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Mechanical Friction Devices

A new wave of mechanical friction devices bring ultimate control to tree climbing systems. These devices can be used to augment or replace friction hitches for smoothly-controlled ascents and descents.

Akimbo by Rock Exotica


The Akimbo is a unique arborist climbing tool that enables the climber to ascend, descend and position on both stationary rope and moving rope systems.

Hitch Hiker

Hitch Hiker 2

The Hitch Hiker 2 incorporates a steel friction device with your hitch cord to produce a great device for hybrid tree climbing systems. The Hitch Hiker 2 advances smoothly and engages instantly when weighted, with easy slack tending, and may be used in double or single rope systems.

The dog bone where the hitch cord runs through slides up behind your hitch when you advance, taking the weight off your cord and tending your hitch. When you weight the Hitch Hiker 2, the dog bone and carabiner are pressed into the rope for additional friction. The pressure of the dog bone and carabiner on the rope takes some of the pressure of your body weight off the hitch, allowing you to climb on your Friction Hitch in SRS.

Holster for Hitch Hiker

Holster for Hitch Hiker

Fits Hitch Hiker 2

The Holster is the best option we've seen for tending the Hitch Hiker 2. Super easy to install, and provides great slack tending.

Rope Runner Pro by Notch

Rope Runner Pro
Friction Body Kit
Lower Bollard
Upper Adjustment Bollard

The Rope Runner Pro has been re-engineered with original inventor Kevin Bingham for a next-generation climbing device. The Rope Runner Pro is mid-line attachable, and approved for both SRS and MRS climbing. Multiple friction settings allow you to customize the performance. The geometry of the top has been improved for comfortable, one-handed descent. Steel bollards allow for smoother descent and a reduced break-in period. Integrated SRS harness attachment point and one-piece design with retained slic pin. Every feature of the rope runner pro has been looked at for ergonomics, performance, and rope-friendly surfaces.

  • Rope compatibility: 11-13mm
  • WLL: 308 lbs (140kg)
  • Weight: 16oz (453 g)

Apex Rope Wrench


The APEX Rope Wrench builds on the original with advanced function and convenience.

An adjustable cam allows the user to select from clearly marked friction settings, to adjust to rope type and diameter. The spring-loaded cam can be adjusted in under 5 seconds. Push the sid button, swing the side plate open, pull out and rotate the cam to the new setting, then return cam and close the device. No tools required, no droppable parts.

Singing Tree Rope Wrench ZK-2


The Rope Wrench ZK-2 friction device allows climbers to ascend, descend and work the tree "Single Rope" with their favorite friction hitch. While the Rope Wrench ZK-2 is not for use as your life support device, it places a bend in your climbing line and takes just enough pressure off your hitch, allowing you to climbing on your friction hitch SRT with greater ease. Improved version in 2012 with aluminum frame, integrated pulley, swinging sideplates, and smaller profile.

Read more about the Rope Wrench ZK-2...

RP283 Rope Wrench (Optimized for 13mm rope)


The RP283 Rope Wrench has been optimized to achieve best friction performance on 13mm (1/2") ropes. The RP283 Rope Wrench allows the climber to ascend and work the tree in a stationary rope system on their favorite hitch.

Flow Adjustable Rope Wrench by Notch


The Flow Adjustable Rope Wrench has an adjustable concave stainless steel bollard which provides customized friction setting. This makes for an improved ultra-low drag ascent, saving you time and energy when you climb. Pair the Flow with the Fusion Tether to create the ultimate SRS setup.

Fusion Tether by Notch


Rigid wrench tether with built-in hitch-tending pulley and multiple SRS attachment points.

Squirrel Rope Wrench Tether by ISC


The Squirrel Tether is a metal tether designed and manufactured by ISC for the Rope Wrench. Because of its aluminum frame, the Squirrel Tether ensures that twist and flex in the Rope Wrench system remains in the optimal low friction position during ascent, and engages efficiently during lateral movements and descents. A stopper bollard keeps the Rope Wrench correctly positioned at all times, and prevents pinching of the user's hand while tending.

picture of Squirrel Twin Leg Flex Tether

Squirrel FLEX Tether


ISC Squirrel FLEX Tether balances rigidity with flexibility for optimal climbing with the Rope Wrench.

