Notch Fusion Roundtable Reviews BigCommerce Mar 25th 2021

The arborists behind the Tree Thinking Podcast agreed to do an in-depth review of the Notch Fusion Tether for the Rope Wrench, and they put it to the test! Below are the three review videos featuring Jamie Schlittenhart, Andrew Miron, Cory Shields, and Becca Snowdale, starting with the unboxing and first thoughts and then to their final review after months of use.

Notch Fusion Roundtable Review

The arborists behind the Tree Thinking Podcast agreed to do an in-depth review of the Notch Fusion Tether for the Rope Wrench, and they put it to the test! Below are the three review videos featuring Jamie Schlittenhart, Andrew Miron, Cory Shields, and Becca Snowdale, starting with the unboxing and first thoughts and then to their final review after months of use.



Hey, everybody, this is team Eugene. Also up the tree thinking podcast. TreeStuff was nice enough to send us the fusion watch fusion rope wrench tether. So today we're gonna do a little unboxing we'll maybe get a first climb and kind of give our thoughts on it. I'm Jamie flipchart. I

have Andrew Corey shields.

With me today and I guess we'll just get started and

drum roll.


We definitely know what it is. It's got a picture on the box.

Nice. All right.


DPC modules. Yeah.

Some stickers and some magnets. We got a nice little bonus climber guy.

Oh, got tree cutter dog. Legendary limb Walker.

We got a new book, a new book.

Those are the usual treats. TreeStuff said, yeah, it was nice to get a little bonus here. Alright, let's get into this thing. Right off the bat notch seems to do really well with their packaging if that's something you care about. super clean looking really cool and kind of see what's inside there. illustration of the the tether itself. See we got on the back a notch fusion rope wrench tether, rigid, hot forged aluminum construction, integrated hitch tending pulley, Incorporated rope wrench stop for optimal orientation, multiple SRS attachment points, secondary attachment point for auxiliary climbing systems. Okay, that's something I didn't realize this had. That's pretty cool.

All right.

Instruction instructions. We won't go too in depth. So we'll keep hold on the ladder makes me again, if there's any confusion on who makes the product. They got it right. It's great. I like

all the different languages to


The hippie in me kind of likes that it's packed in cardboard. Oh, yeah. Easy to recycle, where, you know, when it's foam you, you just have this foam thing that, you know, I never put my gear back in the case it comes from usually so right,

there we go. We've got the kind of our first initial thoughts on it got a nice little eight kilometer pulley right there. It's permanently attached to the tether here. So pulley is always part of this system, which is pretty neat. Multiple attachment points here. Got a nice little spring going on up here. Yeah, overall, nice fit and finish on it. Got a rope diameter tells you how what we're up to use pretty typical 11 to 13 millimeter. Nice fit and finish No. no apparent like wear marks or anything for machines. It's a it's pretty nicely made up. There it is. There's the body writing. So I'm guessing this is the

the extra time point.

Right? Yeah. Was it through the instructions? Yeah,

I'm interested to kind of find some of that stuff out. Yeah. I wonder

if it was an eye endpoint or just like attending point. Yeah. Okay. Secondary attachment point. Yeah. So that is a rated point.

It seems like a quality piece of gear. You know, it doesn't feel some gear you get and it almost feels like you could just break it. This does not feel like that to me. When I climb on my system, I don't have a chest harness, I bring the my lanyard over my shoulder and then I attach it into something. So it'll be interesting to see if I can get a pulley here, I might have to put a little carabiner on there to do that. Which is easy enough to do?

Well, for one, it's very pretty. I love this green color. And I agree with the nice little handle that comes there as well. For me personally, I never know where to attach my Knee Ascender my house and when I'm using a rope wrench. So I do enjoy that there are these two attachment points. And it'll be interesting to see how they, how they actually tend to climb.

One thing about that that I look forward to is you know, when you're in a tree, and you maybe have two systems, you're taking your system off when I'm always nervous about dropping that poorly. Yeah. And you know, that's not you can have this clip to to you. Yeah, so there's no way you can drop any Oh,

yes. You know, one less thing to drop.

