Yesterday during a break we were discussing how sometimes it’s all very well to decide to do something in a certain way, but if the correct tool to do it with is missing – you won’t do it… until the right tool comes along.
A classic example for me to illustrate this is the throw line on a spool or in an old paint bucket. You won’t use it, because the line off the spool is all twisted and really annoying to wind on and off and the paint bucket is just not handy… along comes the folding cube, and hey presto, suddenly your life gets much easier, you use the throw line more – and become more proficient by doing so. Well, most of the time anyways, unless you happen to be having a throw line meltdown day.
The example we were discussing yesterday was securing the load on the back of the vans.
The authorities in Switzerland have become much more restrictive in this matter over the last couple of years – probably rightly so. When we first got a net to cover the brush we got wide mesh nets, with the result that they were really annoying to use as the branches would always get stuck in them, it was hard to install and to remove. The result? Often as not they were not used. Then we found very fine-meshed material – I think that originally the fabric is used to shade green houses – , really tough but still easy to handle. One person can easily cover the load area on the back of a van with it and it’s easy to remove as the branches don’t pass through the mesh.
So, because it’s easy to do so, it gets used.
This got me thinking about lanyards: I think lanyards are a fantastic tool right there on our harness that can be used in many versatile ways. I find it frustrating to see people thinking no further than side D-ring to side D-ring. But often as not, this is because in people’s perception a lanyard is something that’s inconvenient and burdensome.
So, I say, let’s make it easy.
For instance, you might consider how you stow the lanyard. I dislike nothing more than returning from a limb walk to find my feet tangling in the lanyard hanging down behind the adjuster… this will provoke very un-Zen like states in my mind! So you could use a shorter lanyard to prevent this from happening, which seems a pity as you lose versatility – or stow it in multiple loops, so that when you’re not using it, it’s out of the way – and when you do need some extra length, it’s there for taking.
Over the years we used different ways to do this, small prusic loops of accessory cord, short bits of hose – but all of these methods didn’t feed very well.
Gabriele Dovier from Formazione3t in Italy came up with a very elegant solution: Scuba clips. These are used for scuba diving to hold the air hoses. They have two or three open clips that will take a line from 10 to about 11.5mm. If you give the line a tug it’ll pull out, if you pull it steadily, it’ll feed nicely.
So, you just attach it below you lanyard adjuster, stow the lanyard in two loops – and you’re sorted. Most models even have an integrated swivel, which is handy.
With this simple, compact and light solution, that’ll cost you maybe a couple of Euros, you have uncluttered your harness and tidied up your lanyard and by doing so made your life easier. This means you don’t have to focus on messing around with your lanyard, but can rather focus on the climb. Which is a good thing.