Built from high-quality kernmantle rope with advanced polymer molding. The combination of the materials provides just the right blend of flex and stiffness. Stitching is tight for a snug fit on your carabiners. Contrasting thread colors make it easy to inspect.

Lawton Tether

Lawton Tether


The Lawton is a compact stiff tether for the Ropewrench. At 7.5" this tether shaves almost 3" from your tending system when coupled with a compact oval carabiner. It is easy to remove from the rope and hitchclimber pulley making a very clean transition from SRS to MRS. Included is 5' of tarred whipping twine to seize the eye of the tether to the carabiner. Works well with the DMM Perfect O, RockO, or Camp Oval carabiners.

The Lawton Tether idea was brought to Niceguydave and WesSpur by Dan Lawton during the 2018 Spring Crane Safety Climber School.

Rope Wrench Stiff Tethers

@Height Stiff Tether for Rope Wrench

12” Stiff Tether
12” Split Stiff Tether

Sewn stiff tethers for use with the Singing Tree Rope Wrench. One eye features a rubber grommet to aid in positioning.

ISC Rope Wrench Pulley

Rope Wrench Pulley by ISC


ISC pulley built this pulley to work with the stiff tethers used with the Rope Wrench ZK-2. The wide spacing between the swinging side plates provides plenty of room for various tethers. The Rope Wrench pulley will work with spliced or hand-tied prusik cords.

SpiderJack 3 by ART


Multi-functional, self-blocking rope control device. The running rope is directly in front of the climber so it is possible to pull and feed the rope with one hand or hand over hand into the device. Turning it to the releasing position and pressing the thumb brake needs very little force, so speed regulation is very easy, and handling is smoother. Features a secured locking position.

Read reviews

Unicender by Rock Exotica


The Unicender can replace friction hitches, figure 8s, and ascenders! In the doubled rope technique, the Unicender can be used as a mechanical split tail in place of a friction hitch. Because of the ease with which it advances in this configuration, it makes any rope climbing technique easier and faster. In the single rope technique, the Unicender takes the place of both ascenders and descender. Works on 7/16” to 1/2” lines.

Read reviews

Zigzag by Petzl


The popular Zigzag mechanical prusik has been redesigned! The ZIGZAG allows the user to move around efficiently in a tree using classic Prusik pulley system technique. The friction chain provides precision and fluidity when moving around. The pulley is mounted on sealed ball bearings for easy slack-tending. Can be used on either doubled ropes or a single rope (by using the separate Chicane add-on).

The Zigzag is redesigned with a fixed lower attachment hole to ensure alignment of the device with the axis of the worker and optimize grip.

Zigzag Plus by Petzl


Redesigned Zigzag, the Zigzag plus lower attachment hole has a high-efficiency swivel, to ensure stable positioning and optimal rope glide.

The ZIGZAG allows the user to move around efficiently in a tree using classic Prusik pulley system technique. The friction chain provides precision and fluidity when moving around. The pulley is mounted on sealed ball bearings for easy slack-tending. Can be used on either doubled ropes or a single rope (by using the separate Chicane add-on).

Note: Chicane needs to be used with H-frame Petzl OK or Am'D carabiners for proper fitting.

Chicane by Petzl


The CHICANE allows ZIGZAG and ZIGZAG PLUS mechanical Prusiks to be used on single ropes. It provides continuous additional friction on descents. The excellent compatibility of the CHICANE and mechanical Prusik as an assembled unit ensures smooth rope glide through the brake during ascents. The ergonomic handle provides excellent grip and facilitates movement while limb walking. Thanks to the openable side plate, installation is quick and easy.

Zigzag Climbing Kit

Zigzag Kit with Drenaline
Zigzag Kit with Voyager
Zigzag Plus with Drenaline**
Zigzag Plus with Voyager

This kit combines your choice of Zigzag or Zigzag Plus with carabiners and choice of spliced climbing line so that you can get a professional climbing system in one convenient kit!

Oval Petzl OK Triact carabiners are ideal for moving-rope systems, and Drenaline is one of the most popular climbing lines, lightweight with great handling and durability. This kit comes with a medium rope bag - keep it ready for instant deployment.

    Your kit will contain:
  • Zigzag or Zigzag Plus
  • 150 rope w/ sewn tight eye (Drenaline or Voyager)
  • 2 x Petzl OK Carabiners
  • Medium Rope Bag
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