Yeah, that hold that whole thing just Well,

I won't say No way. I will find a way.

Yeah, and that's a good point. Because then at that point, all you have is a carabiner and then your Prusik. And yeah, I mean this your Karabiner your process. So yeah, a little bit more simplicity there. All right,

so we're at our tree. And before we get our fusion tethers set up, we decided to, you know, show you guys what we usually climb on, kind of go over it a little bit, I'll start, I just have a rope ranch on a rope logic fixed tether, I have the double I and the hitch climber escentric pulley. I like using the hitch climber pulley, because it's got these multiple attachment points just adds a little bit of versatility to it.

So for my rope runner setup, I've got the fix tether, as well, I like I prefer to use a carabiner because the whole system can kind of collapse when i when i suck it into myself and adds a little bit of length, I feel like it's the trade off into a better I also like the hitch hitch. climber, because it's got the lower attachment point for for my, my house or my Knee Ascender. And then also I use that that upper attachment point for the carabiner for that tether. On this one, we got a modified VG and that's what I usually find.

Very similar over here, even though Vt Prusik and I have the group logic fix double splice as well, which, in retrospect, I feel like I should have got the single splice, it's a bit cumbersome here just setting it all up. And I'm a bit of a clumsy person. So it's it's a it can be a little bit bulky. But that being said, I do like I just have an IRC block here Cory actually gave me forever ago. So I mean, you know it gets the job done. And then there's just one attachment point which is one of the limitations that I do find with it because I I'll have to attach the my costs to like my Chester, get creative with it sometimes So, but that's a

decent point to make. Because with the fusion tethers you have this issue where you have to choose to either, right, because you would want a single either it's it's really bunched up on the roof.

Yeah, that's something I'm really looking forward to testing out for the fusion

really pretty basic just got the stock tether that comes with the rope wrench. on single roof a lot I've used unicenter or and now I'm using the roof runner Pro. But I do like having the knot and the you know the feel of climbing on that. So I look forward to try it out in the fusion and kind of get into more time climbing single rope with one of these setups, the pulley, just a real basic pencil micropoly and Prusik is tied into vt. So pretty, pretty basic setup, but looking forward to give it a shot on the new tether.

We're gonna start installing the rope wrench onto our new tether here. I brought some tools that I might need allen wrench and a hammer might not need the hammer though. I'm bringing along just in case but I might not need it this time. So when I pull off the old rope wrench on my old setup here unscrews like that. I'm do the pulley here or the pin here. Let's find out. Make sure I get the right orientation here is a pretty nice fit fits right in there. I shouldn't I should have gotten a gray rope wrench to make it fit with the all gray together here. Tighten it up a bit.

All right.

That's all set. That is that fits pretty nicely. You can really feel it was hard to feel that spring if there wasn't anything attached there but you really feel the play in that spring when you're when you've got more more leverage on it.

attached to this bad boy.

Kind of the pulleys all attached there so I can kind of let go but let it all hang there while I'm pulling up the friction hitch makes a little easier. I don't have to use as many hands to keep it all together. takes

a little getting used to this new piece of gear. All seems to fit nicely.

It's clumsy friendly. And it's also kind of nice. You can swing that it's nice and wide on there so the bridge opens up that way instead.

Take my Knee Ascender nice that has a little clipping point right there. When you get Under my chest Ascender on my chest, the tender here.

Just turning to take a lot of time, take this in. Maybe it will just connected here, but I think I need to try that first going into that secondary attachment point. Then

Yeah, I was impressed so far. As much as I want to complain about it. I can't like complain about stuff but not complain about here so far. I like the multiple attachment points. I think with the stiffer tether, they're usually I clipped my chest, my chest tender down at the bottom, but I was able to clip it up top there. And I didn't notice a major difference here, which is kind of nice.

All right, well, what were your first thoughts after your initial ascent?

