Zipline Maintenance The Smart Way


The main focus for most businesses is to get more clients. After all, more clients more profit. Right?

That works well up to a point. But when running a flying fox operation there are some some other things to stay focused on too. Otherwise those extra clients will start disappearing again - on ambulance stretchers !

Another flaw in the human character is that everybody wants to build and nobody wants to do maintenance   – Kurt Vonnegut

Yep, the thing I'm talking about is zipline repairs and maintenance. It's not a sexy topic. Not like marketing and booking people and financing a business expansion. Still, it has to be done. But who's got time to do it?

Here's an idea. Maybe don't try to cram more into your busy schedule. Let an expert handle it. At least the awful bits. Believe it or not, there are actually people who love this stuff. However, there are some things your staff can do to keep the costs down. So here it is. The ultimate ...

Time-Saving Guide to Zipline Maintenance

Wire brushing an anchor
Wire brushing the rust off a stay anchor before spraying with galvanising paint.

Commit to regular visual checks before use

Look regularly for simple things you can handle "in house". Are there spots of rust at hardware connections? It's a simple thing to attack them with a wire brush and apply rust proofing.

Check height at the dis-embarkation point. Has the cable dropped since the last time? Having a pole of the right height nearby makes this quick. You can make small adjustments yourself. But if the turnbuckle has to be fully opened or closed it's a sign of deeper issues. Some of the thread should always be visible.

Nature never stands still. Has dirt washed over anchor points? Perhaps grass or bushes have grown over them. Anything buried will corrode rapidly. Make sure any hardware at ground level can always be seen.

What about trees? Cable and bolts through trees are prone to being grown over. If the trunk looks strangled or begins to bulge it should be checked by an arborist. Acids in tree sap can destroy metal hardware very quickly.

Is the zip line terminated using wire-grips? The important thing here is slippage. Paint a mark on the main cable where the tail ends after the last grip. If they don't line up next time then DON'T let anyone use it. The system must be checked professionally.

Has anything else worked its way loose? Anchors must always be seated firmly against the structure. If not then shock loads may result. Forces for which an item was not designed can cause it to snap.

Remember, any repairs that require dismantling and reassembly of hardware must be done by an advanced rigger.