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Author Who's using what descender / ascender
SimonRL

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Joined: 27/11/2005
Location: North Wales

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Who's using what descender / ascender
Posted: 26/11/2009 17:50:32
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Following on from the Petzl recall thread:

neils wrote:

just did a quick google, for rope access work the stop does seem to be recommend for drops of less than 100 mt due too its perceived extra safety and smaller size. for higher loads or bigger descents the rack seems to win. i think a whole website could be devoted to the descender issue! Flowers


So who's using what? Just curious because when I first took up SRT there were some very vocal 'you will only use a stop'.

Me: stop / ascension, croll, pantin

Have never got used to the Fractio harness though

Anybody used any of the double stop style descenders from the likes of DMM and SRTE (the other half of Excellent Stuff enquired about importing SRTE but they were altogether too laid back and mostly on the beach Wink)
IP: 83.148.135.213 Edited: 26/11/2009 17:52:23 by SimonRL
stuey

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Joined: 15/08/2007

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Who's using what descender / ascender
Posted: 26/11/2009 17:57:16
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5 bar rack, old style metal catched ascenders. (non-handled). Foot ascender (pantin) and Knee ascender (another petzl non-handled)

I started SRT with a caving club and they were "stop or nothing" and in hindsight, I wonder what the hell they are all up to. They like their semi-static ropes as well. I think I saw god when I went down a big shaft in St Day on that combo. How anyone can do a big abseil on a stop, I don't know. Perhaps they just want to feel like they are going to die.

A few of my contempories use ID's, but you have to lift the rope into them on mega pitches. I'd rather take a bar out of the rack.

Plus, if you use a rack on a thinner rope, it is the rolls royce of descenders.
IP: 87.114.98.113
ditzy

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Location: wolstanton

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Who's using what descender / ascender
Posted: 26/11/2009 18:01:03
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i have a stop and handled jammer and croll and a pully jammer for spare or emergency
told stop is defalt option and i feel safer cos of the lock thing but a fig 8 wont and it twists the rope

--

im the ditzyest ditzy in ditzy land
IP: 217.44.146.235
SimonRL

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Who's using what descender / ascender
Posted: 26/11/2009 18:04:21
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stuey wrote:

A few of my contempories use ID's, but you have to lift the rope into them on mega pitches. I'd rather take a bar out of the rack.


IDs are fussier about rope diameter aren't they?

Rack seems to be getting very favourable comments from many Smile May need to acquire a new shiny!

Have had two very negative experiences with stops...

1) On the CRTT, watching somebody about to start the 2nd abseil, and thread his stop backwards (easy to do, I've done it, hence always sit back on it whilst clipped into something to make sure the handle pops out as a final check) and was about to set off... suggested to him that he might want to check his stop, at which point he started to undo it, whilst leaning back and not clipped in to anything... quickly ask him to clip something! *

2) Big abseil beyond the BODOD, brand new rope, couple of hundred feet of nothing underneath in a chamber that opened out on all sides, spinning gently (me, not the chamber) and the stop decided it wasn't going to stop. Pretty much thought I was dead that time Big Grin

* OK that's user error rather than a design flaw, but there are other designs out there that lock if threaded incorrectly or if the handle is squeezed in panic
IP: 83.148.135.213 Edited: 26/11/2009 18:07:19 by SimonRL
stuey

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Who's using what descender / ascender
Posted: 26/11/2009 18:27:11
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Racks got a bad press as the 3rd bar used to be hinged as well, which meant if you had it locked off and it jiggled undone, you'd be on the equivalent of less than 3 bars. That used to be a difficult one to get out of alive. The design has changed.

There are lots of horror stories and I must admit, I felt like I was playing russian roulette the first time I used it. But it was obvious that it was the way to go by the time I'd got about 20ft down the rope.

