petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby potholer » Feb 28, 2013 8:34 am

killian,
Is there anyone you can borrow gear from to try out in various caves (and on various ropes) and see how it suits you?

When you talk about long drops, what kind of length are you thinking about?

As far as Stops are concerned, there does seem to be a user weight range where they work best, depending on the type of rope used. At ~70kg, I think I'm close to the ideal weight for use with 9-11mm [European] rope and reasonable-length drops.
In practice, I rarely do single drops over 50m in the UK, and where I do deep caving on summer trips, there probably isn't an individual length over 25m (I think there are over 50 rope sections to get down to a camp at -550).
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby killian » Feb 28, 2013 8:56 am

potholer i would like something i can drop a 80 footer as well as something i can drop long TAG drops with... i never really used a rack cuz i was a 8 man up till the time i did over 200 ft. that was the 1st time i used a rack.. maybe i just need time with them but i really dont like how heavy they r. not saying the stop is a feather or nething but the SMC rack i used has in my opinion overly heavy. i feel like the petzl rack would be good for lots of diff drop lengths. maybe im wrong. didnt realize ppl got so protective over there decenders..lol

scott i totally agree with ur statment Experience does not always equal understanding... i have lots of years on rope just not lots of years with a rack... just never used them.
Man i sure do like caving.....
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby Mike Hopley » Feb 28, 2013 9:06 am

killian wrote:i feel like the petzl rack would be good for lots of diff drop lengths. maybe im wrong. didnt realize ppl got so protective over there decenders..lol


Sure it would. If you like the Petzl Rack, go for that! Does it matter that some other people hate it?

Unless you're using stupidly thick rope, any of these descenders can handle any cave in the world. People have even used Stops for Golondrinas!

It should be clear that different people prefer different devices. All of them are safe if used correctly. The best descender is the one you like best. You can only find out what you like by experience.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 28, 2013 10:13 am

killian wrote:potholer i would like something i can drop a 80 footer as well as something i can drop long TAG drops with... i never really used a rack cuz i was a 8 man up till the time i did over 200 ft. that was the 1st time i used a rack.. maybe i just need time with them but i really dont like how heavy they r. not saying the stop is a feather or nething but the SMC rack i used has in my opinion overly heavy. i feel like the petzl rack would be good for lots of diff drop lengths. maybe im wrong. didnt realize ppl got so protective over there decenders..lol

scott i totally agree with ur statment Experience does not always equal understanding... i have lots of years on rope just not lots of years with a rack... just never used them.


Racks take getting used to, especially if you are moving from an 8 and no one has showed you how to really use a rack, or you haven't researched on your own, on how to properly use a rack. I personally do not like petzl racks because A. The bottom eye hole is NOT welded shut, it simply has a piece of sheet metal with a screw in it. Uhh, no thanks. and B. The bars are aluminum. IF you are having problems with only using 3 bars, which is very unsafe because one swing of the rope and you are on 2 bars = free fall, aluminum bars will be one of the reasons why you will have problems moving when you don't know how to use it. Mainly I dislike the petzl rack due to the non welded eye, that is just not very structurally ridged.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby snoboy » Feb 28, 2013 10:13 am

Smells_Familiar wrote:You have found that a BMS micro provides more friction than a Petzl rack? Petzl's got 5 aluminum bars and a micro's only got 4, and they're stainless steel. Aluminum provides more friction than steel. Were you using two hyper bars or something? I'm just curious how you came to this conclusion.


To be fair, I should have specified a BMS with hyperbars. We have used those for lowering rescue loads (two people), where as I find the Petzl rack to be a little too fast with just 225lbs of me on rappel.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby killian » Feb 28, 2013 10:20 am

:kewl: yea your right about the eye not being welded chads93GT. i could see how that may rise an eyebrow. i guess i just need to get a hold of some diff racks and try them all out b4 getting something... :kewl:
Man i sure do like caving.....
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 28, 2013 10:30 am

and 6 bar racks will be heavy, you can lighten them up by getting stamped steel bars instead of solid round ones, Or you can even get the narrow 6 bar rack to shed even more weight. I have a normal 14" 6 bar stainless rack with 4 stamped steel bars, the weight doesn't bother me, you cant tell its heavy when rappelling, and if you are just pit bouncing then its not like you are hauling it from pitch to pitch, and even when you do, its not that big of a deal. a standard 14" 6 bar rack will allow you to drop anything from 5 feet to 1500' ;)

I also use a mini rack when doing in cave stuff, but I have yet to use it for any really long drops. I think the deepest I have gone on it is 120'. I can't remember if I have used it at TAG on anything other than multi drops......... Ahh memory........
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby Carl Amundson » Feb 28, 2013 11:02 am

The aluminum bars of a Petzl would be problem for me (& many project cavers).
I wear thru the steel bars of my BMS micor-rack and need to replace the top two bars (hyper and top swing bar) once a year.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby gindling » Feb 28, 2013 11:07 am

First descender I bought was a Petzl Stop, though I'm used to calling it the Petzl Slow. After a few weeks of deep TAG pitting that thing stayed in a box and never saw the light of day until it was repurposed into a release for a rope swing. I think the handle worked for a few pits and then it began to just creep down the rope when not engaged, hence the Slow, and thats when it would move down the rope at all. Now I'm talking Marion style dirty, thrown in the back of Blue, with "speed bumps" along the way rope. It does not like 11mm dirty rope.

