My account was 'inactive' but new life has been breathed into me...whew!
When I was at the Charlotte TCC I talked with Paul Cox, the inventor of the Wraptor about his latest invention, the Hitch Hiker. He gave me one to field test.
Here are some details.
Paul said that it is likely to be for sale by mid-summer. Don't hold your breath though. There are all sorts of roadblocks and detours that could popup between then and now.
The one that I have is pretty close to what the production model will look like.
In order to attach the Hitch Hiker the cord, in my case New England Ropes HRC, has to be tied with VERY short tails. The tail is the portion of the hitch cord from where it exits the hitch and where the anchor knot starts. The Double Fisherman's is the proven and trusted anchor knot. A figure eight would not be a good choice here for many reasons. The first is that it would be really hard to untie once it's loaded by the 'dogbone' slider part.
The HH acts just like a well-tuned slack tender under a traditional DdRT setup. In fact, better! A lot of slack tenders are configured with multiple pieces of gear. This leads to a chain effect and there is some sit-back or loss of 'lift' because of the distance between the bottom of the hitch and where the slack tender sits before being lifted. The Hitch Hiker has little to no slack if the tails are short. It also acts like a fairlead for the climbing rope. Think of how a Gibbs or Microcender work to funnel the rope into the cam.
The slot for the dogbone and the lower biner rope capture work like dimmer/volume switches. The friction that comes into the system is smooth going up or down.
One issue that some people have with the Unicender is that they have a hard time modulating a smooth descent. It is possible to be smooth and not jerky but it takes a gentle hand. In DdRT our hands are taught to grab hard and pull. In SRT the loads and forces are closer to 1:1 so a change is needed.
The Rope Wrench and Hitch Hiker are friction modulators.
During the 2005 climbing season [March through December in Minneapolis] I went through as many hitches, hitch cords, ropes and climbing styles using just a hitch on SRT. After the season long test my conclusion was that the solution for a cordage hitch would need something like a Bachmann. There are examples in Gary Storrick's site:http://storrick.cnc.net/VerticalDevices ... KnotA.html
Bachmann is only one, what I concluded was that rope/rope wasn't going to work.
The next spring I crossed paths with Morgan Thompson and the Unicender. That stopped any interest in finding a solution because the Uni did everything that I wanted.
Fast forward...F8 Revolver...Rope Wrench...OAR descenders...Hitch Hiker.
The HH is stout! The spine, between the cheek plates is thick aluminum. A steel biner must be used for the lower attachment since there is rope movement.
My forecast is that many more DdRT hitch climbers will make the conversion to SRT using the Hitch Hiker. The action and setup is most like trad DdRT setups. Hitch above/slack tender below.
It would be super simple to add a tether to the upper part so that the HH could be used like a lower/chest ascender in a Frog Walker setup. With a long, adjustable tail or adjustable bridge on the harness like I use it would easy to have the HH become the upper ascender too. This flexibility in SRT systems allows for real easy solutions and customizing.
Another SRT note...TCIA has gathered a team of SRT climbers to work on a Best Management Practices Manual for SRT. There are very diverse climbers and we will come to agreement for the BMP. The Manual is scheduled to be available, at the latest, at TCIA Expo next November in Baltimore.
SRT is here to stay and getting better!