The art of Rigging (Grip Hoist)


By: Eli Steinberg

“This is impossible,” said King David in exasperation upon looking at the enormous hill in front of him. “How are we expected to move these gigantic slabs of rock up this? It simply cannot be done.”

 “It may require a bit of ingenuity…” responded Bridges, our fearless leader, “But I’m sure we can do this if we put our rigging skills to the test. All we need to do is set up a high line system that can carry these rocks from the base to the top. How hard could it be?”

Rigging is a specialty skill possessed by an elite few of the SCA Massachusetts Corps which utilizes mechanical advantage in order to achieve otherwise impossible tasks. To rig, one uses complex systems of pulleys and a nifty machine called the Grip hoist to transport heavy materials from point A to point B. Sometimes this can be accomplished by a simple “direct pull” which will essentially drag an object, but often a highline is utilized in order to move objects off the ground completely. Once the object is airborne, you can simply attach an additional rope to it and roll it along the highline system – much like how zip lines work.

Constructing such elaborate networks requires extensive attention-to-detail and safety precautions. When a rigging network works properly, work can be done with significantly less effort. But when it is done improperly, things can be extremely hazardous – and potentially life threatening to those manipulating the system. Luckily, our corps consists of highly trained professionals whom understand the hazards of rigging, and take great lengths to mitigate any risks associated with it. With our diligent work ethic, safety training, and innovative riggings skills – we were able to move 300+ pound slabs of rock with ease which would have otherwise taken hours of toiling atop of rock bars to budge. This not only helped reduce needless strain on our bodies, but also allowed us to fulfill our mission of serving America by constructing a stone staircase which the people of Leominster can now enjoy for many generations to come.