If you're worried about weight with a full SMC rack then get the stamped U bars as has been said, they decrease the weight significantly and has the added safety of being very difficult to not notice that you rigged the rack wrong. They also work on many different rope diameters and also webbing (if you ever unfortunately find yourself in that situation) I still nostalgically use it for deep single rope drops but once I starting having to pay for weight packed in on mules and the multi mile approaches of western caving I quickly got the micro rack with a hyper bar. I would also suggest the long frame micro rack, sometimes wet swollen rope can cause problems and being able to pull that bar further down is a godsend. Though having seen people with the Scarab recently I'm thinking of buying a new descender!
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby Mike Hopley » Feb 28, 2013 12:19 pm

gindling wrote:First descender I bought was a Petzl Stop...It does not like 11mm dirty rope.


Did you try C-rigging it?
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby VRcaver » Feb 28, 2013 12:29 pm

Mike Hopley wrote:The Simple most certainly will give you the same range of speed (at least on normal length drops, not 200 m). The difference is that friction is controlled mainly by raising or lowering the hand (and also by how hard you grip the rope).


You do realize there are 3 methods of controlling friction with a rack? 1. Raising or lowering the hand (and also by how hard you grip the rope) 2. spreading or compressing the bars with your non-brake hand 3. adding or removing bars. The simple has only the first method. Therefore not the same range of speed even on normal length drops. I agree that #3 is only for the long drops.

I'd rather have instant control in my fingertips, than adjust my speed by fiddling with bars. It's hard to fiddle with bars when you're looking down the pitch, scanning ahead for the next rebelay, as you run and jump off the wall. Rack bars don't come with proprioception; my right hand does. :tonguecheek:


Again, I think the Simple and micro rack are similar here. But clearly you have misconceptions about the micro rack ease of use. I'm not saying YOU should switch from a Simple, but I konw that the reasons you state for the Simple being better are incorrect.

The Simple works fine with (old, fuzzy) 11 mm rope. Are you telling me that people actually use thicker caving rope than that? Or is it the stiffness of the rope that makes it difficult?


I have seen people having extreme difficulty with a Simple in several different common caving situations in the US where the ropes are left rigged in cave or where fat, stiff ropes are used. I have not done the work to research the hows and whys, it is easier to just not use a bobbin device in the US when you don't know if the rigging is European/Alpine style rope type and diameter.

I used a Stop to descend a 1000 metre deep cave; it worked fine. My hand wasn't painful or numb. Uncomfortable at times, but nothing more.


I used a micro rack to descend a 1400 meter deep cave with 200+ rebelays. It worked like a charm. In a number of cases (several pitches where the rope was bad) it worked better than anything else would have. Others on the trip using handled bobbin devices experienced hand pain and numbness, some lasting more than a week after the cave trip.

I don't like the device, for the same reasons you mention, but let's not exaggerate the problem. The Stop works fine in the hands of people who know how to use it
.

"Works fine" versus "works great" are different measures. The stop is limited in its uses, inefficient compared to other devices, and causes pain that other devices don't. So, if all you have is a Stop, yes, that is fine. If you are comparing against the current state of the art, the Stop is an awful device.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby Mike Hopley » Feb 28, 2013 1:00 pm

VRcaver wrote:You do realize there are 3 methods of controlling friction with a rack? 1. Raising or lowering the hand


Actually no, I didn't -- I had the impression that people generally don't do this with a rack. But I can't see why not. Good point.


The simple has only the first method. Therefore not the same range of speed even on normal length drops.


Explain why I would want more range of speed than "free fall" to "stationary"?


Again, I think the Simple and micro rack are similar here. But clearly you have misconceptions about the micro rack ease of use.


You may be right. Unfortunately they're uncommon over here, so I haven't had a chance to try one yet.


"Works fine" versus "works great" are different measures. The stop is limited in its uses, inefficient compared to other devices, and causes pain that other devices don't. So, if all you have is a Stop, yes, that is fine. If you are comparing against the current state of the art, the Stop is an awful device.


The current state of the art? That's a bit rich.

I wish people would be less pompous about their vertical gear. All of these descenders work well. They all have their upsides and downsides. They appeal to different people, in different contexts. And -- newsflash! -- it's even possible to use a different device depending on the situation.

When did "I don't like X" become "X is awful and anyone who likes it is wrong"?
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby Caver John » Feb 28, 2013 1:25 pm

I'd really like to hear more about how the scarrab is working for VRcaver...
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby NZcaver » Feb 28, 2013 2:14 pm

killian wrote:im looking at getting a new descender. my father owns a petzl stop but i have never used it on nething but the tree out back. i think i could acqurie it for little or no money. im leaning more toward the petzl rack as i have seem and heard great things about it.. i was just wondering what everyones take on the 2 are? is the petzl stop good for long drops/mud or is the petzl rack just hard to go wrong with? :shrug:

Adding my 2 cents to the pile.

In your situation I suggest you first borrow your father's Stop and try it some more on a bigger drop (e.g. cliffs or whatever). The Stop works just fine for the many cavers who use them. I used one as my primary descender for well over a decade (mostly on 10mm, non-American ropes), and I still own a couple of them which I use occasionally. Just like anything there are pros and cons, but if you have one available just add a braking carabiner and play with it some more. Preferably with somebody who knows how to use them giving you pointers.

That said... in typical US caves with typical US ropes and rigging, a rack is typically a better choice because of the ease of adjusting friction. Like others have said, you might want to avoid the aluminum bar Petzl rack and go for something like the BMS stainless long frame micro rack, with either single or dual hyperbars. That has been my current descender of choice for years, and it works well for me. It has a good range of friction control, good durability, size and weight are reasonable, and so is the cost. If possible, find somebody local who has one and would be willing to teach you how to use it.

Good luck!
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby killian » Feb 28, 2013 2:18 pm

wow didnt mean to cause such an uproar over this question... one thing is it seems to me that the micro racks r liked by alot of ppl and worth giving a try.. maybe if i have the means i can buy a micro rack and something else to try also.. on question i have about the micro racks would be what to do if u need to reppel on double rope? cuz the micros are for srt only right?
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