In the many years that I’ve been dabbling in whitewater kayaking technical rope work has always been the hardest thing for me to grasp – I’ve got it nailed now but not after constant repetition of reading the amazing Ww safety books and practice, practice, practice. I’m all for making things easy and I just wish all those decades ago the whetman equipment system was available. It take the mystique out of the black art of ropes and knots. Takes the worry away from do I have the correct kit and skills.
With 2 x Whetman Equipment ring pull prussiks and one 5m python sling, which I use as a cowtail with an added crab, plus my throwline I can build a z drag – no fuss – simple. It uses very little gear, gone are the pullys and the crabs that always seem to get lost.
I’ve demoed the system without the use of any knots. Just a “no knot”. So making sure the wraps are tight I’ve found no issues. Even if it’s a little messy. I’ve also used a water knot in the pic to show the use with a trad tape knot.
The throwline in the example is attached with the crab from the cowtail (I guess you could also knot it too). The ring prussiks sit on the line just as a crab, pulley, prussik combo would – using a third of the gear. This means I can easily get all my gear in my pfd pocket and with room to spare.
Don’t know what else can be said, for me this is an easy minimal gear system and you simply don’t have an excuse not to carry. Has it made my pulleys and crabs obsolete? Yes for all my day runs and fast n’ light expeditions.
Simple is best.
Words and Pictures: Darren Clarkson-King
Darren offers in-house training in the Himalaya and is a consultant for Nepal Association of Rafting Agents (NARA) making a blue print for an Industry standard.
He also paddles a bit.