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Thread: 540 lead climb

  1. #1
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    Default 540 lead climb

    I was recently told by a rep from traverse rescue that the 540 Belay can be used to belay a lead climb using a static line and a shock absorber. This would be used for a rescuer climbing a tower(cell or crane) to rescue an injured worker. Do any of you have any experience with this application?


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    MembersZone Subscriber truck6alpha's Avatar
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    Okay, I'll be the dummy- what are you referring to?
    Michael "Mick" Mayers
    Acting Director, Urban Search and Rescue
    South Carolina Emergency Response Task Force
    www.sctf1.sc.gov

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    Truck, I'll hook you up: The 540 (small or large) is a belay device, from what pictures I've seen has a center post (double-D shaped) and then two round posts, one that leads to the working end and then another that the rope either being fed out/pulled in brakes against. The top looks like it comes off so you can wrap the rope around the center post for friction. If anybody has used one and I am wrong please tell me!

    Res-q-tek, having never seen one, I obviously haven't used one for that. The catalog I was looking at said the 540 met BCCTR (prolly got the acronym wrong) test: a 280 kg load falling from 1 M with 3 M of rope out, can't produce more than 15kN force. Being a climber, I would have to see somebody else try it first before I get on the sharp end of a static rope...
    ...if you put the handline in the right spot, you won't have to jump out the window...
    -Andy "Nozzles", SQ18, 9-11-01

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    Mr. Freeze, your description of the 540 is correct. The face plate does come off to load the device. We are using it for high angle rescue and love it. It is a very simple device to load and operate. If any of you want to get more info about it you can see it at:
    http://www.traverserescue.com

    I have the info from the manufacturer about the bcctr testing but it did not mention using it for lead climbing which is why I was hoping to get feedback from some of you who may have tried it.

  5. #5
    Keepin it real Fyrechicken's Avatar
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    Or you could use one of these.....
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Keepin it real Fyrechicken's Avatar
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    It's a BMS belay spool, not as pricey as the 540 and does a good job too.......here's a link to the web site with test info on it.

    http://www.bmsrescue.com/bspaper.html

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    MembersZone Subscriber truck6alpha's Avatar
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    Ahhh- something told me that this was a device and not a technique. I'm sitting here reading and saying to myself, "am I missing a technique we're not teaching our personnel? Have I missed the boat?"

    I have seen all kinds of toys out there (which with the money, I'd run out and buy) but we're trying to stretch a budget so we're using the good old fashioned lobster ascent on towers or else performing a lead climb using dynamic line, then locking in at the top and tying off the dynamic and hauling up the static. A little more time consuming, I'm sure, but it works, it's safe, and my chief doesn't look at me cross-eyed when I ask to buy those diamond blades.

    I'll have to get a demo on these babies. Thanks for not making me feel entirely stupid.
    Michael "Mick" Mayers
    Acting Director, Urban Search and Rescue
    South Carolina Emergency Response Task Force
    www.sctf1.sc.gov

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    Res-q-tek, I'll try not to derail the post TOO much, but when a rescuer leads a climb up a manmade structure, what do you use for protection, to clip the rope into as you progress vertically? Climbers use either a quickdraw, two crabs joined by a web runner, with one crab on the rope and the other on a bolt hanger in the rock or a metal cam/chock device with a wire sling for a crab to grab. I figured it would be similar to that...

    Also, if you need additional rescuers at the top, do they ascend the rope or climb?
    ...if you put the handline in the right spot, you won't have to jump out the window...
    -Andy "Nozzles", SQ18, 9-11-01

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    The rescuer doing the climbing carries some short loops of nylon webbing that are pretied and some locking steel carabiners(small NFPA). The webbing is wrapped around a sturdy structural member and the biner clipped into it. A redirect for the recue system is placed above the patient, the ropes are run through the redirect and from there you are in rescue mode. The lowering/raising and the belay are run from the ground. Another option to lead climbing is to use a bridle lanyard to climb the structure which allows multiple rescuers to climb at once, keeping in mind the limitations of the structure. A bridle lanyard is a device which has two lengths of webbing with extra large scaffold carabiners at the ends which can be clipped onto structural members. I think there is a picture of one on the CMC website. It may have a different name. The limiting factor with the bridle lanyard is the size of the carabiner. It will not work on large structural members.

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    This is a picture of the bridle lanyard I referred to in my previous post. It is different than the one on the cmc website. I am still figuring out this computer stuff so please forgive me if this doesn't work.


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    Default belay spool

    Posted above is a picture of a belay spool. The thing we must remember is that the spool doesn't pass the whistle stop test like the 540 does. (540 is an automatic belay where the spool takes grip from the belayer to arrest a fall)
    *~~~John J. Troyer~~~*
    -Sedgwick County FD Wichita, KS
    Lieutenant - Tech Rescue Station #37B
    -Hutchinson Community College
    Instructor - OSHA, Fire, Rescue
    -Norwich Fire Department
    Volunteer Firefighter

    Stay safe and remember, Gravity never sleeps!

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    Default original question

    Oh, I almost forgot the original question. It seems the sales man stated that you could lead climb with a 540 and load limiter (shock absorber). His reasoning might be the fact that the 540 is designed for limited slip, lower shock loads, less rope damage. Then add a shock absorber to take the rest of the shock. However, if you look at the tarverse rescue site, they show the actual force exerted from a factor 1 fall on 3m of rope. The forces are: 12.9 kN (apx. 2,900 lbs. of force). This will make your sewn shock absorber deploy and save your butt (if they truly do). Here in lies the problem. Now that the one use fall protection has deployed, you no longer have protection to either climb down or continue the rescue. The other systems that have been discussed are designed to take a fall and continue. This is how I see it. If I'm missing something let me know.

    P.S. Be careful when using lanyard systems. If not used properly, they can produce extreme shock loads.
    Last edited by fyrfitr42; 09-04-2002 at 01:31 PM.

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    fyrfitr42,
    I had the same concern about the bms belay spool not passing the whistle test but I am not familiar with it so I wasn't sure, thanks for the clarification. I had also thought of the issue with the shock absorber being a one time use item. Carrying an extra shock absorber may solve this problem unless of course you are really clumsy. That is one of the big advantages of using dynamic rope and traditional climbing techniques. Most dynamic ropes will have a 10-12 UIAA fall rating. But then you end up with rope that only serves one purpose. Not very cost efficient in the eyes of the bean counters! Thanks again for all the replies.

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    Hey John, where is Station 37? I have some kin down around the old Debruce (still?) grain elevator, out on West St.
    ...if you put the handline in the right spot, you won't have to jump out the window...
    -Andy "Nozzles", SQ18, 9-11-01

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