Working at Height: What’s In Your Rigging Kit?
I’m headed on a rope access job in a stadium and putting together my gear. Stadiums are a fun climb and a great workout. Lots of stairs and a lot of trips up and down a rope. There’s a lot of risk with stadiums because you’re forced to make a lot of decisions that may have some big implications on your overall quality of life.
This is where SPRAT is succeeding with the standards they’ve set and the culture of rope techs they’re creating. We are taking a consistent and systematic approach to situations that could get us seriously injured or killed. Stadiums are very dynamic in terms of planning, assessing and overall hazard awareness. There’s a lot of slinging I beams, aiding through the steel, rigging, clipping and un-clipping. Not to mention everything that everybody else has going on around you. The success of projects this big comes from careful planning.
I use a lot of Petzl gear mainly because it’s tough, easy to use and reliable. Equipment management is a key part of any rope access program and all gear is inspected before and after each job.
Here’s the packing list for my rigging kit:
Harness- Petzl Avao Bod Fast Croll (Anybody tried the Astro yet?)
Petzl Podium – Any time you’re hanging in a harness for more than 15 minutes put a work seat under your booty. Hanging in a harness for hours at a time is hard work. The podium sits you in a more comfortable position and helps you make it though the day.
Petzl Vertex Vent – breathable and lightweight.
Petzl Rig – The new one is sweet. Auto locking and you can ascend without having to open the handle. Handles the rope well during long descents.
Petzl ASAP Lock – Best back-up in the game. Intuitive, self-trailing and hard to defeat. Doesn’t like the cold or wet too much but otherwise it’s my go-to back-up device.
Petzl Ascension – handle ascender used to grab a rope and climb or pull rope through a mechanical advantage system.
2 x Sterling Marathon Lanyard 80cm – The 80cm is the perfect length for a ventral connection. I replaced the delta link that connects the top and bottom of my harness with a ring and put these lanyards in the ring. A colleague told me that during testing quicklinks on a ventral connection were breaking.
1 x Sterling Marathon Lanyard 60cm – connected to the sternal, comes in handy when climbing around stadiums.
Petzl Rollclip Z + Tibloc – Small kit used to make mechanical advantage quickly. Lightweight and there if you need it.
Petzl Grillon – MVP of the rope Access kit. There’s so much you can do with a Grillon and it’s gotten me out of jams. Need to adjust your rigging while you’re already on it? Grillon dead hang. Need to tension ropes? Grillon. Need a work-positioner? Grillon. Need to pick off a casualty? Grillon. Tag line not quite long enough to make the ground? Extend that thing 3m with a Grillon! I could go on.
3 x Bluewater Rhino Slings – These things are bomber. It’s basically a sling inside of a sling and they break at like 11,000lbs. The sling inside is bright orange which serves as a wear indicator. They hold on to steel really well and are easy to have on the harness.
Petzl Am’D/OK carabiners – a variety of aluminum triple lock carabiners.
Yates 12ft Free fall Y Lanyards – It seems like the Europeans are concerned about how far you fall and the Americans are concerned with impact forces during falls. I typically work off the marathon lanyards all I can but sometimes it doesn’t work out. The thought of falling 12ft before I’m caught is slightly terrifying. However, they’re a necessary evil.
Leatherman – multi tool. Always useful.
2ft loop of 1” webbing sewn – used for rescue.
Safe-Tec Duck – I keep a couple of these with me, but, rarely used as a back-up. There’s too many ways to defeat them. Great for pull throughs though. Another necessary evil.
Petzl Pro Traxion – There’s a lot of things going up and going down and the pro traxion handles it all on this job.
It’s all about being safe and feeling comfortable. These are the tools that I use. It’s always good to talk gear, what’s in your rigging kit?
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