Notes on using a Capstan Winch!

Hello all,

Here is something that many climbers use. Some of you who do heavy construction use a full powerful winch. Then some of us doing smaller jobs rely on a capstan winch. I wanted to send you out some links and simple instructions on how to use the winch.

Capstan Winch 1

Before you do any work, read about the winch. Is it heavy enough to do what you want it to do? Is it going to mount the way you want it to mount? Does it have the controls you need? Are the instructions in english or whatever language you understand? Did you actually read through the manual or are you going to wing it? If you wing it and someone is in the are working the load, that is stupid! Don’t be stupid! If you are stupid, well then safety won’t matter and if something goes wrong it maybe too late to beg for forgiveness.

  1. Make sure the winch is secured, either to a truck or to a pole or to something very, very solid. Triple check this and be safe. If you have a winch that turns make sure it is locked before you lift. Solid, solid, solid.
  2. Check it to see if it’s working properly, forward and backwards and stop properly.
  3. In this case use a rope and wrap it, make sure you wrap it properly. What I mean is that if you are lifting something heavy you will need more drag, so make sure you that you know what you are lifting. However, you don’t want too many wraps on it because you may want to let it slip back a bit. If you have too many wraps then you won’t be able to let it slip back at all. So pay attention. If you have to, lift the object up about 5 feet, and test the winch for slipping back down. Pay attention when it’s low, do a test, then you will know. I mean you will know, not guess. It’s easier to test it at 5’ rather than at 255’. Just think about it, test it out before you lift it up high.
  4. Have someone on the controls at all times. Secure it. Have someone watching it all the time. If you’re in the air, keep an eye on the guy on the winch and see if he’s paying attention. Be aware of what is going on. Talk to each other. Can the climber hear the winch operator? Do you have good signals that everyone agreed to prior to the climb? Signals really help. There can be a lot of noise on the ground and in the air.
  5. Once the load is off, look at the rope and make sure there are no cuts or tears or major ware.

Not much detail but you get the idea. If you get a new winch, try to test it before you use it. If you are new to using it, make time to get trained on it.

Remember, most of all, be safe and don’t be stupid!

If you have feedback, let me hear your 2 cents on Facebook or Twitter or G+ or leave a comment below.

Some links and PDF downloads;

 To see where you can purchase winches;

Amazon Capstan Winch Search

GME Supply company: Winch list

Other products;

Safety Glasses

Work Gloves


Climbing helmets

Steel Carabiners and accessories

Leatherman Quick Release

Safety Harnesses

Remember to support Hubble!




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