You call them Lobster Claws.
On traditional high ropes and challenge courses, “lobster claws” still remain a favorite for participant engagement and freedom of movement. Because these safety lanyards do not prevent accidental unclipping from the belay cable, use of these traditional claws requires a high level of supervision for participants. But, these y-lanyards are economical due to a low initial cost and cost of ownership over time. People love the classics and the hitch-adjusted rope lanyards are a favorite for two reasons:
1. Ease of adjustability for the participant.
Adjusting the lanyard length with the sliding hitches allows the participant to tailor the challenge to themselves; making the lanyards shorter when they need more tension and longer to provide more challenge on the element. The lobster claws can also quickly be adjusted to limit fall distance on the element.
2. The ability to adjust under load.
This is critical when transferring participants to a rescue system. When the participant is ready to be lowered, the knots can be slid upwards to transfer the load onto the rescue system and remove the participant from the belay cable.
Spliced, Three Strand Lobster Claws
Hand-spliced lobster claws, made of three strand Multiline rope, were the industry norm for a long time. This type of y-lanyard performs well but presents certain issues as our industry moves into a more organized, regulated environment:
- The rope being used, while plenty strong, is most often not rated by the manufacturer for life-safety use.
- They are hand-spliced in-house by either course operators or builders. Almost uniformly, there was no third party testing or quality control in the manufacturing process. In addition, there was no serializing or batch tracking of lanyards. This means that if there was equipment failure it would be very hard to track the root issue.
- The three strand construction and hand-spliced terminations have the tendency to "pick" and become unraveled, resulting in early retirement or lanyards continuing to be used when they shouldn’t.
For these reasons many trade organizations, standards bodies, and course builders have encouraged operators to transition away from these lanyards. But what should you be transitioning to in order to phase the old, spliced claws out of your rotation?
The Modern Alternative - EZ Adjust Y Lanyards
Aerial Adventure Tech has designed a solution that doesn’t sacrifice the classic design, but instead has modern features to meet current standards and recommendations.
Here is how we addressed some of the pain points:
- Manufacturing is done in a specialized facility by highly trained splicing experts.
- Thorough labeling is applied to each lanyard. The labels include manufacture date and serial number for manufacturing lot tracking and your on-site equipment tracking.
- The product has been tested to and exceeds the ANSI Z359 requirements for adjustable positioning lanyards.
- All components (rope, connectors) are rated for life-safety use.
- Machine-sewn terminations prevent unraveling of the termination and provide quality control.
- Grippy, solid braid rope is used that cuts down on weight and bulk but still provides the same performance as the three strand rope. The solid braid construction also makes this rope easy to inspect.
- Hitch wrap design that provides the classic ease of adjustment, while gripping tight in the event of a fall.
In addition we threw in some features to meet the varied needs of a high ropes course:
- Two harness connection options - a carabiner attachment for quick removal of lanyards when moving to a different activity and a girth hitch option for more permanent attachment to the harness.
- Two top connector options - small snap hooks for normal high ropes use or larger snap hooks for racking the hooks over a trolley when zip lining.
- Two color ways - in classic red and blue that will keep your gear looking clean.