No.4 The Lanyard
The 'lanyard' or 'side-strop' or 'second climbing line' or 'flip line' (or what ever you wish to call it!) forms an integral part of an arborists climbing system.
It can be made from different types of rope and sometimes has a wire core.
The wire core lanyard offers a greater ability when 'flipping' up a tree. The wire core offers some additional cut protection too, although a large chainsaw will cut through the wire core like a hot knife through butter. We shouldn't think of a wire cored lanyard as a fail safe. It should still be used as an 'additional rope' and one that gives us greater and safer work positions.
We should always look for greater and safer work positions.
Some climbers like very short lanyards and some like long lanyards. A longer lanyard is useful when a climber wants to balance themselves from two branches. A longer lanyard makes 'clean rope management' more difficult. Quite simply it gets wrapped around branches, legs and chainsaws. I saw that a climber in Australia modified a vacuum cleaner cord mechanism for his lanyard so he could 'draw in' the slack when it was not needed. Clever! But I think he must have used a very thin lanyard, 8mm and I prefer 13mm lanyards. Small bags are available to attach to the harness and lanyard 'tails' can be stored in them. Some people 'daisy chain' the lanyard. You see, as always with tree climbing, there are a variety of solutions for each task. You have to put your creative thinking cap on!
Personally I have a variety of lanyards and choose accordingly for different trees.
There are different ways to attach the lanyard to the tree and the harness.
The side'D's' on our harness are designed to be loaded at a right angle to the tree with a margin of movement up and down. They should be used for trunk work.
For trunk work the side 'd's' give us the most comfortable and secure means of attachment. We can attach the lanyard to the tree in different ways to make the attachment more secure.
For crown work the side 'd's' can be very uncomfortable. When we 'hang' on them it draws the harness up and squashes into out sides and stomach. Some harness designs offer a 'lower 'd' solution.
Photo of squashy side d's
Photo of tree motion lower d's
If the harness has no means of attaching to 'lower d's we can attach the lanyard to our front 'bridge'. Again there are a variety of ways. We can use multiple aluminium rings, or swivels or utilise the fantastic hitch climber pulley..
Snaps are often used on the end of a lanyard. We can splice directly to them and this helps when pulling our lanyard through tight forks....knots get stuck.
We should always use a triple lock next to the friction hitch or rope grab. Triple locking karabiners have proven to be the safest and most user friendly means of attachment and nobody can argue this point. We can find triple locking snaps too.