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No.53  2024 Spring Gear Review

Equipment Recommendation List Spring 2024 

Spike Pod

Retro fits to any spike, comfy and fast. The rear strap is leather, so stretches to fit your boot and shank size and shape. The front strap is plastic and glides into the ratchet. Most times the fit is perfect before climbing, but if not, all it takes is to lift the ratchet again to get a snug and perfect fit. I imagines the thin strap would be uncomfortable, but not so at all, especially if you where mountain style boots, or chainsaw boots. The ratchet has two positions, for larger or smaller feet. 


Tree Gaff

My earlier work in Japan was climbing tall skinny pine trees, so the short ‘Pole’ gaff was fine. But these it all seems to be big dead Oak and Sakura. Big trees with complex shaped trunks are impossible with short gaffs, so I recommend you try the longer ‘Tree’ gaff. Now I climb like walking, it really takes no mental effort to find a place for the gaff to slide into the tree. 


K-1 Keeper

Lanyards that are longer than three meters tend to be a pain to keep in good order. I’ve recently gone back to using a Sidewinder, and would love to recommend this but it seems to be no longer manufactured, so, the next best thing is this. Simple to use and keeps a five meter lanyard in good order. Not perfect, but OK. 


KAYA Huracan 11.5mm double braid

Nice double braid, lots of color combinations, easy to splice. 


American Clacker

Paul designed a cool anchor that holds two ropes and can be retrieved with your eyes closed. The design has two stitched ring savers, held together by another ring. The basic idea is to hold two SRS ropes, which allows the climber to find better Work Positions and can move around the tree easily. And it retrieves in a special way that is easy for anyone. To find out how to use it please contact ODSK for workshop information. 


ODSK Stitched Lanyard

Made with Lupa 10.5mm parallel core rope and a variety of colors available, white, orange, blue. The eye size can be made standard or larger to fit a Petzl Rollclip Z. Flip the Rollclip around to use as a chest pusher when ascending. 

DMM Mega Vault &

Rock Exotica Transporter XL

An item that looks ridiculous until you try it. If you do rigging work you’ll be amazed at how much stuff fits onto these things. I used to have four small hooks, now just two large ones, so my harness storage design became more streamlined. The DMM one doesn’t have a lock, so sometimes a branch gets stuck inside it. Rock Exotica has a lock. The DMM one has an option to keep the gate locked open, if you want to use it as a chainsaw hook. I prefer the large Shembiner for this….but you if you are a DMM fan, then by all means by an extra one for your chainsaw too. 


Rock Exotica Down Rigger

So called aerial friction devices are usually a pain in the ass to use, and nothing compares to the ease of ‘natural’ rigging, or the holding power of a ‘portawrap’. But that said, the midline attach ability of the Down Rigger makes it easy to use and gives two modes of friction, lets call it 1 and 2 mode. Friction amount can be changed by putting the rope into one of two channels. Also, by increasing the ropes diameter and braid tightness etc. It can be used in the canopy, the swivel making it easy for the climber to use while changing positions. Or it can be installed at the base of the tree. It has a relatively low Safe Working Load, so is a tool for light rigging or giving control to larger loads with swings. Easy to use, impressed by it. 


Rock Exotica Omni 4.5

Have you learnt how to make a two point floating system yet? When the trees trunk or branch is not sufficient then its best to ‘float a pulley’ in mid air. Not a highline, but a floating point. The rigging line then runs through the pulley. Blocks have good strength but closes on a static shave, so the OMNI 4.5 is best for this. This thing is huge, my friend calls it a PIZZA. Its delicious, everyone laughs when they see it. 


Notch Pop Box

A recent study showed that good throwline technique improves job efficiency by 21%, profitability by 17% and general happiness by 43% so it makes sense to have a storage solution that helps this further. Traditional ‘Falteimer’ style cubes have to store flat to keep the throw line clean, its annoying. Spiral spring solutions are good but bulky to store and carry. The Pop Box design has the best of both, plus its low centre of gravity is strong on a windy day. Become happier, buy a Pop Box. 


Notch Pebble &


I’ve been using locking XSRE miners instead of retrieve balls for a while, as the ball shape can get stuck in the trees crotch. The XSRE biner has a smooth profile and can pass through the ropes braid easily. If you heat the handle end of your chainsaw file and melt a hole through the end of your rope, this makes taking the XSRE on and off easier. I haven’t used the Pebble yet, but as it has a flat profile I imagine is better than balls and cones. I wonder if it's better than the XSRE? For me probably not, but worth checking out anyway. 


Mystery Ranch TOWER 47

This pack is designed for climbers, has a great storage and is compact. Adjustable yoke and a horse shoe opening make it comfy and easy to use. 



Rock climbing belay devices have been used in Tree Climbing for a long time. The Petzl Gri-Gri became popular back in the 1990’s, and after this they made a dedicated Lanyard device called the Grillon, which looks like a Gri-Gri but has a different set of European testing. Later on TRANGO released a small belay device called the CINCH, which became very popular, especially with climbers who were happier using thinner diameter, 10mm or so, lanyards. Interestingly it was found that stuffing an oversized Arborist rope, double braid, into the Cinch reduced its MBS, so the Cinch was to be used with rock climbing dynamic rope. Funny that, a device is better with rope that it has been tested to be used with LOL.


Mad Rock has a Black and Red version, what is different? Well, the Red version ‘LIFE GUARD’ has a spring, which keeps the box cam open. The Black version ‘SAFE GUARD’ has no spring in the cam so is able to close against the rope with very little pressure. Both are better used with Dynamic Rope but the Black version is also OK with semi-static parallel core, for long belays.


It’s better to use the Black version I think. But the Red one has an interesting feature that I like. You see, the spring keeps the cam OPEN, and is able to pay out rope without touching the device. This is unique but obviously has negative implications if the climbers weight is not properly loaded into the rope. What I mean is, under half load the cam springs open and the rope will slip through it, so you need to be aware of this and careful.


Anyway, both versions are at the shop so please come by and check them out! 



Knowledge and techniques are the key to safety and productivity, book yourself on to one of ODSK’s workshops immediately. 

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