Artificial High Directionals, or AHD’s, allow a qualified rescue team to redirect the path of their mainline around and over obstacles. Although the uses for a versatile AHD are limitless, the most frequent is to reduce edge trauma in raising and lowering systems. Running your mainline through a directional, located seven feet or so above the edge, allows your team to go over the edge with very few of the typical risks and difficulties. Better yet, it allows you to bring your victim back over the edge quickly, easily, and safely.
The greatest majority of AHD’s are sold as tripods. With adequate training, a tripod can rapidly be deployed over many cliffs, structures, and vertical access shafts. More advanced AHD systems, such as the Vortex Multipod, allow a well trained team to quickly create alternate rigs: A-Frames, Sideways A-Frames (SA), Easel-A, Gin Poles. In the right hands, these advanced rigs can offer increased stability and extremely safe deployment.
AHD’s require advanced training for proper use. Anything less is a recipe for disaster. In the hands of trained and qualified technicians, however, an effective AHD may well be the most significant key to dramatically increasing the safety of any over-the-edge rescue.