IP: 87.114.98.113
Graigfawr

Joined: 04/11/2009

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Who's using what descender / ascender
Posted: 26/11/2009 18:52:55
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Caving Supplies 5-bar pigtail rack with all five bars 'snap'-type rather than 3rd bar floppy (floppy swi ngs open and catches on things). Have tried Petzl Stop in Alpine caves but was unimpreressed. Use a Figure of Eight when climbing. Have even tried a Whaletail: designed as a heat-sink for really big pitches. They have their uses - even a rack gets excessively hot on even a slow descent after more than about 100m on dry rope. How many aditnow contributors have seen a Whaletail?

My Clog handled ascender has finally worn out (too many hundreds of feet of ochre-impregnated rope) and am about to try out shiny new Peztl handled ascender. Petzl Croll on chest and Petzl Pantin on foot (recent innovation - most impressed with it). Started off using Gibbs ascenders when I commenced SRT almost 30 years ago - the most inconvenient ascender I've tried - came apart fine but you needed a workbench to reassemble them.

Footloops made of tape, not rope, as it stays on boots better; two footloops, not one, as often necessary to bridge and avoid loose material when prussicking in mines.

At the end of the day though, its what you get used to and can use instinctively.
IP: 92.26.144.101
Cornish Pixie

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Joined: 02/01/2009
Location: Wicklow, Ireland

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Who's using what descender / ascender
Posted: 26/11/2009 19:06:25
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I remember that drop down Simm's Stuey, but you looked like a real pro to me Wink

I can't get on with a rack, but these days I prefer not to drop anything too deep, so a stop works for me!!

--

Den heb davaz a gollaz i dir
IP: 89.204.184.215
derrickman

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Joined: 18/02/2009

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Who's using what descender / ascender
Posted: 26/11/2009 19:36:07
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I did a 'snow walking' course in the CCF in about 1970, involving prussik loops, not easy with mitts on Roll Eyes

I did a certain amount of early SRT in the days when people used tape loops rather than harnesses; descended about 100ft on one occasion using a Clog 'figure 8' which was quite 'cutting edge' at the time.

still got that Clog now Laugh
IP: 82.32.67.44
ChrisJC

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Who's using what descender / ascender
Posted: 26/11/2009 19:44:07
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I vote for a Stop. Much safer.

When a rock bounces off your head, or you are otherwise distracted, you are safe. On a rack, you zoom at great speed to the bottom......

Chris.
IP: 95.210.44.8
stuey

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Who's using what descender / ascender
Posted: 26/11/2009 20:15:17
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That brings the whole rescue situation into light.

If you have rigged a single pitch and someone is hung up on their descender, how long would it take you to get them down? Long enough for suspension trauma? Ever tried descending a loaded rope? If someone is on an 8, they would fall at speed, but a rack with 5 bars in would result in a nasty whack, but not utterly being smashed. Plus, if someone was higher up the shaft and got knocked out, you could control their descent by pulling the free end of the rope.

For caving and tricky pitches I'd go with a stop all the time as they are easy to change over on.

People who generally don't do racks usually have an irrational fear of them (probably bought about by cavers! )
IP: 87.114.98.113
derrickman

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Who's using what descender / ascender
Posted: 26/11/2009 20:55:23
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I believe this is one reason why stops are favoured for commercial applications - someone has to sit down and write a procedure for just this sort of eventuality before they can be used.

Plus, SRT workers routinely have to use at least one hand for their actual task, so a device which is dependent on being held is of no use. Cavers and climbers have only to descend and have their hands available for this, all the time.

IP: 82.32.67.44
AR

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Joined: 07/11/2007
Location: Knot far from Knotlow in the middle of the Peak District

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Who's using what descender / ascender
Posted: 26/11/2009 21:06:34
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So far I've been using a stop for drops and croll, jammer & pantin for up but I recently got a CS rack second hand, just haven't had chance to do much beyond practicing threading it in my front room!

I got put off the stop somewhat by a 150' descent on an old, hairy 11mm rope which kept jamming in it. Halfway down I was seriously considering changing over and going back up, I carried on but had to manually force the rope through and my left hand was aching like hell when I landed - this made me think it was time to try a rack out....

