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    Default High Strength Tie Off

    This posting is fueled by my curiosity. How many of you out there utilize a high strength tie off for an anchor attachment when possible? Something I've noticed through training classes and teams that I'm on is that it's often overlooked. Guys are more likely to just wrap an object, tie a knot, clip in and go.
    I'll be the first to admit I can get a bit carried away and "anal" when it comes to rigging but in my eyes I want to have a solid system and keep it as strong as I can. Maybe guys simply forget that a loaded knot weakens the rope.....Maybe they're not concerned about it. My stance is that all the weak points in your system will add up so why not avoid putting one in.
    Has anyone else out there experienced this?
    Thanks,
    Mike Donahue
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    Great tool for the toolbox, especially for situations where equipment is limited. Just remember the smaller the diameter of your anchor the more wraps you'll need to achieve the required torsional friction, and neatness counts, everything wrapped tight and stacked without crossing. Quick, simple, effective, & most of all can be done with nothing other than a rope. Great way to eliminate a point of weakness in a system especially if it can't be avoided somewhere else.
    John D. Calamia, BS, NREMTP, FP-C
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProgressiveRescue View Post
    .........Something I've noticed through training classes and teams that I'm on is that it's often overlooked.
    I think maybe this is more due to folks realizing that it is usually unnecessary.

    Quote Originally Posted by ProgressiveRescue View Post
    ......a solid system and keep it as strong as I can.
    I prefer to go with "strong as it needs to be", as I think it leads to cleaner rigging. Otherwise, "strong as I can" leads to redundatitis and an overuse of gear.

    Quote Originally Posted by ProgressiveRescue View Post
    ......all the weak points in your system will add up.....
    The weakest point in a system is just what it is. It is not to be "added" to another other point.

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    I agree with Eric on this and was going to post similar points, but he beat me to it... and put it more succinctly than I would have, too.


    A system with many weak points is just a weak system. They don't add up, you're only as strong as your weakest point. If weak points added up, you could tie ten in line 8s in a row and, assuming they each reduced the strength of your rope by 30%, you would have a rope that falls apart with no load after the fourth knot because the weak points added up.

    We know this doesn't happen, but I think it shows the fallacy of weak points adding up.

    FWIW though, I think the high strength tie off is a good topic of conversation and is shockingly similar to a "lively discussion" that we had at work last week about the exact same thing. While doing a low tension highline, another fellow was arguing for an anchor that you could "hang a firetruck on". While I agreed that the rescuer on the track line needed to lose a few lbs (or N's for the metric crowd) we shouldn't resort to calling him names.
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    Quote Originally Posted by EricUlner View Post
    I think maybe this is more due to folks realizing that it is usually unnecessary.



    I prefer to go with "strong as it needs to be", as I think it leads to cleaner rigging. Otherwise, "strong as I can" leads to redundatitis and an overuse of gear.



    The weakest point in a system is just what it is. It is not to be "added" to another other point.
    I think John said it best "It's a tool in your tool box"
    Don't misunderstand my post clean rigging is always a must and my choice of words when I said "all your weak points will add up" sounded better in my head. I can't agree with you when you say it's usually unnecessary because if you can use it and it retain 100% rope strength why not use it? Granted its use is really based on your operation and weather you can go from anchor to the ground without a knot like lowering with a rack.
    I personally like high strength tie off but don't get me wrong I don't use it all the time I think it's operational specific and maybe even rescuer specific.
    Great feedback.
    Mike
    "Training Prepares You...For Moments That Define You

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    I didn't say it is not a tool. Sure, for highlines. And on occasion, it's a tool not for the added strength, but for the purpose of keeping the anchor point on the side of the anchor object. Otherwise, if a type of bowline knot or becket bend will suffice (key word- suffice), I'll take time efficiency and not unnecessarily using up extra rope over unnecessary higher strength.

    And since an offset would be most likely used instead of a highline if lateral movement is needed in an operation, I think I'm accurate in saying that the HSTO would be seldom needed.

    Otherwise, to use the HSTO just because it it's stronger kind of hints at an irrational fear and/or lack of understanding of just how strong the ropes we use are. Just saying...