Spring helps like break the wrench. So it slides up pretty easy. Helps mood,

kind of echoing what Corey was saying a little bit I liked the way I was able to hook in although i was i was hooking in download where he said it usually did. Because that was where I was able to clip on my lanyard to it over my shoulder and it worked great. It was smooth as as binary, you know it, it really just shot up the rope and no complaints. I mean, obviously with this aluminum tether, there's no folding in it as using the stock one before. So it was pretty flimsy. And yeah, it's a, it's a whole nother level using this compared to that.

Alright, we just finished a little climb a little slippery climb the fusion, it's hard to give too much feedback, because it's, you know, we've had it for a couple hours. I think we all agree that it's pretty cool that the poll is kind of integrated, you're not going to be dropping stuff. It's nice that it's stiff. The spring kind of helps it go up the rope smooth. And like so that ergonomic handle kind of invites your hand to grab there. So if you're going to take a quick two step thing, it's a nice spot to tend your system.

Yeah, so the only thing I kind of echo follow Jamie's thoughts, the only thing I would add is that if you're doing three to one mechanical advantage system out there on a long long long walk or something and you go to tend to back together, the stiff tether does tend to pop straight out it's not doing it right now cuz I don't think I have enough slack on here, we go out a little ways. Really wait the system, that tether tends to pop kind of straight out towards you. And it when it's fully weighted, kind of out on the branch will actually kind of pop towards your face. So not something that you would typically think about with a with a nonrigid, tether. But definitely something to keep in the back of your mind for this thing.

What they said seemed pretty on point, you know, it was really nice having everything connected. There was a couple of points when I was up in the tree lane here to dinner off and switching lines with people and whatnot. So I was taking it off. And it was just nice to not have to take the pulley all the way off, to be able to work with it. It felt really smooth. The one thing where it kind of got me and honestly, it's not a good idea. It wasn't efficient movement anyways, but I was just playing with different hand grips to try grabbing it up high. And as I pushed it up, it kind of pinches your knuckle right there. That being said, I think it's designed to be held right here probably for that reason. That was the only thing that really stood out to me as a negative. Other than that, man, it was smooth. And I did clip into this. And this was a great spot to just pull the whole system up over my shoulder. So I like it.

Everyone loves this ergonomic finger deal. It's great if you're right handed or left handed or if you don't know which one you are well made. And I'm sure after a little bit more usage and playing around a little bit more will experience some some more advantages and perhaps limitations. But yeah, overall, I'm jazzed about it.


thanks, TreeStuff. This was fun. This is secret and we'll talk to you guys in a week and again in a month. In six months

You know what my favorite dressing is? Wrench dressing.


2 Week Review

Hey everybody, its team Eugene and the tree thinking podcast. I'm Jamie slate nerd. I

have no doubt,

Corey shields, and Andrew Marin.

With me today, our last video, we had just received the fusion tether from TreeStuff. And we did some first impressions and a little climb on it. Today, we've all been in the field with it for maybe two weeks now. So just kind of an update on things we've noticed about the tether. One thing I've noticed, personally is the attachment point here. For my chest tether, when I'm up in the tree, and I go to take it off, I feel like I kind of got to fight it a little bit because it's really rigid, I prefer the loop on my fixed tether. So simple fix, I just tied a little loop a throw line, right at that attachment points. The tether to stiff tethers really nice, you know, keeps it going up the rope really good. I noticed, I usually climb on a Rocco carabiner. And I just wanted to try something else. So I had this DMM D shaped one. And when I put a carabiner on, I like to rotate it all the way around. It's just much more of a fight like I can't even do it with this one, then on my hitch climber, but I still do like how smooth it is I like you know the handle. Like all the pulleys built in the spring, it does function really well, those are just a couple things I noticed. Let me go one more thing. A plus is that attachment point they're finding a tree and want to do a little traverse, let's say my Captain Hook or something, it's a really nice spot to attach and kind of move yourself around the tree.

