By Cary Gibson


Rope Wrench ZK-1


Well, to start off, this thing is going to revolutionize tree-climbing as we know it

I have dabbled in SRT in the past, but mostly, it sat in a bag in my kit, used very sparingly.
Until now…

Luke at sent me one, and after initial growing pains, I love this thing, use it all the time and have found more and more, I climb DRT less and less.

I climb on the metal one, the ZK1, but this is just an early version, Kevin already has a smaller, alloy, mid-line attachable one in-works that I get to play with when they are ready

the current model fits from 9-13mm ropes, I’m betting 9 would be a bit small to handle, and 13 is pretty big, plus most ropes 13mm are pretty bouncy-bouncy, like arbormaster.
I am climbing KM111 on it and love it, 11mm is what I climb with all the time anyways, so this is a good fit, albeit,11mm static feels a bit smaller than 11mm standard climbing rope.
I have always read the SRT enthusiasts musings about how much more efficient SRT was for ascending and working, but up till now, most methods were too gear intensive to warrant working with. I would climb up SRT, then switch it all over to DRT, then work, but that is time wasting and you end up sending a bunch of stuff back down.

The wrench basically allows you to work with the familiar drt/ hitch and feel, but doing it on a single rope. The wrench rides on the rope just above the hitch and provided the added friction that a doubled rope gives; very similar to working on a ring to ring F-saver.
The main differences are these:
1) No more having to deal with the giant loop you are tied into via DRT, which as we all know, can be a PIA You don’t have to climb all the way to your TIP, pull all the tail thru and go down the other side to work that side.

2) getting twisted is a thing of the past, ever get in positions where you have to lanyard in, un-clip and untwist all of your rope? well a single line does not do that.

3) You have less rope in the tree with you= less weight= faster, efficient climbing

4) You no longer get stalled on redirects, anybody who climbs a lot, knows that once you start throwing in a redirect or 2 DRT, you pretty much have to work like mad to be able to move. Not so with the wrench, you can drop thru 20 crotches, go around multiple limbs etc. and still maintain the same, smooth, dependable friction, since you are not in the giant loop anymore.

5) And this really hurts me, as you all know, a vast amount of gear is now sitting idle and unused…lol! you can get by with limited stuff with this system, this could be good or bad if you have severe O.C.D.G such as I do.

I found that the standard 11″ tether works great ( this is measured, pulled flat), and that, at least for me and KM111, that 8mm beeline is the best cord, the softer feel really works well, grabs quick and the other benefit is that since the wrench takes a lot of the friction duties; your hitch-cord , even after some big descents, burn-outs and swings, looks pretty much unused! that alone is a money saver.

I also found that by rigging mine into the middle hole on my HC pulley, (RW tether first, the eye and eye over it) you get a nice, tight , responsive rig that does not flop all over like I have seen some other climbers get from rigging it into a separate hole on the HC pulley .

Now it is difficult to body-thrust with, since it is a 1:1, and you have no advantage, but it can be done, and either footlocking the rope or using a pantin is pretty easy, I put one foot on the trunk and the other in the pantin and just pop around real quick for short bursts. For long ascents, the wrench is king.

You simple pop on the pantin, and i have a small cord with 2 mini biners on it that i clip into the loop on the upper back of my Treemotion, over my shoulder and “under” the girth hitch on the tether of the RW. It is pre-measured and once rigged this way, as soon as I start up the rope, it tends the hitch and RW perfectly.

once you want to stop and work, if it is a quick cut, you can leave the cord in place, then move up, if not, un-clip it and it stows on the back of my saddle out of the way.

Limbwalking is easy, going out feels the same as DRT, coming back, I just hand over hand until I need to pull slack out, just like DRT anyways. Now you don’t have the bit of advantage of the DRT loop, but you have the advantage that you are gaining 1 foot for every foot of rope pulled, unlike DRT where you gain a foot for every 2 feet pulled.

and if you get way out and don’t want to or can’t get get back? just drop thru and under and have at it, remember, there is no friction- change, so this is easy-peasy.

The current model is easily made mid-line attachable with a push button auto-locking ball lock pin, Pat is ordering one for me and shipping here to the great white north

I hated the thought of anything being better than my beloved DRT hitchclimber rig, but this is really winning me over with it’s versatility and ease on the body, It took a bit to get the weird feeling of only having one line to be on, swing on, work on and deal with, but it is becoming second nature.

The lack of friction savers ( I don’t know about you guys and gals, but I have spent long periods of time isolating crotches and also, sometimes having to climb back up after a grueling climb to retrieve a stuck f-saver ) and the ability to be able to just throw a line as high as I can and maybe not have the perfect isolated crotch, but still be over a few good limbs, has made set up so much faster.

You can base tie it off and be able to have rescue options, or you can choke it off with a running bowline and have a system to retrieve it after you climb.

On spar removals, I simply tie a running bowline around the trunk and slide it down as I work, you can cinch it tight when you want a break, works great.

Bottom line is this, it saves time = mo $$
it saves effort= mo climbing

I like to tell people this, “Climb smarter, not Harder”, and this little toy does it well.




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