How to Make a Awesome Safe Zipline

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Introduction: How to Make a Awesome Safe Zipline

About: You cannot kill me. There is no flesh and blood with in this cloak to kill. There is only an idea. And ideas are bulletproof.

this is my first Instructable so be nice also I do not own all but 3 images and those three are bitmap images the rest I grabbed from google. that being said have a great time building and riding this

Step 1: The Materials

OK these materials are redially available to me because I rock climb but most other materials are redially available at home depot and REI (I am in the USA so it might be different for you if you live elsewhere)that being said I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE IF YOU HURT YOURSELF ADULT SUPERVISION IS REQUIRED AND BY ADULT I MEAN RESPONSIBLE ADULT ALSO PLEASE JUST USE COMMON SENSE so with that all out of the way here is what you need...

1. rock climbing harness
2. 2 100 foot lengths of rock climbing rope or steel cable
3. 1 come along AKA hand winch
4. a couple caribeners (3-4 max)
5. a ladder
6. a large pulley

Step 2: Locate Your Trees

now if you have a large backyard with many trees as i do this is a relatively easy task but below is the tree formation you are looking for basically a tree formation in a "T" completely onobstructed by bushes and other trees (also i apologize for the horrible bitmap image i am not too good at digital drawing)once you have located your trees move on to the next step.

Step 3: Setting Up Rope 1

this is where your responsible adult comes in now depending on the height of your zip-line set the ladder up on the base tree climb the ladder and firmly secure the rope to the tree with good knots then walk the rope to where it is in-between the other 2 trees

Step 4: The Yoke (that's What I Call It)

the yoke consists of a length of climbing rope stretched between your 2 trees the yoke rope is suspended off the ground and is connected to your main rope (the one coming from the base tree) using a caribeaner the base rope AKA the main rope is actually suspended in the air by the yoke so to build the yoke string the rope and pull it TIGHT with the come-along but be mindful to thread the main rope with the pulley before pulling the yoke tight

Step 5: Now Ride That Thing!

provided you have done all steps correctly you should be in business all you need to do is put on your harness climb the ladder on the base tree clip in to the pulley and go down as for getting off the zip-line have a responsible person bring you a ladder to step on while you get off now with that all being said have fun be safe and don't let your friends strand you by not bringing you a ladder

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    49 Discussions

    We have made a 250 zip line. All I need to know now is how to manually retrieve the trolly. We have a disc seat on the zip line trolly. Do we just attach a rope to the rope under the disc seat and pull it back up the line. This zip line is ove a very big pond. Thanks

    Do you leave the come along attached?

    Thanks

    Another thing you want is location, cedar forests are beautiful and tall and quite peaceful to hike through, its also difficult to kill cedars in that particular way (strangulation, fungus ect) and the only way that it could damage something is if you lot the rope rot and try to go for it after a few years or if logging companies dont check the tree first and damage the sawblades cutting the cable :P

    Just go vanilla and tie the rope from a high branch, tarzan it up :P

    Im not a mountain climber but I can agree about double safety lines and such

    About the whole murdering trees buisness, the reason that the tree strangulates itself when you put the cable around it is because the tree gets nutrients through the inner bark and the core, and you basically cut off its supply above the cable, same thing will happen if you cut a deep ring around the bottom.

    Assuming that this is going to be a permanant zipline, you probably want to use an old tire or two the stop it from killing the tree quickly (like under 20 years)

    My friend has a fairly large one in his backyard and he didnt do any of the above suggestions with safety gear or tree health, and he hasnt had a problem for over half his life :3

    tying ropes or strapping around trees is not advisable you can actually kill a tree this way the life-line of the entire tree is the few layers of soft living tissue just beneath the bark if the zip-line is used much you can rub off all the outer bark, and even rub right through the inner bark - killing the tree or if the tree grows and something very tight and very strong is tied around it, it can strangle itself as it grows a much better alternative is to drill holes and insert lag bolts to mount something to, or use huge eyebolts

    9 replies

    actually strapping things to trees is fine just try not to use soft bark trees and if you do use a tree/line protector. I Slackline which requires strapping a line between 2 trees. Surely drilling into the tree is going to be more harmful than tying something around it.

    Contrary to popular belief, drilling into a tree isn't that harmful. The tree will just grow around anything inside of it and continue on

    to be fair now that i think about it there is a tree round the corner from me and it has a 3 inch pole going right through it and it is still very much alive (this pole has been going all the way through the tree as long as i can remember - at least 10years)

    it depends on many things - the most important issue is how tight is the strap, how wide the strap is, how much friction is caused by the strap, and how long it's left on the tree - most people making a zip-line will normally want to leave it up for a long while if not years, and in those cases it's pretty important imo to try to avoid killing the tree.

    the image below of the tow-strap being used looks fine and dandy to me

    anyway it's a good issue to bring up so that people at least consider it

    That's a fair shout I'm strapping 2inch webbing to a tree and it is very tight but it is only attatched to the tree for a max of 5 hours at a time so not much damage to be done to our beloved trees. if i was to leave my line up for a long time then i would get tree protectors for my line.

    Being 58 years old, having spent most of my life (so far ) around trees and in the woods, and having built more than a few ziplines in my day, I can assert that screwing lag bolts or eyebolts into the tree is much less damaging to the tree than putting a strap around it.  A (permanent) strap around the tree will, in time, strangle it, but an eye or lag bolt is a relatively small puncture wound that will scar over and seal around the fixture in a short time.  A healthy tree will not suffer any great or permanent damage from it.
    However, if you're just setting up a temporary zipline (like for the day or weekend, not a week or more), a strap is probably OK.  As mentioned elsewhere, tho', use a strap where both ends are secured to each other, away from the tree.  Not a "noose" where one end is slipped through a knot or loop at the other end and cinched tight against the tree.  The potential is much greater for real damage to the tree, and likely will make it more difficult to take it all down when you're done with it.

    i have been on several home made ziplines. one was about 200 feet long, and used steel cable somewhere in the range of 3/4 inch. it was between two trees above a pond. you would go out, and lose momentum in the middle, where you would simply drop into the water (about fifteen feet). its great fun.

    me and my buddy would use 3/8 rope that we would tie around the oak trees. We used a  rope rachet sold at home depot  and a pulley with a rope handing to a 2 by 4 seat. Didnt hurt the bark but we took it down each time.

    if you had four trees in a square then you could string four cables around all corners and put deer stands in them.  Have one high and zip to the other deer stand, which zips to a lower one, which goes to an even lower one, and then it brings you to the bottom of the first ladder.