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    Quote Originally Posted by EricUlner View Post
    I didn't say it is not a tool. Sure, for highlines. And on occasion, it's a tool not for the added strength, but for the purpose of keeping the anchor point on the side of the anchor object. Otherwise, if a type of bowline knot or becket bend will suffice (key word- suffice), I'll take time efficiency and not unnecessarily using up extra rope over unnecessary higher strength.

    And since an offset would be most likely used instead of a highline if lateral movement is needed in an operation, I think I'm accurate in saying that the HSTO would be seldom needed.

    Otherwise, to use the HSTO just because it it's stronger kind of hints at an irrational fear and/or lack of understanding of just how strong the ropes we use are. Just saying...
    You make some good points Eric. The great thing about this forum is everybody in it has their own opinion. Like I said earlier the use of the HSTO is operational and really rescuer specific. The use of it may not be based on fear and lack of understanding it could purely be based on the situation on hand.
    There's a lot of new members in the forum as well as members that may not have such an extensive background on rope and to totally discount it doesn't do the newer members any justice. Please don't take that the wrong way your posts are full of knowledge and valued. The main idea behind the post is to get some feedback and a feel for everyones thoughts on it and provide the newer members some knowledge and ideas from both sides of the coin....Which is whats happening.
    Thanks Eric,
    MIke
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProgressiveRescue View Post
    ...the use of the HSTO is operational
    If you're using the term "operational" as in the term ops level versus tech level, I'll have to disagree. The primary two reasons in rope rescue to use a HSTO I state in my earlier post in this thread. For both, I would consider them to be beyond the scope of beginner/intro/ops level training.

    If you're using the term "operational" to mean that the use of a HSTO depends on the operation at hand, then I can agree with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by ProgressiveRescue View Post
    ...to totally discount it doesn't do the newer members any justice.
    I don't believe I "totally discounted" the HSTO tool. I only was clarifying the seldom true need for it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by EricUlner View Post
    If you're using the term "operational" as in the term ops level versus tech level, I'll have to disagree. The primary two reasons in rope rescue to use a HSTO I state in my earlier post in this thread. For both, I would consider them to be beyond the scope of beginner/intro/ops level training.

    If you're using the term "operational" to mean that the use of a HSTO depends on the operation at hand, then I can agree with that.



    I don't believe I "totally discounted" the HSTO tool. I only was clarifying the seldom true need for it.
    Hey Eric,
    I did mean operational as in operation specific not Operation Level as in the training level.
    As far as me saying you discounting the HSTO I apologize I think points can be misconstrued sometimes when read as opposed to talking to someone.
    Thanks as always for the input Eric,
    Mike
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    Our team rarely uses the high strength tie off, in fact it has been all but eliminated from the operations level program.
    Personally, I don’t see much application for the HSTO during the vast majority of rope rescue operations.
    I've seen guys use this technique when trying to anchor around a large object, such as an elevator penthouse on the roof. Since their webbing is (way) too short the rescuer uses rope. The anchoring technique that he is familiar with that uses rope is the HSTO. However, in this case strength is not the issue, it’s the physical size of the object; meaning the HSTO isn’t the best choice.
    Simply basket hitching a length of rope around an object is more than sufficient. It is much faster, far easier and uses less rope. If you like, you can even make several separate attachments using a single rope. Here's a video of a guy doing just that:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZLA-..._order&list=UL
    There are times when you might want to tie this rope into a loop (rather than use the basket hitch) and that would be fine too; the strength of a loop of 9000 MBS rope will be more than sufficient... in fact I’d say it’s even stronger than the HSTO.
    By the way, if you intend to use the HSTO attachment for your lowering/belay/raising/etc. system, about the only way to connect to it is to tie a knot in standing part of the rope (so you can clip in your rack/prusiks, pulley/etc.). By doing so you have just eliminated the intended advantage of the HSTO... you knotted the rope!
    Many people claim that the HSTO is “easy”, yet I frequently see people incorrectly rig this “easy” anchoring method, most often by not eliminating the slack in the running end as it attaches to the standing portion.
    Reserve the HSTO for the application it was intended for; where the full strength of the rope is required (generally highlines)... but even that could be debated (some other day).
    Dave

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    Took me a few minutes; ""Tensionless Hitch". That is all we call it, not HSTO. This actually now interests me, as in the tensionless hitch is viewed as some special anchor? It is just a common anchor for us, looses only 5% (everyone uses different numbers) on the System Safety Factor, used anytime that we intend to put load forces over a general load on the system.

