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Dilz

Sub-zero

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looking for any heads up advice for climbing in regular subzero temperatures

-10 +, my recent expereince has lead me to decide that drying out your gear is real important - after 15 minutes last week my rope was stiffer than my flip line, my VT was a popice and didnt grip and gates on my grabs were covered in ice.....

any advice on what to watch out for and what gear is good to have would be cool.

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Stick your ropes and kit on the heaters in the van, when it is warm, race up the tree, do the job quick and get back in the van and drink tea whilst thawing the kit on the heaters again.

 

Tried and tested!

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Not done tree surgery that cold but used to do Rope Access work offshore. One trip it was -40 with the wind chill :( What we used to find is that the more aluminium gadgets you can use instead of rope (ie prussiks, VTs etc) the better as they behave more consistently in the cold. Also, (Easier on a full body RA harness) use chest loops to store your gear you arent using and put a coat over the top. The body heat keeps them semi warm. We used to have to keep Sikaflex and all sorts down your boiler suit otherwise they wouldn't come out of the tube :) Other than that not much to say really. Keep moving bits like krab gates clean and dry as poss. (Airline) to prevent ice. Also, we were always told you should never climb on frozen rope as its strength is reduced by quite a bit. I've seen this in action with lifting strops on a crane. Maybe consider spare ropes etc and change over - not sure how practical this would be for whatever you are doing?

 

James

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good advice - have found from a few weeks in it that, drying ropes fully is a must, a prussik loop works better, so have one for back up. keeping moving, staying out of the wind, good clothes - baselayer, insulation layer, company t-shirt, micro fleece + windstopper jacket. Snoods are the best (tube scarf) you can set them up as a balaclava with just your eyes showing, or just round your neck and fits well under a helmet, ski goggles also are good can completly cover up your face. Glovewise, well still not sure - am planning to try thermal glove liners with marrigold washing up gloves - these are grippy and water tight so when you put your hands in snow on the branches they dont get wet, liners keep you warmer - though can still be a bit grim. Fleeced lined insoles in my boots, thin socks with ski socks over the top.

As for the work - dont rush too much - i have found branches shatter with just the a tap on top with a saw.

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Glad its going well mate. From experiance - Gloves: Medical gloves to keep your hands dry, thin cotton gloves for dexterity (and to stop you sticking to metal stuff!) with work gloves of your choice on top. If its really cold, put a thick layer of vaseline or deep heat on your hands before the medical gloves. As for head gear, nothing really beats a zero hood. They dont fit they petzl hats straight from factory so you have to make you own cradle slits with a stanley knife. Layers is the way forward. We found not much beats the Helly Hansen triple layer system with waterproof / fleece lined overalls on top as appropriate. Basically its a really thin base layer, thickish second layer (Bit like jogging bottoms) and a breathable top layer. Thing is HH do the system for balaclavas and socks as well.

 

Hard Hats, Safety Glasses and Ear Defenders

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