An update for treeMOTION evo user instructions

Happy days! Teufelberger have updated the user instructions for the treeMOTION evo, now allowing for a direct attachment onto the rope bridge(s) with a EN362 connector.

In chapter 2.4. of the user instructions on page 9 (English version) number 4) is changed as follows:

4) Adjust the length of the rope bridges supporting the rope bridge attachment point ensuring the stopper knots are properly tied, dressed and set before going ‘on rope’. The ring is usually fixed to both rope bridges simultaneously. The rope bridges should be of equal length. They are there for redundancy so that if one rope bridge is e.g. cut, the other one will take over.
It is also possible to use the ring on one rope bridge only. Alternatively one ring may be used on one rope bridge each. This allows for easier change from one anchor point to another and the two rope bridges may be adjusted to different lengths. A second ring may be purchased at Teufelberger. (see chapter on replacement parts). Direct connection to a rope bridge via an EN362 connector is permissible.
Note: Both rope bridges must be mounted on the harness, even if only one is used.

This amendment means that – thankfully – in future attaching in the way shown below is now in line with the user instructions.

Just as a reminder, the other approved means of attachment are via a DMM Anchor Ring or a DMM Axis swivel.

RF tagging it

After having sat on the fence for a while I have finally decided to make the jump and tag all of my PPE with DMM’s ID kits, combined with the Papertrail app.

I have been wondering about this for a while now, but was unsure as to whether the way I use my gear was suited to this kind of tracking. However, having spent some time with the folk of Papertrail at TCI Expo and having spoken at length with Rob at DMM about it, I am very impressed by the depth and flexibility of the system – and decided to give it a crack.

For those of you not familiar with it, Papertrail is a cloud-based app that allows you to catalogue your PPE, giving you access to the full history of any tagged piece of equipment in the field, including instruction manuals, technical spec and safety warnings. It integrates with all of DMM, Teufelberger and Petzl products, with other manufacturers being added to this list. You can export it to a number of formats, for example Excel.

The Papertrail app also integrates seamlessly with DMM’s ID, which uses a range of RF chip formats to label equipment. But it is not specific to the RF/ NF technology, it can also work with QR codes, so this makes it very much future-proof.

I reckon I know what I am going to be doing between Christmas and New Year, tagging myself into a stupor, getting spinny on epoxy fumes 😬

I will keep you posted on how this goes for me… the RF ID part, not the glue sniffing part. That is a bad idea, as everybody knows.

Highlines rock!

Below is a video uploaded by Colin Bugg from Madison, WI, documenting a tree removal, where he and his team dismantled a Honey Locust in a tight location using DMM’s Offya trolley.

While these highline systems may require more equipment and take a while to set up, once they are up and running they are fun, highly efficient as well as having ergonomic benefits.

Thank you, Colin, for a job well done and for taking the time to document it.

It’s tribal, darling

Yesterday I spent the day in the Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center setting up for the TCI Expo which kicks off today. Well, truth be told most of the time I spent drinking coffee and meeting and chatting with people while we waited for the union guys to set up the Teufelberger booth. For the record though, I did help Taylor piece together the DMM truss…

One of the things that always fascinates me about these trade shows is the non-verbal communication which goes on during them. The sociologist Paul Watzlawick famously coined the phrase that you cannot not communicate in his five axiomes in the theory of communication, describing how at some level we are in a constant state of communication from the moment we are born.

I know that a good percentage of the folk rolling up for the show in the next three days will do so in chainsaw or climbing apparel, work or climbing boots or other arb paraphernalia. Which always amuses me as often as not the one thing these venues are completely lacking in is trees, so if you came prepared for anything… you are in for a disappointment. But I do not thing that is what this is about, rather it seems to me to be signalling a tribal affiliation, communicating who or what you are in the arborist community.

My intent is by no means to poke fun at anyone, I realise that I am equally guilty of this. I think what I find interesting about it is that it is such a startling juxtaposition: the sterile, totally artificial environment of these convention centres forming a stark contrast to equipment and attire usually put to work in a natural, outdoor environment. It is also of course a comment on our need to define and affiliate ourselves with one tribe or another – which just goes to show how hardwired some behavioural patterns are in our brains, even after all the millennia since we, as a species, left the African savannah behind us…

Nothing is the new something

Last week we were pruning a large willow, it was Friday, it was raining and I was annoyed with the tree which turned out to be more of a fiddle than I had anticipated.

As was almost to be expected one of the long willow limbs hit the ground point-first, rebounded and gave the front of the Hilux, which I thought I had parked sufficiently far away, a good solid old whack. Grrrr. To my relief one of the employees of the council we were working for took a quick look and shouted up that everything was ok – nothing had happened, no damage.

Well… shortly upon leaving the site I could not help but noticing that this was maybe a somewhat optimistic assessment of the situation…

Having said that, I suppose, when saying “nothing” had happened it is all down to what you define as “something”. What is you reference point? I suppose if the image below were “something”, then agreed, the above is “nothing”… or at least “less”.

