seen amazing improvements like the Petzl I’d, the CMC MPD, Arizona Vortex and now the riggers winch series from Harken.  But honestly, these products have been in the invent and reinvent stages for hundreds if not thousands of years. Maritime use and building techniques have used just about everything we see in this video (in one for or another).

Now… for example, the Lokhead and Riggers Winch from Harken have been refined over the years to the point where efficiency and strength are absurdly strong, safe and resilient.  The gearing has been so fine tuned it is almost incomprehensible and yet… they will continue to get better.  Why?  Because technology and human curiosity and devotion to perfection… and it is this last point (or two) I want to toss about.

Human curiosity and devotion to perfection.

Everything is this video is upscale, but certainly not new… except the application to “less is more”.  The winch covers haul and lower.  The mechanical advantage is like either 13:1 or 40:1.  The tensionless hitch takes care of the “bomber anchor”.  The AHD has been deemed as “bomber” (certification process as an approved Portable High Directional… Note, both Arizona Vortex and the TerrAdaptor).  The raise can be used through a powered drill or hand crank and a simple “knob” releases tension and thus lowers the load.

LokHead and Riggers Winches: Usage Techniques from Rigging Lab Academy on Vimeo.

So I am sure you have noticed here… there are two rescuers.  TWO!!!!  Not five, not seven!  You don’t need to expend unnecessary resources to an area of service that is not required.  This would be a great opportunity to re-assign people to another aspect of the team resource cache.  In the business world, this would be akin to turning an “expense center to a profit center”.   This is so refreshing to see companies like Harken and Elevated Safety lock “heads” to build a model or system that is commensurate with the job at hand.  (Note… down the road, we’ll be looking at the pulleys (blocks) that Harken builds and see about comparing them directly to what we currently have on the market.)

So about curiosity and devotion…

Curiosity is the desire to learn or know about anything; inquisitivenessDevotion is a profound dedication; consecration.  So put these two elements together.  A profound dedication to learn or know about something. or a “consecrated inquisitiveness”.  And one more ingredient to this “solution” is Constraint, which is the limitation or restriction of something [for the purpose of efficiency].  People like this can change the world!!!!

So when you connect these types of people with products that are designed for improvements in the proper environment… you have a winning combination.  These folks are “seekers and seers” and when something lines up and is highlighted by their insights, the alignment can be rather significant.

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So, I need to quickly explain something… I am not suggesting that every rescue can be done with 2 people.  Nor am I suggesting that a winch needs to be employed on every rescue.  I am however highly suggesting that all training, gear and SOPs are designed with the least amount of resources possible in order to stress the limits of what is possible for what is available.  Performance and execution when done properly, is done by limiting the excess and maximizing the efficiency (input and output) at every point.

We (Rescue Response Gear and Rigging Lab Academy) are here to help.  You are the heroes of this “world”… we are simply a guide to make you better.  So lets do this stuff together… join us in this adventure of “devotion to the curious”.

Buying this one product will save your department or company tens of thousands of dollars in a very short period of time.  Man hours (and everything that goes into that), excessive equipment no longer needed, training hours for systems no longer necessary.  Be the hero… save lives, save time and protect valuable resources.


The Harken LokHead Winch is a man-riding portable capstan winch specifically designed for confined space rescue retrieval or for use with davit systems using an unlimited length of life safety rope.






Peace on your days…



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