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I bought a Harken 2608 40mm carbo ratchet block and put it on my ladder.

The pulley spins freely forward when raising the ladder but it can't spin backwards. I can stop and hold the ladder in between locks and the friction holds 90% of the weight and my hands 10%.

I can let the ladder all the way down by letting the rope just slide through my hands without gloves because most of the frictions on the locked pulley so it doesn't burn my hands.

My 28 isn't the heaviest, I would definitely use this if I had a beastly 40.

That's a 3/8 Yuznet braided polyester arborist Rope. It's fat enough for good grip in hands and almost no stretch which is good for control of the ladder.

The old pulley is taped but I'm going to cut it off and then move the ratcheting one over to the factory strap.

Plant Wood Grass Groundcover Terrestrial plant
 

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The rope is a great upgrade!

I'm trying to figure out how the ratchet works...can you clarify? Does it lock, or offer resistance? I was just wondering how that would work when bringing the ladder down. Would you be fighting with it trying to get it to 'release', while also trying to release the ladder locks?
 

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The rope is a great upgrade!

I'm trying to figure out how the ratchet works...can you clarify? Does it lock, or offer resistance? I was just wondering how that would work when bringing the ladder down. Would you be fighting with it trying to get it to 'release', while also trying to release the ladder locks?
I think you bring up a great point about how the slow release of the ratchet block could interfere with lowering the ladder. To the OP, I absolutely love the idea and I'm intrigued, but like @Holland, I'm curious as to whether this might actually hinder the lowering of an extension ladder. Anyone who's tried to lower a ladder very slowly knows that sometimes the ladder locks end up locking on the next set of rungs, causing us to raise the ladder again, then lowering a bit faster the next time to prevent the issue.

As much as I like the concept, (and I really do), I can't help but think that, for me at least, it would likely be more of a hinderance than a help. When I'm lowering a 32'-40' ladder, I know that I'm at my most vulnerable point between the time I take the ladder off the structure and get it lowered. Trying to wrestle with 40' of aluminum mostly over my head is taxing, so the delayed descent of a rope configured with a ratcheting block would only prolong the time until I get both ends of the ladder safely back to the ground. In situations where I have the ladder set up directly above a huge stretch of windows would be another example of needing the ladder to come down quick, since I'm essentially balancing the mostly-extended ladder at roughly a 60° angle just inches away from glass, at least until the ladder lowers enough to clear the windows. For all the same reasons, I would think using that ratcheting block in high winds would cause more problems than it solves.

@miket, in what situations do you see this being beneficial? I'm really not trying to pick apart your idea. I actually really like it and I'm always interested in trying new things if it'll make the job easier or safer. I love to tinker, so I've been thinking about how I could use one of those in other situations as well. I wish they made one way more skookum so I could use it for controlling the descent of big limbs when I'm cutting 50'-80' up in the trees on my property. I don't always have the option of just cutting & chucking the wood, and having Oak rounds race down zip lines isn't always realistic. Definitely intrigued. Anyways, thanks for the post and please keep us updated. Very interested to see how it works for our line of work.
 

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I like it very much, but the Osha inspector probably wouldn't. I got a warning once for a missing decal.

Depending on where you are and what you work on, it might not make any difference. I've only interacted with OSHA once in 15 years or more.
 
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