tried it out with various links of Prusik and various shapes and styles of Karabiner. And I also noticed that that the D shape and the pear shaped both don't really necessarily lend themselves easily to finagle it so that the lock is on the bottom. So the oval shape is definitely best, I found that the length of the Prusik doesn't make too much of a difference. I started when I started climbing using wrenches and Prusik. And things I got a really long one. And it actually works really well with this. So that's kind of a plus, but a shorter one suits it just as well. So those are the two things that I've noticed. And

so I'll just first I guess I'll start off with the positives. I do like how how it tends I like how stiff it is. I like that attachment point. I like that it's all attached. Again, as we kind of echoed in that first video. You know, transferring it within the tree is really, really easy, you can clip it to yourself, and then just kind of let it all kind of come off the rope, and you're not worried about losing a pulley or part of the system at all. As far as gripes I do have a few of them. The first one being with my climbing system, I like to attach my Knee Ascender. As I'd mentioned in that initial thoughts, I like to attach my Knee Ascender what would be right about here on like a hitch climber pulley. It would be nice if it had just like a half Becket or even just like a little loop not life rated or anything like that right here. So that you're not like running up through your carabiner or running up through your bridge to try to connect to that point. That's just my one of my few gripes. The other one, which is a little bit more serious is that with the soft tethers, there's not actually anywhere points on it between the rope wrench and the tether itself on this, when you get down to that stop right there. And it's actually we'll get a close up view of it a little bit later. But you can see that there's a little bit of paint coming off on this. And I imagine with prolonged use, you know, this has only been a week or two with prolonged use that might wear into that rope wrench and eventually wear it out. You know, kind of a design fix that I could see with that as plugging in like a little piece of rubber or something like a rubber I stopped to stop that from from happening, but I could see it wearing both the tether itself away and then the rope wrench itself and one other thing I like about it, you can use it as a choker system. So I use this on a spar poll a couple of weeks ago, and it's not as efficient as some other systems but just like any other rope wrench, it does allow you to get pretty close to it and you don't kind of make those cuts in a choker setup on a smartphone.

So what I wanted to test out on this is to see how a stiff tether would work going weaving up and down through four branches. I did a bird that had a ton of branches on it. And I purposely kind of weaved my line through it which was a total pain in the butt. Not the most efficient route but I kind of wanted to see how this manipulated through a canopy. It worked great. It because when I was climbing on it, when I when I was kind of walking up through it it sag down Mona so I had to make way for myself to get through So this just kind of followed me right up the rope. And then when I came back down, I was worried that it, you know, get caught sideways on branches or something, and I just didn't have any of that. So, I was pretty stoked with the way that worked out. Um, the other thing I was doing is I was doing a removal at one point. And so I would take the Phone Clip the other end as I worked my way up, and I would throw it over a branch, and then I can kind of clip it into this attachment point. And it was still on my bridge. And so it was a way to use it now. I mean, I guess technically as double rope, and I was using it more as a positioning lanyard at the time. But that's kind of a nice feature to have this year, so that it wasn't, you know, another place on my bridge or off on the side, it was able to just be right all part of the same setup. I really liked it, it was smooth, it kind of it was what I thought it would be. For the most part, there wasn't a whole lot of surprises climbing on it. That was my experience in last couple of weeks. So I have one more thing to add.

Yeah, I remember, we were kind of concerned that the stop here wouldn't allow you to collapse the whole system. But that's not an issue at all. I saw some comments online. If people worried about that. Yeah, we had the same concerns. But yeah, if you're out and you need to pull a bunch of slack, you can simply do that with one hand. That's, that's super cool. set them up, do some climbing,

I got to do it. All right. So when installing it, I've been getting this thing on first, especially in your if you're up in the tree doing a transfer once that's on your whole thing's contained right there, you just have to get this boy closed in.

Tie your hitch.

And then it's ready to go. is one of the features that I like about this is how easy it is. And everything's all connected in one piece. So fast setup. Well, it's fast with this thing. You know it, it just kind of comes together.

All right, we just finished a crime in this big beautiful Oregon, white oaks, I noticed my hitch combination matters a little, little more, I have to tweak it because I usually find with the hitch climber centric, and it's got a really slim profile. So it helps break that that hitch whereas this one with the newt, I believe is what this is it will get sucked in there. And I get up in the tree and just be frightened to 10 my hits, but I switched to a vt and you know, problem solved. It's just tinkering with you're not.

