Most window cleaners prefer to have the longest lanyard possible for their rope grab. Generally they consider 3′ to be the minimum acceptable, but would prefer to have 6′ if possible. This is largely because they are using manual devices that must be moved every time they want to descend. When you descend, you can only go as far as your lanyard before you have to stop and move the rope grab again. The shorter the lanyard, the more often you’ll have to stop and move your backup device. That means that the job will take longer, and it will be plain annoying. There are a lot of great new rope grabs on the market, but many of them have short lanyards. Some are as small as 12″! How can you possibly work with such a short lanyard?
The shorter the lanyard, the more often you’ll have to stop and move your backup device. That means that the job will take longer, and it will be plain annoying.Jacob Wallace
Self Trailing Rope GrabsIf you haven’t heard of Self Trailing rope grabs before, today is your lucky day. Unlike manual devices that you are probably used to, they follow you down the rope as you descend. You don’t have to stop and move them. In fact, for the most part, you don’t even have to give them a second thought. What you’ll find is that even though the lanyard is shorter, the fact that the device trails makes it overall easier to use.
Advantages of Shorter LanyardsIf you get a device that is self-trailing it’s not as important to have a longer lanyard. Plus, there are some benefits to having a shorter lanyard.
- Having a shorter lanyard means that you have a shorter potential fall distance. That’s a huge benefit because you greatly reduce fall forces and chance of injury. Some devices even allow you to use lanyards that have no shock pack. The fall distance is so short that you don’t even need it!
Cost of Lanyards
- Many self-trailing devices can be used with lanyards that are a fraction of the price of longer shock absorbing lanyards. The Camp Goblin and the Kong Backup, for example, allow you to use a webbing lanyard that is less than $20.
- Some of the best self-trailing rope grabs, such as the Petzl ASAP or the Camp Goblin, are sold separately from the lanyard. This allows you to choose which lanyard you want, and to replace it if it wears out before the device does (of course if shock loaded the lanyard and grab must be replaced).