OK first let me state that this information is what I personal use and current practice. I am in no way endorsing or suggesting anyone follow anything I've written. I am simply posting real information so people understand fact from fantasy.
I am most likely not the only one who uses a grappling hook. I believe I am the only one posting any real useful information on the subject. (At least I cannot find any on this site)
I will begin by saying this:
Stupid people, doing stupid things with grappling hooks, have given grappling hooks a really bad reputation.
Forget any ninja shit, Hollywood flashy acrobatics, acting like Batman, idiots on youtube with homemade grappling gun shooters, morons swinging from buildings and any other crap that fits into that category.
The reality is that Grappling Hooks are still mainly used for towing tree branches and or pulling them down from trees. But due to technology advancing and materials used, people have slowly integrated them into basic climbing.
So what does climbing mean?, This is where fantasy and reality get mottled together creating a bad reputation. When referring to a grappling hook, Climbing simply means to access an area that is normally too high for the average person to get5 at without a ladder, rope or some other support method.
It is also used to anchor yourself to something such as a tree BEFORE entering an area then going in. It is also used for pulling yourself up out of a hole that you fell into without having to rely on others pulling you out. In short it's nothing more than a utility device used for very specific situations.
So if you have any ideas of going extreme rock climbing, swinging from buildings etc...you're being an idiot._______________________________________________________________ EXTREMELY IMPORTANT THINGS TO REMEMBER:
The the rope used is just as important as the type of Hook used. However, both the rope and hook are pointless, if there isn't a stable anchor point.
The anchor point is where things get very tricky. Below is the grappling equipment I use as well as exactly how I use it during an exploration_______________________________________________________________ MY PERSONAL GRAPPLING EQUIPMENT I CURRENTLY USE DURING EXPLORATIONS:
I'll explain where I purchased it from, how I determined what to get, as well as how I resolved an issue I really didn't like on the hook itself. I will also realistically break down some elements to make some need to know determinations.
Before buying anything I did a ton of what I call, proper research. I read reviews of a number of grappling hooks (Reviews don't mean much) I was explicitly looking for information if it could support weight) I also contacted military surplus stores. As it turns out, someone that worked in the shop actually used a grappling hook for urban exploring. I had a face to face conversation with him Asked bout what rope he used, how he attached the rope to the hook (Clip or tied right to it), what knot he used to attach the rope to the hook..etc
So after all that, I narrowed it down to 2 actual hooks, GearOZ and Ruipoo (His was not either). I showed him the Ruipoo and he said that was more than sufficient.
I finally decided to go with the Ruipoo, Which I purchased from Amazon. It says it can hold a load of 1102. Realistically it probably only supports about 500-600LBS. You can do a search for it by Typing in "Ruipoo Grappling hook" This hook weighs about 2.5lbs and it's made of solid stainless steel.
Next was the rope. I finally went with 40 meters (113 ft) Mammut 9.8MM eternity classic which I purchased from a site called MountainSteals. I put double knots every foot and a half throughout the entire rope.
Next was what type of knot to use to attach the Rope to the hook. I went through several and finally decided to go with a figure 8 follow through and used a stopper knot._______________________________________________________________ WHAT I DISLIKED ABOUT THE RUIPOO AND WHAT I DID:
The connection between the rope and the stem isn't one piece like it should be:
It's just screws together which didn't sit well with me. Now whether by design or not, all that was holding the rope to the stem was basically a bolt/screw and not the actual stem of the hook itself where in my opinion the support needs to be
So I had it modified by a professional Welder
The bolt itself is now permanently attached to the stem which is again how I believe it should have been made in the first place.
Other than that one issue, I have no other complaints about the hook._______________________________________________________________ PROPER USE OF A GRAPPLING HOOK DURING EXPLORATION
OK first of all let me get out of the way the comments of do you trust your life to a hook? That question is the same as asking do you trust where you walk on a floor, or do you trust your anchor when mountain climbing? No matter how safe you are, anything can fail. So it's unfair to target a grappling hook as if nothing else also has that same type of hazard. So we take all the precautions to minimize those hazards.
As I said above a Grappling hook during exploration is ONLY TO BE used for being able to hoist yourself up out of a situation that otherwise might have proven a serious problem such as being able to pull yourself up out of a hole you happen to fall into, or lowering yourself down to a level below you. Even climbing a 10-15ft wall is viable. Yes throwing a hook up to an area you cannot see is extremely risky, just because it's solid at first does not mean it won't shift or something can give way. But the same can be said for anything. Walking on a floor you assume is solid might be at first but could give way any time...you could even walk over the floor 15 times and it's fine..then on the 16th time it gives. MY point is there is always that risk, so if you're unsure, then don't do it...simple as that._______________________________________________________________ HOW I CARRY THIS:
I have the rope diagonal (Over my shoulder, under my arm and around my back. It doesn't actually weight as much as it appears._______________________________________________________________ HOW I PERSONALLY ANCHOR
I never anchor to wood for any reason PERIOD.
I always make sure some type of cement, granite even brick is used
I always try to attach around a small tree when entering so it's outside.
If a tree isn't available I will use the surface as close to the window as possible. (DO NOT ANCHOR TO THE WINDOW ITSELF)
Windows are especially good if plywood is on it because hook cannot go through the plywood thus creating a really nice wedge. (Downfall with this is you cannot retract it easy)
When entering a room I will have already attached the hook to something whether it's a chair I have outside a door or something else I can wedge behind a corner or other heavy structure or something of that nature. The basic trick is to have whatever you're attaching the hook to cause a wedge that can then be wedged.
If you understand how old industrial type buildings are, you will know that Metal Doors, metal door frames, and window frames are the strongest parts of a weakened wall even after water damage._______________________________________________________________ HOW TO CLIMB
Even though this seems like a nobrainer it's not. Unless you're in extreme physical top peak condition, it's more difficult than people realize to just climb with your hands. This is why I have double knots every foot and a half throughout the entire rope. You can wrap the rope around your leg and have your foot rest on one of the knots. I basically use the knots for resting and a ladder._______________________________________________________________ THINGS YOU ABSOLUTELY DO NOT DO WITH A GRAPPLING HOOK WHEN EXPLORING
1. Swing from rooftops
2. Try to scale 60 feet walls
3. Have multiple people on the same rope at the same time
4. Blindly Climb without testing the hook
5. Rescue attempts
6. Once it's wedged Loosen the tautness of the rope
7. Swing across open gaps
8. Repel (If you need to lower yourself do it slowly and use the knots in the rope)_______________________________________________________________
Well I hope I was able to put some fears to rest and provide usable information that serves people well.
- tx3000 -