Addressed in this video are some minor improvements to the SAKA and response to users who report, picked rope, it fell apart or the small carabiner broke.

Text from the YouTube video at https://youtu.be/_BXpLkPNEHQ

Time stamps in the comments section and using the progress bar will take you to the chapters of interest.  
A quick read of this text can tell you if there is anything of interst for you.

 

Three issues addressed.  00:00

So I want to address I guess about 3 specific issues and this is more or less consumer feedback and I want to be really careful because I don’t know what a climbers experience level is and I’m not sure if their experience level has anything to do with this anyway, so I don’t want anybody to be offended but I’m just trying to talk about a few of the customer reviews I have had or just some of some of the comments I have had.  For example, just the other day someone said that the first time they used it, it fell apart or the bungee popped off and this is the device, it does come apart, I think I have shown that before and I’m going to try to keep this fairly short.  (Ok, so I can’t do that)  I’m working on a more detailed video (for setup) but this is the part and when somebody says it falls apart, (and be sure, whenever you’re doing bungee use eye protection) this is the device, so when somebody says it popped off or it fell apart, I have a very difficult time understanding how that is when it’s being used properly.  So I’m going to talk about that, I’m also going to talk about the carabiner and I’m going to talk about the teeth on the cam and some modifications I’ve made to this cam.

The small carabiner.  01:52

So let me start first by talking about the carabiner.  The device has extra webbing down here and extra bungee and it comes in little sock and I can see, I mean I climb on this all the time myself, so I understand what goes on.  I could understand somebody putting maybe some shrink wrap around it if you are dragging around through the brush a lot, maybe that starts to come off.  Underneath here is the buckle and the buckle needs to, so this is this is the buckle and now it is great because you can adjust the length of a person’s stride.  We have talked about that but when I put the buckle on I try to keep this loop small so that it keeps this small carabiner oriented.  I’ve broken a whole bunch of these intentionally on my test machine they’re rated at 4 kilonewtons but I would find they generally break at about 1000 pounds when they pull this way, if you’re not keeping this carabiner oriented it won’t have that 4kN strength, if this is locked open somehow, then you can break this, if the cam or the latch is locked open somehow or it gets miss-oriented inside this buckle (carabiner) and then you step on it this way you’re probably going to break it or you’re going to bend this latch, when it’s outside of the connector there you can push this and I could probably break this with my hands it’s just held on with a small pin so if it’s outside and it’s not completely latched you’re going to be able to break this buckle (carabiner), if it’s in this proper position you’re going to have a really hard time breaking this breaking this buckle (carabiner) I do have stronger 23 kilonewton carabiners that someone can order, they are spring gate, I think other companies make screw gate carabiner’s that are very small if somebody can’t keep that oriented, there’s solutions to that but I find this works the very best for me when it comes to connecting to that footloop.  So when the carabiner, when it’s properly used, I’m not saying that you know, 1 out of 1000 couldn’t break or whatever but when properly used, they are plenty strong and I like this small size.  

It does not come apart with proper use.  05:10

OK let me talk about it coming apart.  When this bungee is attached it should be someplace in line with your stride so that you’re going up in line with the rope.  The only way I can imagine this, there’s a slot right here in the pin I’ve talked about that numerous times but if somebody’s pulling sideways real hard, that’s I guess is the only way I can imagine somebody popping that off but you can see right now, I’m pulling, I’m pulling hard sideways and this is, this is exactly the way they come, I haven’t changed anything but this is how they come.  It does not just fall apart, it’s Velcroed on to keep this weight bearing member oriented with the bungee guide and it keeps everything together.  I just struggling to understand what somebody is doing that makes this just pop off, now I understand when somebody’s climbing there’s lot of leg movement going but you want to have this bungee so that it is in line with the rope and it’s pulling straight up on that bungee guide and if anything, it just keeps it going a little tighter against that pin as it works its way up. 

Lifting force required  06:59

While I’m doing this let me show something else, the SAKA™ with everything weighs about 10 ounces so I’m pulling up the wrist piece and everything like that and put this on our scales, turn our scales on let the scale zero out now that comes in at 9.8 ounces so I’m going to put this on the rope and let’s see how much drag (we can measure).  I’ve worked really hard to get the cam right and the spring tension just right and so now when we lift this up we’re going to about 16, there at 16 and a half, so it only takes about 6 ounces (of additional force) to pull the whole ascender up with the spring tension that’s there and I’ll do this another way and what we’ll do is we will change the tare weight on this to zero that out with the weight, everything of course the foot loop is going to be on the climber and stuff but anyway we’ll leave out that on there right now so that’s zero, I’ll put this back on 11.7 millimeter (Marlow) Vega and as I’m going up the rope it’s 5.1… 5.6 so about 6 ounces 5 to 6 ounces is what it takes to pull, overcome the spring tension and that cam. 

