2016 Petzl Rope Trip
The Petzl Rope Trip is everything you would expect from Petzl. Having attended GRIMP Day in the past and seeing the type of event Petzl can put on, we were not disappointed with the Rope Trip.
This event is held every two years and this version on April 1 – 4, 2016 in SLC, Utah was only the third edition (the first event being held in France and the second in Sweden). The Rope Trip is a direct take off from Petzl’s RocTrip however specifically for the pro side of the business. It is interesting to note the strides the pro side (access, rescue, etc) has made in the past 8 or 10 years. For companies such as Petzl who used to depend on the recreation side to help support the pro side of the business, it is now pretty much flipped around – the pro side is the foundation.
The Rope Trip event consists of 31 teams, each with 3 members. This year there were teams from 16 countries competing including the USA, Canada, Germany, Poland, Russia, France, Austria, Columbia, Sweden, UK, Finland, Taiwan, Singapore, Mexico, Spain and Switzerland. In the preliminaries, each member has to complete an individual event and the team completes one team event.
Gravity Team Exercise
This was an enjoyable event to watch. It consisted of a cross-haul team exercise requiring a team to maneuver and release 4 balloons and 8 helmets suspended from the rafters. Two members of the team started out having to ascend a rope, perform a rope to rope transfer and get weights. From there these two members had to move through a re-belay over to an anchor station. From this anchor station they created their mechanical advantage to perform the cross haul. The “crosshaulie” had to ascend a line, release a balloon then attach themselves to the pre-rigged cross haul system. From here is was up to the three members to maneuver the ropes in such a way to move the middle technician around the course and release the helmets and balloons. And of course that could not be everything. To end it the tech in the middle had to be lowered close enough to the ground that they could put a mark on a bulls eye with a marker, however they could not touch the ground.
With a 9kg bucket of water attached to their harness, a rope access technician needs to ascend Petzls 60′ climbing wall which had a deviation and a traverse rigged up for fun. From there they then must move horizontally and vertically in metal superstructure to re-wire blinking lights (as if moving wasn’t tough enough). Then they had to replumb a section of pipe and transfer their water to another bucket. It’s then a re-belay and rope to rope onto a tyrolean (remember they still have 9kg of water (less what has splashed out of course). Across the tyrolean, through a window and into a vertical pipe. This all has to be finished in 40 minutes and the winner is choosen by whom had the most water left.
In this event the technician must rig window shutters and tools to a haul line attached above a window. The tech then needs to establish a remote anchor and ascend this line to pick off a patient. Once the patient is on the deck the tech must climb through a deviation and re-belay to place a sticker on the highest (60’) point of the metal superstructure. Its then another re-belay and a large rope to rope onto the fixed lines above the window. A quick rappel down to the window and then raise the shutters and tools. With only one spare screw the tech needs to remove the existing window shutters and replace them with the new ones (oh yes – they also need to work at the end). Of course once they touch back down the time is recorded.
Travel to the edge
This event had the rope access technicians start at the top of the catwalk. From here they are required to rope to rope and rebelay over to the climbing wall. It is then a lower with three fixed anchors in the system. Once they pass these points they reach an edge where, while suspended, they need to assemble and erect an Arizona Vortex and screw it into the wall (which was very interesting to watch – apparently the Vortex is not a usual rope access tool). Once the Vortex is attached the tech needs to anchor a rebelay onto the vortex and rappel to the ground (once again – while suspended).
There is also a speed climb occurring on the outside wall that was for individual glory. This was taken by a Russian this year…. In all events if the technician dropped to less than two points of attachment they were disqualified.
After the preliminaries the tope 4 teams (Team France, Team Colibri (France), Team VAR (Russia) and Team Evpator Moscow 1 (Russia)) then go to the semi finals. The semi finals were held outside at the downtown branch of the Salt Lake Public Library. The semi finals consisted of a 5 story climb passing a deviation, anchor pass and re-belay to a tyrolean. The team members crossed the twin lines of the tyrolean onto the roof of the library. From there they had to rappel, ascend and rebelay on the face of the building to place banner anchors. Team France and Team Var completed their tasks first to make it to the finals.
The finals were on the same course except the teams needed to hang 9 Petzl and Library banners on the front of the library. With some minor discrepancies overlooked the teams took just over 30 minutes to complete the task.
Congrats to Team France who won the prize.
From there it was to the inside of the library to enjoy local beer and dinner.
The next day Petzl hosted an informative conference with a host of expert speakers. This was rounded out by a trade show during the breaks. The same vendors as the SPRAT show were present with the addition of CAMP Safety and Skylotek. It was good to review some of the European equipment that is being introduced into the North American market – much with ANSI ratings (sorry Canucks – no CSA yet).
We enjoyed the event so much that I think we will toss a team into the mix in Germany in 2018.