    Here is the fun part as stated prior. Your SSF finds the application (knot, rope or hardware) that is the weakest, they don't add up. If you use a HSTO and anchor the other side with a bowline, you still are loosing 30% efficiency in the rope.

    Aim for a 7:1 SSF, less might be acceptable based on the application. Cruise ships use a 1.5 to 1, and airliners use a 1.1 to 1.
    ~Drew
    Firefighter/EMT/Technical Rescue
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    Default Strong work RescueMike!

    I’m totally with you RescueMike, I’ve been in this business a long time and I would not think of rigging a single point anchor that wasn’t a high strength tie off (tensionless hitch). A matter of fact, I like to rig my marginal anchors with tensionless hitches as well. I know the book calls for a minimum of 6 wraps…but I like to go with eight for bombproof anchors and 12 wraps for marginals…you can never be too careful! In addition I like to secure the end of the rope with a Triple Loop Figure of Nine…after all…this IS a high strength tie off. These guys that advocate simply tying a loop to an anchor (especially that dangerous bowline) need to take a few of your courses to really understand what truly unsafe and exceedingly redundant rescue rigging is all about. In closing, do you think I need to rig a pruooosik bypass on my Triple Loop Figure of Nine end knot?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheelbarrow Rescue Man View Post
    I’m totally with you RescueMike, I’ve been in this business a long time and I would not think of rigging a single point anchor that wasn’t a high strength tie off (tensionless hitch). A matter of fact, I like to rig my marginal anchors with tensionless hitches as well. I know the book calls for a minimum of 6 wraps…but I like to go with eight for bombproof anchors and 12 wraps for marginals…you can never be too careful! In addition I like to secure the end of the rope with a Triple Loop Figure of Nine…after all…this IS a high strength tie off. These guys that advocate simply tying a loop to an anchor (especially that dangerous bowline) need to take a few of your courses to really understand what truly unsafe and exceedingly redundant rescue rigging is all about. In closing, do you think I need to rig a pruooosik bypass on my Triple Loop Figure of Nine end knot?
    Dude,

    There is a lot of trash talking to be found on plenty of forums, this one has remained civil and a good place to exchange ideas and explain one's stance and have critical feedback provided. There is a lot of disagreement, but it has always appeared to me to be constructive.

    While I do not think Mike has all of the answers and I disagree with him often, I think he is doing a good job of moderating this forum and is willing to put a topic out there for discussion. That's more risk than you're willing to take apparently.

    Thanks for your valuable input Wheelbarrow Rescue Man or Early Power Nut or whatever other one post name you want to use this time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCFDRescue2 View Post
    Dude,

    There is a lot of trash talking to be found on plenty of forums, this one has remained civil and a good place to exchange ideas and explain one's stance and have critical feedback provided. There is a lot of disagreement, but it has always appeared to me to be constructive.

    While I do not think Mike has all of the answers and I disagree with him often, I think he is doing a good job of moderating this forum and is willing to put a topic out there for discussion. That's more risk than you're willing to take apparently.

    Thanks for your valuable input Wheelbarrow Rescue Man or Early Power Nut or whatever other one post name you want to use this time.
    Rescue2,
    I agree with you in part; this forum has been extremely civil…there we uncover the problem; the readers of Mikes misguided information like you have been too civil. Good job moderating? Really? I would have to fervently disagree with the lack of trash talk…everything I’ve seen or read from RescueMike about rigging has been nothing but trash! The only thing he is presenting is what not to do. As first, several of us thought that maybe he was pulling our leg. His lack of knowledge of a very technical subject is highly evident…unfortunately many people starting out in this vocation may read his “trash talk” and think this really does have something to do with rescue rigging. Those who publicly promote blatant ignorance of such an important subject need to be exposed. The idea that someone with this obvious lack of rigging skills even has a forum on rescue is laughable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheelbarrow Rescue Man View Post
    I’m totally with you RescueMike, I’ve been in this business a long time and I would not think of rigging a single point anchor that wasn’t a high strength tie off (tensionless hitch). A matter of fact, I like to rig my marginal anchors with tensionless hitches as well. I know the book calls for a minimum of 6 wraps…but I like to go with eight for bombproof anchors and 12 wraps for marginals…you can never be too careful! In addition I like to secure the end of the rope with a Triple Loop Figure of Nine…after all…this IS a high strength tie off. These guys that advocate simply tying a loop to an anchor (especially that dangerous bowline) need to take a few of your courses to really understand what truly unsafe and exceedingly redundant rescue rigging is all about. In closing, do you think I need to rig a pruooosik bypass on my Triple Loop Figure of Nine end knot?
    Although I am in agreement with the very limited need for the HSTO, reading this post made my eyes bleed. Shows a definite lack of class.