The cam and rope picking  09:01

Now speaking of the cam, I worked really hard to get the teeth pattern on this cam, we’ve gone back and forth and it’s been a long process but this part of the teeth are less aggressive than the engaging teeth, they need to be aggressive enough that when this cam engages it doesn’t slip. Now I had issues with the previous design when they got a little bit of wear, they could start to slip, so they are a little more aggressive.  And remember too that on the knee ascender, the knee ascender is engaging on a tensioned rope, there is already, you’re standing here with your other foot so in my case I’ve already got 200 pounds on this rope when I’m asking this cam to engage.  Other designs I tried, every time would slip, if it was a non-aggressive, I don’t like to use the word aggressive it would if it was less aggressive they would just slip on the rope and you can imagine the sliding teeth doing more damage to your rope than teeth that accurately and securely engaged the rope and then release.  So, there was a couple of reviews and somebody said, “oh look, it is picking my rope”.  This is my climbing line  10:47  an I’ve been climbing on this for awhile it’s got I don’t know probably 100 maybe 120 climbs on it, this is a brand new Vega, Marlo Vega this is my climbing line, you’ll see where it gets dragged across the branches and things will start to fluff up just a little bit but that’s with an awful lot of climbs, an awful lot of ascents with my SAKA and my foot ascender and I don’t have picks on my rope, I could show you the entire length of my rope and there are no picks on there, so there’s one thing that will cause a pick to the rope.  Everybody knows that in order to release this ascender you need to take all of the weight off of it so if I don’t take the weight off of it and I try to pull this out, this is a 13 millimeter rope, it’s not climbing rope, I got it from Home Depot I don’t know what it is it’s really soft you can see the fibers in it really easy and it lends itself easily to picking.  So if I take this cam out even if I think I have the weight taken off of it, if it’s not completely off it will pick and you can you can see that.  I don’t know if you can see it there if I don’t take the weight off of this, it’ll pick, it’ll pick that rope and you can see the fibers will get picked out so the weight has to be completely taken off of this when you open the cam, and this is also an improvement that I’ve made and I’ll try to show this,  

Modified cam latch.  12:50

This is not life support, a lot of ascenders that might be used or for other things that have to be life support so it’s possible for the rope to slip out of this and I’ve modified this cam latch so that this cam only moves one direction and that’s away from the rope when I open it up.  It used to be that in order to release it from the rope you have to pull the cam open and then the action of the latch would push the cam back towards the rope and then you would open it up and come away, almost every ascender and I’m not going to put any other examples up here because this is not about competing devices but almost every other ascender, you can try this when you open the cam, as soon as you activate the latch you’ll see the cam goes back into the rope a little bit before this can come out.  I’ve redesigned this now so that when you open this latch you can see the cam the latch hits and when I open it up the cam only goes one direction that’s away from the rope.  So it makes it really easy to take it off but you have to be completely unweight it and even moving up and away an you’ll never pick your rope. 

Latch less SAKA  14:37

It is more of a technique than it is anything else when it comes to not picking your rope.  When I see a picked rope, it’s more climber technique than anything else.  This is the one I climb on all the time and I’ve completely removed the latch and I may make this available for sale.  We’ve just put out a mini without the latch, it makes it really easy to put it on the rope and it makes it very easy to take it off the rope and you’ll notice that I’ll never pick the rope because I’m always moving it up to take it off and put it on never engages or when I take it off, it’s engaged, slide it up and that doesn’t pick the rope, those teeth, because it moves, it moves away and it moves past those teeth it will never pick the rope, easy to come up now your technique has to be dead on otherwise that can come off the rope if you misstep, if you misstep you could pull this pull this off, let me show you if I’m going up and I pull this way with it and it gets in the right spot the bungee could actually pull it off the rope so the latch prevents that from ever happening but if you’re using using proper technique and this cam is always going straight up the rope, things don’t come apart, the rope doesn’t get picked and it just works so I have a try to understand where people are coming from.  I use my own device and when somebody says that popped off they may have it connected over here to their leg someplace. 

With proper rope stepping technique the ascender will not “pop off” the rope.  16:30

So when you’re stepping up a rope you want your legs to be in line with the rope and you want your foot to be next to the side of the rope, if your foot is out here someplace is going to make it really hard for that ascender to figure out where you’re going and to stay lined up with the rope.  If you’re doing some bicycle motion and you know, the bicycles going like this, well look what that cam has to try to keep up with and in a case like that, then you may have problems with it with the ascender coming off the rope,  I see this a lot where somebody might have an awful lot of experience climbing ropes and now they’re going to do what they call rope walking and rope walking implies a forward motion so they’re doing this with their feet, they might be doing the bicycle thing but that cam is going all over the place, I don’t think it should be called rope walking it should be called rope stepping because you’re stepping straight up the rope.  The most efficient movement is straight up the rope and in line with the rope if your feet are out here someplace that cam has a really hard time trying to engage, in fact right there it is not going to engage you could get to a point right there where you might pick the rope just keep your feet in line with the rope and it goes so much smoother people shouldn’t sew this together because if you sew this together, now you’ve taken away the independence of the bungee guide and the weight bearing member.   But I’m pulling, I don’t want to get slapped with a bungee but I’m pulling pretty hard and that’s just not coming off, I suppose it can come off.  

Using the storage attachment hole  18:43

The other thing that if somebody is storing it and maybe what they’re doing is they’re storing it from this loop attachment right here and if you’re storing it from that loop attachment and then maybe you snagged this on a spike or something it could pull that off of that Velcro and off that tether.  But unless your feet are doing an awful lot of flailing around, it’s not going to pop off the rope, it’s not going to come apart, it’s not going to pick your rope and your carabiner’s not going to break if it stays oriented properly.  

Another minor improvement for easy use.  19:20

So with this hole now this makes it really easy to now lift and take that off the rope, so you’re going up you know you’re standing on this, take the foot loop off and that’s how easy that opens up.  You know before when people would struggle because the cam was going back against it. 

 

What Becky said…wait for it.