Two Letters Re: Basic Climbing Gear for Preppers

After reading the article about climbing gear I thought I would add in a few notes.  Being a member of a technical rope team for Search and Rescue in an area of southwestern Colorado, I have all the gear mentioned by T.F. This type of gear has so many uses other than just climbing and rappelling.  I take basic gear (harness, rope, carabiners, webbing, prusiks, and pulleys) on every hunting trip.  It has so many uses from hauling game out of hard to get areas, river crossings, making a rope bridge, amongst other things.  I also use it every time I go onto my roof to shovel snow.

Metal roofs are not always easy to shovel or repair, especially when wet.  The house I once owned had a very poor design in that it had two valleys that always trapped snow.  Using a tie off with a tree and going up onto the roof allowed me to shovel without worrying about the 30 foot fall off the front of the house.  My neighbors use to give me grief for using it but I didn’t want to be the guy in the paper who died with a few grand worth of safety equipment in the garage.  When in doubt, rope up.

The gear list T.F. mentions is great but expensive.  However, a good harness is not a necessity, some 1 inch tubular webbing could be used to make waist and chess harness and not cost you between $50 and $100.  Also, sewn runners are also more expensive that 1 inch webbing.  A water knot can be used and you can adjust the length of the runner and use the webbing for other uses.  For any rock climbing where I am wearing a harness for more than 15 minutes I would want a padded harness.  

I can’t stress how strong they make climbing ropes these days.  A friend of mine and I tested one of our older climbing ropes at his fathers mechanic shop.  We raised and dropped a V8 engine 12 times before it broke at a height of 20 feet.  We were shocked.  

Other gear that I would add for basic home use that is not needed for climbing are pulleys and prusiks.  With a few pulleys you can create so much mechanical advantage to raise a wood stove into place, move an engine, or move game all with one person.  Prusiks are a length of 6mm or 8mm cord with a double fisherman attaching the ends.  By wrapping around the rope (search Internet for pictures) you can create ascenders, and hold rope in place and create safety lines.  The prusik is in my top 3 pieces of gear I do not leave home without.  

Check REI outlet and sierra trading post for good deals on climbing equipment.  I do see some for sale in the paper every now and again and would not advise buying it that way.  A dropped carabiner on a rock could create a stress fracture and deem it unsafe.  Also, you don’t know how someone treated their rope or other equipment.  

Great blog and keep up the good work.  I appreciate every article I read on here. – D.M.

I agree wholeheartedly with the idea of basic climbing gear and knowledge being an incredibly handy item to prep and ad into the stockpile.  One resource I would recommend is looking in your area for arborist supply stores or of course online.  The gear arborist’s use is rated for commercial daily use and is also more abrasion resistant as it is intended to rub against the ark of the tree while climbing.  The downside will be in pounds as the gear will be more heavy however when trusting my life and the lives of those most important to me I could handle the extra weight.  Again the same warning without proper training and technique this could prove deadly, get educated. – Michael M.