In this article, we're going to cover how to setup a ponytail redirect and a technical removable & retrievable redirect.
A ponytail redirect means that you leave the tail of your rope close to the trunk while you use natural redirects to get out to a certain area of the tree. Then instead of having to climb back up over those natural redirects then you can use the tail of your rope close to the trunk to lift your system back to you.
Then we're going to go through a little bit of an advanced, technical removable and retrievable redirect using a Wild Country Ropeman 1 which should be a bit of fun so hope you enjoy.
First things first, we're going to go over a ponytail redirect (a.k.a. flag poling) which means that we're going to naturally redirect over the top of the branches and down below. I have left the tail of my rope down by the trunk because what's going to happen is I'm going to climb out onto these branches and instead of coming back up over to get my rope off of around these branches I'm going to go all the way back into the trunk lift up my rope over the top so that I can then go straight out over.
I need to chuck some tail of my rope down the side of the tree. I've got my rope guide and I'm climbing over to one side of the tree which means I'm need to go over a limb, and over a big bit of dead wood out onto a branch. This means that if I want to get back and climb that head over the other side, the problem is going to be that I'll have to climb back up over these branches to get my rope with a good line over there, but we're going to do a ponytail redirect to deal with that situation.
I'm over one half of the tree where I'm able to work on these branches around me and all of this side of the canopy but, as I mentioned, to get over to that head over the other side, I will want to get my climbing system out of those two limbs which are in the way. So to do that, I've climbed with a bight of rope over this half of the tree and I've left the tail of the climbing line all the way down back at the trunk. Now I'll be able to lift my system up and over as you can see in the video.
When you come back in, try not to get everything caught up because we've got a bight of rope which means we need to really manage our climbing system. Now this may look like a little bit of a mess in that I have got my double rope climbing system up to my rope guide up there, I've got the tail of that in a bight back up over the top of those two limbs, and I've now got the actual tail of my rope up and over.
Once I’m in position, I’ll lanyard in and I'll have to keep a hold of the tail of the rope. So I'm going to take the tail and I'm going to take my lanyard around the trunk to get into a comfortable position and the tail of the rope is through my lanyard which means I won't lose it out into space. I am not going to unclip any of my climbing system from the hitch climber setup, but I'm going to unclip my main connection point and I'm going to keep a hold of the bight of rope for as long as possible. Now you need to tie a marlin spike underneath of the rope so that the climbing system doesn't get trapped all the way up at your rope guide. Now to pull down on the splice side of the rope and as you pull, it's going to go up past the limbs and pull on the tail of this rope to lift all of that climbing system over onto this opposite side of the tree.
Make sure that it's not going to get caught on anything before you let go of this bight because this is what can take it back up to the top. Let the bight go at the last minute and pull the climbing system all the way back down. It should now be on the opposite side of the branches.
So the good thing about that is, after I unclip this marlin spike and clip the climbing system back into my main D-ring, I am now over the opposite side of the tree where I was over that side of the tree through those forks I'm now this side of the tree which means I can climb up this section with my rope guide working for me in the best way. So that is the ponytail redirect.
Removable and Retrievable Redirect
With our double rope climbing system set up at the top of this tree, I’m going to give you a run-through of a removable and retrievable redirect. What that means is that we are going to be able to redirect through a redirecting-like climbing system, a set of gear, and we can climb out on that branch using the redirect to give us the best rope angle. Then we can climb straight back in and lanyard into the trunk and then pull our climbing or pull our rope up and remove the redirect from this position without removing the rope guide and then pulling the rope all the way back down to ourselves and retrieving the redirect as well.
So you’ll need some redirect gear. This is a bit of an old-school technique for double rope climbing because it's using an original Wild Country Ropeman. This clever piece of gear is a camming device which opens and closes obviously with an eccentric cam in it. We also put a retrieval shackle on the end of it and that means we can thread our dead eye sling around the branch put our climbing system through the pulley and the carabiner and then when it comes to retrieving this system where we can send a retrieval ball up through the middle of this and it opens up this cam removing the system without having to remove our rope guide. We can retrieve this all the way back down to ourselves.
The important part about this is the cam has to open up back towards your rope guide, so back towards the top of the tree. When we're up the top of the tree obviously we're lanyarded in because we're going to be slacking off our climbing system. Pass the dead eye cord all the way around and now our climbing system is going to go through a carabiner and we're going to put our spliced side of the rope through this pulley. Then we're going to put our prusik side of the rope through here because we're going to pull slack into the prusik side to allow us to retrieve it. So you’re still lanyard to keep yourself safe and you don't need to disconnect the climbing system, you just only need to pull slack into it.
I've got my splice and this is going to go through the carabiner so I'm going to put the pulley on and install it like that, so that's the splice. Now for the opposite side of the line, so my prusik side of the line. I'm going to run prusik side straight through the carabiner, not through a pulley and you'll see why that’s the important part of this. I'm going to install the retrieval shackle over the top of the splice side so this will all become clear in a moment. Now I can take up some tension in my climbing system and I can start letting out on my lanyard. I'm going to actually swing down and over to a limb with this redirect in place just put the lanyard on for safety's sake just because this is an awkward redirect.
I have now redirected off of my high point back through this device and I've got my splice side of the rope going through the pulley and I've got my prusik side of the rope going through the carabiner and the retrieval shackle and you'll see why.
Now you can pop out your marlin spike and now what we're going to do is start getting out onto this limb. I can now lanyard in out here and carry out work on this on this kind of extended limb with a better rope angle than what I would have had with just the rope guide.
Now that we've carried out the work on this limb, we can climb back into the trunk and I'm going to be able to remove that redirect and go back to just my rope guide.
Before we start pulling slack into this climbing system, we’ll need to lanyard in because our weight is not going to be fully supported; and just as a good habit I'll capture the tail just in case. So with my weight now in my lanyard and I can now pull out all the excess slack. If you remember, we put the retrieval shackle above the prusik which means that we're going to put the retrieval ball above the prusik. So installed the trusty retrievable ball but tying it on as a prusik.
Now pull the rope so the retrieval ball is going to go up the tree with this retrieval ball above the prusik, I'm going to pull on the splice and we're going to get this retrieval ball to go through that carabiner so it pops through the carabiner grabbed onto the retrieval shackle. If successful, that whole system should have popped out and what I can do is I can start pulling the slack out of above my prusik. Now the redirect will come sliding all the way down to us so I can now remove the retrieval ball.
So we've used the redirect system and then remove the redirect system remotely without having to go back up to our rope guide and without having to remove the rope guide, so that's a cool nifty little trick. This ropeman redirect system is actually quite a compact redirect for the amount of functionality it gives you for double roping, so that’s why it’s one of my favourite double rope redirects.
Hopefully, you found this information useful. Drop a like and a subscribe and a comment if you want to know more and want to see more of these sorts of videos and blog posts.