Over The Edge

For the past couple of years we have been experimenting with portable high directional edge management systems for our technical rope rescue and recreational rope activities. While the concept is nothing new in the rope rescue world, the cost associated with commercial lightweight systems is sometimes a bit expensive. Add to that a general lack of understanding on how they work, and the result often translates into some rescue teams continuing to use high friction over-the-edge systems. So far, we have built (and fielded) three gin poles (monopods) with all of them being under 5-pounds each. Each has been used for recreational activities (caving and rappelling), as well as rescue training with single-person and two-person loads. Being able to produce these in our own shop from high-strength 7075-T6 Aluminum has allowed us to introduce more rescuers to this lightweight, friction reducing concept. It doesn’t take long for a technician to understand how resultant forces and proper guy line configuration work to produce a rock-solid system, thus making it much easier to raise or lower a rescue load. Lightweight gin poles also make it easier for recreational rope enthusiasts to transition over a difficult edge. While ESEE / RAT has no intentions of producing these systems on a production level, we will continue to experiment and build systems for training and educational purposes.