What's in rope access professional Ivan Muscat's pack?
For more than 17 years, Ivan Muscat has spent most of his time high off the ground as both a rope access professional and rock climber. As one of the world's top professionals and someone who simply loves spending time at heights, Ivan tells us about his background and what he puts in his pack when heading to a work site.
June 16 2017
Rope access and confined space
Ivan, could you tell us a little about your background?
"I've been a rope access professional and rock climber for the last 17 years, yet my goal at the start was not necessarily to pursue a career in the vertical world. Since I grew up in Brittany (France), I needed to migrate to a rockier region with boulders and crags of all sorts – even though Brittany also has a few - so the south of France was the ideal destination. I spent time at a wide variety of work sites during my first forays into the rope access profession: public works, building construction, and industrial maintenance. At the same time, I continued to climb as much as possible at crags in the south of France, especially around Millau, a region where I established several new routes, including quite a few for the Petzl RocTrip.
Four years ago I started participating in rope access competitions. These events combine technique with physical strength. After posting good results, I was invited to participate in the 2016 Petzl RopeTrip in Salt Lake City. Antoine Quidoz, Yohan Garcia, and I teamed up and won the competition, taking home a magnificent cow-horn trophy. We beat the defending champions, the Russian team.
In addition, with my level 3 professional certification and as a state-certified climbing instructor, I naturally gravitated 5 years ago towards teaching rope access courses."
What do you put in your pack when you head to a work site?
"When heading to a work site I bring:
- A BUG backpack for all of my personal affairs, including my climbing shoes so I can go bouldering after work.
- A FOOTAPE adjustable webbing foot loop for ascending ropes.
- The ASAP® LOCK and ASAP'SORBER lanyard: this is the fall arrest device best suited for rope work since it follows you hands-free on both the ascent and descent.
- A length of Dynemma® tech cord with a SPIRIT carabiner is always useful for an intermediate anchor or to hang gear.
- A BASIC rope clamp: this lightweight and compact device serves as my backup rope clamp. You can clip it to your harness for hoisting or use it to replace an ASCENSION ascender.
- A RIG descender: this self-braking, ergonomic system is easy to set up for descending a rope. With the ASAP fall-arrest device, these are the two primary devices rope access professionals use.
- A lightweight and compact MICRO TRAXION progress-capture pulley. I keep this on my harness for any emergency hoists such as for a rescue.
- A CARITOOL tool holder to clip gear to my harness.
- A PANTIN® foot rope clamp is essential for ascending ropes quickly when using "alternating" technique.
- A SPATHA knife for slicing salami at lunch as well as in an emergency, such as to cut a stuck rope or something else.
- A ROLLCLIP pulley-carabiner, quick to set up at the top of a rope clamp for ascending a rope using the RIG.
- A GRIGRI to stabilize a third rope in order to work via triangulation.
- A pair of CORDEX gloves.
- An ASCENSION rope clamp for ascending a rope of course, but also for hoists.
- A TRANSPORT 45L pack for all of this gear.
- A PROGRESS ADJUST lanyard: the non-adjustable part is clipped to my ASCENSION ascender and the adjustable side serves as a tether for intermediate anchors, zip lines, or other anchors. To unclip, I just create a little slack on the adjustable side.
- A FALCON ASCENT harness certified for rope access work. This is the best-designed harness for ascending a rope quickly, along with the TOP CROLL® chest harness to clip my ASAP fall arrest device. The integrated CROLL® rope clamp serves to ascend a rope.
- A waterproof jacket if it rains.
- An ULTRA® VARIO headlamp to work at night or in confined spaces. Its major strong point: battery life.
- A pair of safety boots.
- A VERTEX® VENT helmet, comfortable and well-ventilated.
- A Petzl baseball hat for excursions.
- A pair of work pants.
- A PODIUM seat to work comfortably in those situations where I spend several hours descending a rope. This is absolutely necessary to avoid any blood circulation problems in your legs that can be caused by hanging in your harness for too long."