TIBLOCS

this comes after years of seeing the subject mishandled.

my use of tiblocs is extensive: for simul-climbing a bit, but more from using them as parts of rope access and rescue to ascend, haul, tension and provide back up to all sorts of systems. part of my training was technical rope work with the CIC canyoning organization from Europe – arguably the most intensive rope training around (canyoning leaves climbing in the dust when it comes to rope work) and arguably the most accountable and researched. the CIC are a standard themselves when it comes to anything involving ropes and water in Europe, the guys who run it being called in by governments to assess accidents, form reports etc. they consult to Petzl for those who know what that entails.

anyway, tiblocs are not the simple little gizmos they appear to be, and they are rigged incorrectly much of the time. ive seen images in industry material showing them unknowingly rigged wrong.

the thing is, climbers usually know the tibloc as an ascending device, or used simply upside down for simul-climbing. in this respect the device could be used incorrectly for years without noticing. by comparison, during canyoning and rescue training, rig a tibloc incorrectly wrong once and you have just failed the entire day – its that serious. in CIC language its referred to as a ‘kill’, because in reality it could be.

got it?

so here it is. but before anyone gets heavy over it – this is just my thoughts on the matter. yes, i was trained and certified in this way, but whats here is my own telling. those who taught me may have changed for some reason im not up to speed with. likewise, if YOU go and apply whats here thats YOUR responsability. look deeper into it than someone you dont know on the internet. dont say your werent informed.

tibloc simul-climbing WRONG

KILL!! a tibloc rigged incorrectly: note that the karabiner is clipped thru the hole towards the opening of the tibloc

rigged incorrectly a tibloc is a death trap. i venture to wonder how much of the tiblocs mystique as a rope stripper and unreliable is due to this. rigged as above is wrong on so many levels it almost deserves the enigma. like this you are loading the weakest part of the device. more so, the force when applied is not directed totally into cinching mode, putting more of the load into the teeth on the inside.

rigged this way the tibloc will not haul, rather than running over the karabiner it will be jammed across the tibloc, to make it worse, which is then suspended from the two relatively weak edges of the open side. try it in your living room to see. a simul-climbing leader falling onto this would easily damage the rope – if the second then comes offf the two of them are held by nothing more than those two thin edges.

and more than that, rigged wrong the tibloc wont disengage to move downwards along the rope without unclipping. those designers at Petzl are pretty smart people (lets forgo mention of the nomic debacle for the moment…) and designed tiblocs well, being able to move both ways on the rope being part of that. rigged wrong, youve just made a dangerous scenario harder to escape.

CORRECT tibloc simul-climbing

CORRECT! a tibloc rigged safely: note that the karabiner is clipped from across the rope AND the body of the tibloc

rigged correctly the tibloc is a gem of design. its still fumbly like the last bit of soap, but it works just as it should, safe for what its meant to do. clipped across the rope as above, the force when engaged is primarily in the cinching action not in the teeth, the rope is locked by the weighted  karabiner squeezing the it into a consttriction, the teeth  just position it. more so, inherantly the device is loaded across the strongest part of its design. even were the tibloc to fail you  would still be clipped to the rope (for what thats worth).

in hauling mode the tibloc take no strain at all when actually hauling – all weight is on the karabiner. the tibloc only engages to brake  on the rope. tied off, the system is bomber and smooth. similarly, a simul-climbing system clipped this way means the rope pays thru the karabiner and device from the rock/ice face outwards – same as a regular quickdraw. a huge matter if rigging them with wiregates.

clipped this way, to disengage the device it need only be jiggled so the karabiner moves into the larger part of the hole and the teeth happily disengage so the device can be moved back down the rope. thats a 9.2mm in the picture, so plenty of room to move – the wrong version hardly has room to disengage at all

so there it is, the basics. mess about with a length of rope in your living room first – it will be immediately apparent. in any configuration (ascending, hauling, simul-climbing etc) the brain-byte is: clip ACROSS the rope

and remember: tiblocs dont kill, people do.