This got me thinking about in this way you could simply mentally erase those niggling little damages:

Me: “Oh, ’tis but a scratch, madame”

Client: “But… that branch is sticking out of the insulation of the building!”

Me: “Pfff”

This is probably not going to fly. I think I will stick with trying to do better, trying to avoid preventably damage and striving to make new mistakes rather than repeating old ones.

Oh, and replace the windscreen on the Hilux.

Expect the unexpected

If instructing climbing courses has taught me one thing, it is to expect the unexpected – on a number of levels.

For one thing, working with people new to an activity opens your eyes to how they perceive it. Sometimes a beginner’s eyes will see things hidden from an expert, leading to interesting questions. “Why can’t we do this like this?” “Umm, dunno, good question”. Working through such questions I find helpful to identify problem solving-approaches, explain a rationale, and to remain humble, because for all I know the suggestion being made may be totally viable.

And then there are clusters. One thing that happened a number of times during this last course which frankly I found pretty terrifying, was that two people moved the adjuster of their lanyard from the side D to the DMM Vault behind it where you would normally store the end of the lanyard. When I queried them on why they were doing it they said that it reduced clutter for them – but I am absolutely adamant that if this were to become a habit it is an accident waiting to happen: the likelihood of removing the end of the lanyard from the Vault, clipping it to the D-ring on the other side and then forgetting to move the adjuster from the Vault into the correct position on the D-ring is simply too high. So I nipped that one in the bud.

Then also these two situations. The image on the left occurred whilst discussing placing of redirects. Anticipating the trajectory the connector is going to take during the planned movement is a core aspect of setting a redirect. In this instance the contact between the gate and the structure obviously was an issue.

The image on the right made me smile. Just when you think that something is intuitive, along comes someone to prove you are wrong. In this instance it was the kid on the course who seemed to already know quite a bit – and made sure we knew about it too. Needless to say, the pulleySAVER did not retrieve in this configuration.

Yes, certainly, if teaching teaches you one thing, it is to expect the unexpected, trying to anticipate what might go wrong and to express yourself in the most unambiguous way possible.

Event in Italy

Below is an interview I gave during an event in Erba, in the Como area of Italy with our friends from Formazione 3T.

It is always enjoyable doing this kind of thing when someone actually comes up with interesting questions, and I felt the one regarding advice to arborists at the start of their career was highly relevant – maybe now even more so than at other points in time.

Other than that it was great having the opportunity to meet up with old friends and meet new people during this event, so a big thank you to Ezio, Gabri and the whole crew at Formazione 3T.

Getting things right

Getting things right does not seem to be on the top of everybody’s priority list.

I never cease to be surprised how people and companies often are blissfully ignorant or do not seem to care about the quality of the imagery they use for advertising purposes or otherwise associate with their names. How hard can it be to just check whether the image you plan to use in your ad actually depicts best practise? No, actually that is setting the bar high, I would even settle for minimum acceptable standards. Surely even creatives should get that, let alone soi-disant professionals.

Yet time and again… fail after fail.

No prizes for spotting the glaringly obvious in the image above. Poor chap, did it not occur to anyone to point out before he posed for the Stihl photo shoot that his leg loops were open?! Really?!

An image I loved but sadly seem to have lost in the electronic wilderness that is my laptop’s SSD, is an image used by a UK rope manufacturer, the headline of the ad was “Technical Competence” – yet there, right in the centre of the image, in the focal point, was a climber attached to a line by a cross-loaded connector. Umm, yes, I suppose.

Then this one, which I have discussed before, but remain frustrated by…

Berner Kraftwerke, a Swiss utility company ran a series of ads a while ago portraying their employees. What I like about the image is as opposed to using a scantily- or inappropriately-clad woman to promote a totally unrelated product, this shot actually shows one of BKW’s female apprentices professionally kitted out, I have no issues with that. But did no one realise that the leg loops on her harness were twisted? And that the upper assembly was not attached correctly? Or that the screw gate karabiner was not screwed shut?


So there you go, that sort of stuff irritates me. But then again, if everybody got it right all the time, what would be left to irritate me?!

Safety first

I am fairly sure most of you will have heard by now, Teufelberger have issued a recall on the past five years’ worth of production of Braided Safety Blue climbing lines due to issues with the termination. But just on the off chance that you may not have, I thought it would be an idea to post it here also. Read the full statement regarding the recall and return procedure here.

It should be noted that this recall does not affect any of Teufelberger’s other climbing lines, e.g. Fly, Tachyon, xStatic or drenaLINE – or, come to that, any of the Braided Safety Blue lines with a traditional splice.

Whilst such an extensive recall is always regrettable, I am glad it was caught before someone got hurt and commend Teufelberger for the pro-active course of action they have decided to pursue in order to sort this out.

So, should you have a Braided Safety Blue with a slaice termination in service produced between 2014 and 2019, follow the steps outlined in the recall document to return it – and if you are unsure whether you might be affected or not, send Teufelberger a mail to