Bark Protectors are slipped onto the rope at the beginning of a climb and go over the limb in double rope climbing to protect the tree from rope bum and minimize wear on the rope. They also keep pitch out of the rope when climbing in some of the conifers that produce large quantities of the substance.
Bark protectors (also called cambium savers and sometimes, simply, sleeves) are just sleeves made out of strips of leather about 4 or 5 inches wide and about 11/2 feet long. They are folded lengthwise and sewn together down the long side. The ends are open, forming a tube. Another material used by some is steel reinforced electrical conduit with swedges screwed into the ends.
Another device along the same line is called a Friction Saver. It is a strap with a different sized steel ring in either end. It is a little bit more time consuming to set and I don't use them often unless I plan to use one anchor a lot. It has the advantage of almost completely eliminating friction on the rope and the tree. Jeff Jepson covers their use in some detail in his excellent book (See Sources p. 58)
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