    As far a using large objects as anchors, we've had success "slinging" big fat basalt columns with something we call the "football knot anchor". I don't know if there's a more acceptable term for it. I found it in a document called "Considerations for Rope Rescue in 2009" by Ken Laidlaw. I can't recall whether or not he calls it the football knot anchor.

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    I've used this "football" type of anchor multiple times after reading Mr. Laidlaw's position paper, "Considerations for Rope Rescue 2009". It's worked well for our purposes in an urban/suburban setting where sometimes the only bombers you have are too large for a wrap 3 pull 2 or conventional anchor strap.

    The part that I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around in Eric's thinking is why wouldn't you use a technique that maintains more strength than let's say securing the rope with a bowline? In my mind, if I have the option of losing or maintaining strength, I'm going to try and accomplish the later. In no way am I "bashing", just trying to understand. Is this train of thought purely from the position that the loads we are placing on the system are much less than the rating of the rope and that maintaining all 9000 lbs MBS is not really necessary, or is there something else that I'm overlooking.
    Last edited by jdcalamia; 10-13-2011 at 08:28 AM.
    John D. Calamia, BS, NREMTP, FP-C
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    We use the HSTO for applications where the full strength of the rope needs to be maintained e.g. highlines. "Full strength" implys no knots in the rope.

    When used as an anchor for a standard lower/raise system, an HSTO will be connected to the rest of the system through a loaded knot. This simply defeats the purpose of the HSTO.

    You could use rigging like that shown in the attachment to maintain the full strength of the anchor rope, but: (1) There'll still be a knot in the main line in order to connect it to the patient package. This will also defeat the purpose of the HSTO and (2) Why would you want to use such rigging when a W3P2 suffices?

    Look at the math: A 40 kN rope is good for roughly 40 kN when used in a HSTO. A W3P2 is good for 50+ kN at an inner leg angle of 90 degrees, and even more for smaller angles.

    It's not an issue of safety, just efficiency. If somebody pre-rigged two HSTOs (main line and belay) for me, I'd use them; since they're already rigged and I'm not the one who has to mess with getting the wraps nice and clean.

    The key here is that the weakest link in your system determines the SSSF. For most applications, the knot in the main line at the patient package determines the SSSF. You could use rigging like shown in the attachment, but, the necessary knot in the mainline will make such rigging pointless.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    "[QUOTE=jdcalamia;1299755]I've used this "football" type of anchor multiple times after reading Mr. Laidlaw's position paper, "Considerations for Rope Rescue 2009". It's worked well for our purposes in an urban/suburban setting where sometimes the only bombers you have are too large for a wrap 3 pull 2 or conventional anchor strap. "