Again, I really want to point out that it's almost exclusively oval carabiner friendly, for the attachment. Just it's just like and even then it's kind of a little challenging to swivel it to orient it how you want. But that's not necessarily a deal breaker. And then just kind of same as what Jamie just said, it takes there's a lot more dialing in. But once you get that sweet pointed, it really sings. It's just

like a new piece of gear exactly, just

like with anything else. I'm still really love this, I found myself you know, holding on to this, I use the fix in this intermittently, last couple of weeks, and I found myself like grabbing the fix for this, this little nice little handle here. So that's kind of cool. It's already a popular thing for me, just something to consider like the carabiners will fit through this bottom attachment point, but not the top one. So something to consider. I was like, What the heck, just because I was trying to attach my lanyard to it.

Today I was mainly focusing on kind of limb walking with these beautiful white oaks of these big sprawling limbs. I was trying to run out to the end and then come back and kind of feel how it worked. I was climbing on the VTX I didn't really have too much problem pulling this lack one of the things that um, you know, this could be just getting used to being on the rope wrench again, I've been up until we started trying these out. I've been doing a lot of the rope runner bro. So it's kind of been getting used to making sure the right Prusik is in to catch it, you know, and how many wraps and all that stuff. Yeah. And so I've found myself kind of focusing on that and thinking about that a little bit. I don't know that that's tether related, but you know, just kind of one of the things I was thinking about was climbing up there and getting set But I've been enjoying it, you know, I mean, all the things you guys were saying as far as you know, the carabiner turning and noticed all that stuff as well. But that was that was kind of my take on it.

And the only thing I'd reiterate I mean yeah it's been a pretty neat case piece of kit but again that those two were points is something I'm going to keep a pretty close eye on. You know the where point up top where that stop is and the where point down below on the rope wrench itself. Just a little concerned about that. It makes me retire a rope wrench prematurely you know that that would definitely be a deal breaker for me anyway. Not necessarily. Not necessarily something that would like completely disqualify it for anybody else. But for me, you know, if I'm wearing through rope wrenches quickly, that might not be something that I'd be interested in. But yeah, so far still impressed with it. You know, 10 is really nicely it works really nicely did some limb walks and some some traversals and stuff with it. It's it's a pretty good piece of gear.

Alright, well, we'll check in again soon. Again. Thanks, TreeStuff. This has been fun. It's cool to test out a new piece of gear. Yeah, yeah. learn the ins and outs of it. Sure. Well, we find out so we'll see you soon.


Final Thoughts

Everybody This is the tree thinking podcast. We're here for our final installment on the fusion tether video. My name is Jamie slitting heart.

Andrew Myron Corey shields.

We've really picked apart this thing over the last couple videos, I think video two. If you're looking into buying this thing, maybe maybe go check that out. It's a pretty good review. So today we're just going to have fun with it. We're at this awesome coastal Redwood. And we've set up kind of a work climb, what we're going to do is set up our tethers get ready for ascent, doing a set, we have a couple stations in the tree, and then we'll descend out. So you guys ready to

do it? gonna be fun.

All right, that was a lot of fun. I guess we'll just do kind of our final thoughts and wrap up this little project, our roundtable review of the knotch fusion tether. Andrew, you want to start it off?

Sure. It's been a lot of fun climbing with it. To be honest, when I first got it, I was you know, it's kind of like Oh, sweet, we'll check it out and see where it's going. You know what it's gonna you know, what, what, how is it gonna change the game. I enjoyed the pulley. I know you know, there's been mixed review on that but I like having the integral pulley. I like having the spring on here. And this extra points been pretty key for when I'm redirecting to different parts of the tree I've used it I didn't think I'd use it but I've used it a couple times now. See I was I was climbing with the rope wrench pro quite a bit before we got these things Road Runner or sorry Road Runner pro and so as ever since I started climbing with this I've been haven't used it once because I really wanted to run it through its paces I'll probably go back to climbing to the rope runner pro cuz that's just such a key I like how that goes between single rope and double rope and whatnot. But on trees where I know I'm just going up and coming down on single rope. I'll probably use this again and keep using the fusion I really liked it. Long time ago I made some fusions are like me and my brother some people at the company I was working with made some aluminum ones and I tried it a couple times and it just seemed like is bulky and the way I it was a long time ago so I can't remember if it was the angle or what I didn't like about it but it never stuck. And the way this one's designed, it's called probably use it anytime I'm using the rope wrench. That being said, you know, it is what it is, it's a fusion, it's kind of unfair to compare it to the rope runner pro because that's a complete climbing system. This is just a tether, right?


thank you so much. TreeStuff I've had a lot of fun trying these out climbing around on these trees and talking about it.

