Vertical Connect 2016 – looking back

So, vertical connect 2016 has come and gone — seemingly in the blink of an eye…

I am relieved that all went well, happy about the quality of the event and the very positive feedbacks – and rather weary.

What a blast the past few days have been… vertical connect really succeeds in portraying the diversity of professions and the diverse aspects of working on rope:

  • The cave rescue demo by the Spéléo Secours Schweiz-Team was really impressive, lots of counterbalancing, the team working like clockwork, very little tech involved, but rather clever, well applied techniques insensitive to dirt and crud.
  • A deep dive into the characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of synthetic fibers.
  • Multiple presenters discussing how their professions address the issue of creating rope friendly environments.
  • A demo of stunt rigging techniques, this often involves dynamic, spectacular movements that need to be replicable, safe and controlled. I find this use of ropes interesting, because besides safety there are other requirements in play here, specific to this field, such as remote locations, lines often needing to be low profile, specifically tailored low-profile harnesses etc.
  • A wide-ranging, cross-profession discussion regarding anchor point assessment and selection process. Highly interesting to my mind. For the first time it was clearly stated that it is true of all the professions being discussed, i.e. industrial rope access, high-angle rescue and geotech access and arborists techniques, technicians often find themselves in situations without rated anchor points and therefore need to be able to assess and select anchor points suitable to the work planned.. in the past it almost seemed as though this was something that only affected the tree world.
  • Vector forces on anchor points were explained in a very comprehensive manner on bi- and tripods, as well as using worked examples to illustrate vector theory in practical applications.
  • And so on… (lists are never a good idea, as you always leave some things out, which give the impression of rating some higher than others. In this case though, I though all talks and presentations were really good – in fact some even outstanding)

Add to all this a wide range of manufacturers and vendors displaying and demoing their goods, lots of interesting visitors from all sorts of high-angle professions, the fantastic weather… and you end up with a truly memorable event!

(Thanks to Tom Nickel and Dani Vonwiller for their photos)

The dates for next year are 1 and 2 September 2017, the topic for the first day is Connectors, for the second day it is Risk. Also for next year, we will be looking at adding English translation to the French we had this year already – I think this would be a good thing to do. If you have ideas for the topics mentioned above, do not be shy to get in touch. Should you be considering a trip to the area, why not plan it to coincide with next year’s edition of vertical connect? Consider yourself invited.

So, despite the title, this is not just looking back, it is also looking forwards! These kind of platforms are essential to cross-pollinate the various areas of work at height and on rope, to allow the exchange of experience and ideas, to forge friendships and to break down barriers.

Bring on vertical connect 2017, I say.

Just… maybe not tomorrow!