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No.22  2015  Winter Gear Review


  Is the winter really over already?! It seemed far milder than last year, I guess that my new wood stove for the house and great clothing for work helped.  I don’t mind being out, even in -25 degrees. as long as I can keep warm and regulate a decent temperature, not too hot to produce sweat and a constant need to remove and put on clothing while doing different activities and certainly not too cold.

Fitwell Big Wall Rock
  Since beginning tree work 10 years ago I have tried many types of boot, boots with chainsaw protection, toe protection, approach style through to alpine style and I have never been quite so taken with any of them compared to the Big Wall Rock, especially for winter work It is an alpine boot and upon first wearing it is as stiff as you would expect, a good sign if you plan to spend time in spikes. The toe box is much roomier than La sportive models yet still has a slim and compact ‘climbing style’ design. The additional room means that your toes can actually warm up once you begin to move in the mornings. The lacing is simple and easy to tighten and loosen with gloves on and once tied the beautiful leather inner gives much comfort to your ankle bone. The width of the sole means that you can walk on uneven terrain without risk of rolling/ twisting your ankle. The rubber on the sole is soft and it gives you fantastic purchase while climbing. I have worn them every day since October and feel that these are just fantastic winter boots especially if you mainly do tree removals.

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Finetrack No.1 layer

  Comparably amazing to the Big Wall Rock are Finetracks No1 layering system - I’m sure that their website will give you more insight than I hope to but let me tell you that I wear them, top and leggings, everyday ! It is the best layering system to regulate temperature that I have ever tried, the leggings with chainsaw trousers for the bottom, and I add 2 different thickness of merino wool and then a thin goretex outer for the top. My team uses different combinations above the layer 1 as each person heats quicker or has a stronger constitution for the cold but all start with the Finetrack layer 1. It is thin enough to wash and dry with a few hours. Completely amazing and I couldn’t be without them.



Singing Tree​ "Rope Runner"

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The first SRT work positioning tool was Morgan Thompson’s Unicender, then along came the Rope Wrench and climbers began to realise that they could find benefits of Ddrt and SRT climbing together. You see, because the Unicender has no pulley you cannot do things, achievements of movement that Ddrt hitch climber climbers are doing. The Rope Wrench fit so beautifully into the hitch climber system and at a guess it became the best single rope work positioning system available. The hitch cord is central to it and this brought many conceptual and real safety concerns that some people felt could be addressed through testing to european standards and that others felt should not be addressed because of the complexity in applying hitch cord and rope. The Rope Runner was born out of these concerns, it was a desire to mechanically integrate a belay system where the Rope Wrench could never hope to. It has been around in small quantities for a while now and this month saw it’s first official sales through Looking at the design and comparing it to things we know and have used you can see that friction is applied with a type of rope wrench at the top and a type of hitch hiker at the bottom. The top of the device, the ‘bird’, is pulled down to activate descent. The top bolt can be moved to accommodate rope size and climber weight, moving it in creates more friction. When ascending the Rope Runner collapses to make a frictionless upward movement and the spring at the bird activates to hold the climber stationary. The design incorporates 2 double locking slic pins for mid line attach-ability and of course a pulley to ensure that climbers can move as fluidly as possible.




K san bought in this beautiful looking knife recently and the high design and well made aspect piqued my curiosity. The knife has a ceramic blade that is very sharp, it cuts dyneema like soft butter. I have several other ceramic cutting products that perform no where near as well, they sit in a box, waiting to be thrown away in a few years time after never being used! The knife also has a marlin spike that is perfectly tapered, even more so than my Brion Toss spike. It sits very nicely in hand and can be used from 6mm to 24mm.

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