On the rack safety angle, I've seen a trailed shunt used as a safety backup on a big pitch.

--

I sold my soul to Satan, but he brought it back and demanded a refund....
IP: 88.109.139.14
royfellows

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Joined: 13/06/2007
Location: Great Wyrley near Walsall

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Who's using what descender / ascender
Posted: 26/11/2009 21:07:44
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One can actually descend on a figure 8 using only your feet so as to keep both hands free for something else, but this off subject.

I always use a stop, but with a carabineer as you would the old bobbin descender.
Worn Petzl Stop + New rope = Danger of death.

I had experience of this years ago and took my Stop to CS and demonstrated what had happened to Phil Brown.
Just afterwards Petzl started supplying replacement bobbin assemblies.

Coincidence?


--

''the stopes soared beyond the range of our caplamps' - David Bick...... How times change
IP: 89.240.162.43
ttxela

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Who's using what descender / ascender
Posted: 26/11/2009 21:08:02
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Only ever used a stop, but then again I've done hardly any SRT.

IP: 92.23.134.119
Graigfawr

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Who's using what descender / ascender
Posted: 26/11/2009 21:12:54
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Few things are as polarised as the rack versus stop debate... IP: 92.26.144.101
Brakeman

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Who's using what descender / ascender
Posted: 26/11/2009 21:45:00
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Stop and old style yellow jammers for chest & Knee on double loop rope and basic foot ascender, over 20 years old, well used but still in excellent condition & work well.

--

you'll need a magic wand to fix that
IP: 86.139.206.186
Red_Shift

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Who's using what descender / ascender
Posted: 29/11/2009 21:41:48
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AR wrote:


I got put off the stop somewhat by a 150' descent on an old, hairy 11mm rope which kept jamming in it. Halfway down I was seriously considering changing over and going back up, I carried on but had to manually force the rope through and my left hand was aching like hell when I landed - this made me think it was time to try a rack out....

On the rack safety angle, I've seen a trailed shunt used as a safety backup on a big pitch.


A similar thing happened to me. Just got stuck, couldn't get the rope to feed through the stop and ended up almost pushing it through, which was hard work and unnerving. I bought a rack the next day and I haven't looked back.

The advantages of the rack (to my mind) are smoothness of descent (less jerky) and that it tends not to get too hot compared to the stop. Having used the rack pretty exclusively for the last few months I'm not going to go back to the stop, unless I'm doing something fiddly.

Inreresting point about the shunt, I'm tempted to try that out for the bigger missions, particularly when ascending. Idea being I can rig it to a second rope and be sure that if one rope breaks, fall I will not.
IP: 212.183.140.51
martymarty

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Joined: 17/01/2008
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Who's using what descender / ascender
Posted: 30/11/2009 06:41:40
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fig of 8 is what im most comfortable with but have an ID which has yet to get any real use and chest jammer for up

--

pan welwch olau coch sefwch yma
IP: 81.153.12.28
Monty Stubble

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Who's using what descender / ascender
Posted: 01/12/2009 06:25:46
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Anyone ever tried to control a dead weight on a descender by pulling the rope?

We did a few tests a few years ago and found it virtually impossible. You can stop people falling (if you're quick), but once they've built up speed it's difficult to stop them especially on your own.

That's why a favour an auto-lock descender. I agree a rack is much more comfortable on long drops but why not back it up with a shunt or similar?
IP: 82.12.23.63
stuey

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Who's using what descender / ascender
Posted: 01/12/2009 11:39:28
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I have a few friends who are heavily into their industrial rope access/official rescue techniques and I find it amazing to observe and wonder what on earth they stand to gain by doing it....

You take the perfectly safe SRT and add a few glugs of paranoia and before you know it, it would have been easier to get some other people to have laddered the shaft for you.

Taking the one handed rack and combining it with a shunt is like putting stabilisers on a motorbike. If there is a chance you will be hit by a significant rock, you're doing it wrong!

Anyway, must stay away from this debate. Laugh
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