    I gotta ask, why not just wrap a length of rope around an object, terminate with two figure eights, and connect using a biner or delta? i.e. basket configuration. That will yield you plenty of strength, save rope over the "football", and remain incredibly simple.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheelbarrow Rescue Man View Post
    Rescue2,
    I agree with you in part; this forum has been extremely civil…there we uncover the problem; the readers of Mikes misguided information like you have been too civil. Good job moderating? Really? I would have to fervently disagree with the lack of trash talk…everything I’ve seen or read from RescueMike about rigging has been nothing but trash! The only thing he is presenting is what not to do. As first, several of us thought that maybe he was pulling our leg. His lack of knowledge of a very technical subject is highly evident…unfortunately many people starting out in this vocation may read his “trash talk” and think this really does have something to do with rescue rigging. Those who publicly promote blatant ignorance of such an important subject need to be exposed. The idea that someone with this obvious lack of rigging skills even has a forum on rescue is laughable.
    First I'd like to thank you for your valuable input to the forum. Considering you have only two posts either means you've joined the forum to disrupt it with useless ignorant trash talk or you're a current forum member who decided he needed to hide behind a fake screen name in order to voice his opinion. Whatever your reasoning might be is something you need to deal with yourself. You're entitled to your opinion of me just like anybody else and being that I expose myself (my true self) I guess I open myself to guys like you. I'm fine with that, it comes with the territory. I've been taught by enough outstanding instructors and officers in my career that the nonsense you post is just that. If you're an instructor I hope you lead and teach with a better attitude than you share in this forum or I hope your students are generously blinded as to your true colors.
    One of the best aspects of this forum is hearing everybody's ideas and takes of different situations. Not everybody does it one way. If your technique or idea is better than mine I'll be the first to say thanks. This forum should be about sharing knowledge and ideas not peacocking through text to show how smart you are.
    To all the members who actually add intellect and substance to our little world here.....Thank You.
    As for my original post I feel I need to clarify. The HSTO isn't my be all end all anchor system. Rereading my original post it may have come across as such. I posted this topic because I think a lot of guys totally discount it. It has its time and place and I agree could be replaced by something else. I purely wanted some feedback on what you may have encountered as far as its use. All the posts so far except 2 have given that.
    Thanks,
    Mike Donahue
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    [QUOTE=collinmoon;1299896]"
    Quote Originally Posted by jdcalamia View Post
    I've used this "football" type of anchor multiple times after reading Mr. Laidlaw's position paper, "Considerations for Rope Rescue 2009". It's worked well for our purposes in an urban/suburban setting where sometimes the only bombers you have are too large for a wrap 3 pull 2 or conventional anchor strap. "

    I gotta ask, why not just wrap a length of rope around an object, terminate with two figure eights, and connect using a biner or delta? i.e. basket configuration. That will yield you plenty of strength, save rope over the "football", and remain incredibly simple.
    Can't think of a reason not to use the basket configuration; it maintains an adequate SSSF. But, use a delta link to avoid three way loading of the carabiner, or, if you don't have a delta link, use the option in the attached picture.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    in reference to the basket webbing anchor. this is an anchor to have available in the toolbox, a problem i've run into with it is that it always wants to fall down the object it's wrapped around. if you are wanting to hold the position you set the anchor at a w3p2 is a much bettwer option. something else to consider might be something that uses rope. the blitz anchor is something that comes to mind here, basically it's rope around an object (you can put an extra wrap to hold it up like a w3p2, in this case it'd be a w2p1) joined with a double becket w/ double overhand, becket retrace, or a F8 bend. the anchor is complete by then clipping a F8 bight into the loop formed around the anchor. with a carabiner.
    My opinions posted here are my own and not representative of my employer or my IAFF local.

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    The new CMC Fast Link Anchor Straps with the Delta Tri Screw link are nice. Very durable and pre-rigged for quick deployment.
    Mike
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    Quote Originally Posted by ProgressiveRescue View Post
    The new CMC Fast Link Anchor Straps with the Delta Tri Screw link are nice. Very durable and pre-rigged for quick deployment.
    Mike
    Mike, I just do not get it. Why buy hardware ($70-80) that is limited in use when a single piece of 20' webbing with a water knot ($8) does the same?
    ~Drew
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    Quote Originally Posted by FiremanLyman View Post
    Mike, I just do not get it. Why buy hardware ($70-80) that is limited in use when a single piece of 20' webbing with a water knot ($8) does the same?
    HA! You're 100% right but I'm a gadget guy . I of course use webbing as well but I pull those out as also.
    Mike
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    I love the HSTO for simple single track high-lines. What is more simple than handing a guy a rope with a figure 8 and biner attached and saying "go wrap that around the tree..." Then you take your handy internal progress capture like a ID or CMC MPD (for those rich rescuers...) and now you have a really pretty high-line that can also be moved in the vertical environment.

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