For me, there's no denying that like a stiff tethers is beneficial. You know, there's there's been people make up for a long time. Even you guys were making them back a while ago. The attachments awesome. We just talked about that every time the nice spring, it's super smooth on a set. But my my downside to this thing is the attached Foley I, I like my hitch primer, only so much because I could say like a small mid sized conifer removal, I can move in rope up and then slap my rope wrench on for a for this firework, or, you know, whatever. And I found that in a few trees, I would try to climb with this and I'm like, I kind of want to change over and it just didn't work out too well, for me, it'd be sweet. If they made just a tether. I think that would be awesome without the attach pole. That's kind of my thing. I'm a big fan of the hitch climber and being able to switch back and forth. But other than that this thing is sweet. Like, really smooth, engages nice. The handles cool. The attachment points are great. I just like the versatility of the hitch binder.

I like it. It's I like the how stiff it is. And I personally enjoy the pulley being integrated. Because that's all right there. Kind of like all the same stuff that I have been saying, you know, it's definitely more compatible with oval shaped carabiners, and, and it takes a little bit more dialing in the Prusik. Then, you know, like a full climbing system, you know, I'm a rope runner girl myself. But if and when I do bust out the rope bridge, I would say that this fusion is probably going to be my preference from now on. Yeah, I like the spring. And yeah, I got mostly good stuff to say about it. So thank you so much. I'm swiping right.

All right. So I'll be I'll be up front I've kind of been upfront and these entire views. I was not a huge fan of this when I first saw it. In fact, I remember talking with Andrew, we saw him on Facebook post from Instagram post. And I was like that is the most useless thing I think I've ever seen in my life. But it's won me over I'm I thought I was gonna hate it. I

really did. You really tried,

I really tried to. I tried to find a reason to hate this thing. But I couldn't it is it is a well made well, well thought out piece of gear. It's not it's not perfect by any stretch of the imagination. But I like the like the rigid portion of it. The attached pulley. While it does, I do have a few gripes about it. I do like the hitch climber setup with those multiple attachment points to hook in like a Knee Ascender or something like that. And even if they did like a half Becket on this in the future, so you can attach those Knee Ascender that would make this pretty bomb proof. I like that it's attached and that you're not going to be like fighting with it in the tree. But just the Knee Ascender the way that I run my Knee Ascender and the lack of an attachment point that's kind of a little bit of a worry, or a little bit of a not ideal spot. For me. The only really worrisome spot again, as I've mentioned before, was is this kind of where point up top here over the life of it, I don't I don't know how it's gonna respond. Again, it's still just kind of like a pink feeling thing at this point. We've been using it for two or three months now for using it for a while. So I'm gonna keep an eye on that definitely in the future, and we'll see kind of how that responds. But other than that, you know, this is my, I don't have a fancy rope runner, I

don't have a

zigzag or I'm not really a big mechanical friction device, kind of kind of guy. So this is going to be my go to break anytime I'm using any kind of single rope. Like Andrew was saying, if you're just using singer up the entire time, it's really hard to beat this for a tether system and I I'm a fan of it. I'm definitely a fan of it. I'm gonna be using it until they come up with something better where I get a fancy you can use but you know that might never happen. So

like if you know Cory that means a lot.

One over. I don't change

my mind often.

That's awesome. So I think all in all, we're all stoked on this thing. Thanks TreeStuff Yeah, this has been a lot of fun. Go go and try this fusion. It is it is cool. There's something to be said about the stiff cutters. So yeah, thank you. We'll talk to you guys soon.