petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby NZcaver » Feb 28, 2013 2:23 pm

killian wrote: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?

Yes, that is a downside of the micro rack. You can rappel double ropes if they are really thin (maybe 9mm or less), otherwise it's Single Rope Technique all the way. Were you planning on doing long pull-down rappels? If so, a full size rack may be better suited. If not (like most cavers), use the micro and maybe bring along the little Figure 8 on trips where you think you might need to do some short pull-down rappels.

Uproar? Nah, this is just a typical discussion for here. :big grin:
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby killian » Feb 28, 2013 2:47 pm

well now yall really got me on this micro rack thing... heres another question. i have been reading some reviews from karst sports and ppl r saying that the micro rack is great for stuff under 200ft. but i want more that that. am i going to need to get a standered 6 bar rack if i wanna hit nething in say Ellisons cave or would the micro work for that 586ft drop?
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby VRcaver » Feb 28, 2013 3:18 pm

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


You are correct on the "range" of speed. I guess I was commenting more on the control of that range of speed. With the rack it is much easier to use the combined braking forces of bar spacing and belay hand position to allow for less effort for a given speed choice. It takes some finesse to master, but once you get the hang of it, it is sublime.

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"?


Perhaps it is a bit rich, but not far off the point. The micro rack and scarab are much newer to the market than the bobbin devices. They were developed to overcome a number of problems in existing devices. But, just as someone can effectively drive a 1950 or a 2010 era vehicle to the cave, the later model has fewer problems, and is more comfortable and efficient.

I own a micro rack, a scarab, and a full rack. They definitely do get used in different situations. And all will work in any situation with various up and down sides. If I owned a Simple, it would also go in the mix and get used on occasion. However, the only situation I think worthwhile for the Stop is when someone already has one and can't afford to get something nicer. So "wrong" is a bit strong here. I would change it to "naive" in the case of the Stop.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 28, 2013 3:18 pm

killian wrote: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?


If you want to rig on two ropes, then you best know to rig the two strands into a pull down with a biner block ;)
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 28, 2013 3:20 pm

killian wrote:well now yall really got me on this micro rack thing... heres another question. i have been reading some reviews from karst sports and ppl r saying that the micro rack is great for stuff under 200ft. but i want more that that. am i going to need to get a standered 6 bar rack if i wanna hit nething in say Ellisons cave or would the micro work for that 586ft drop?


Yes. You do not want to attempt a 586' rappel on a micro rack unless you really know what you are doing. You would need a long frame micro rack for that, and by then you may as well just get a 6 bar rack. I would highly recommend that if your end game is long drops, get a 6 bar rack, you will not be disappointed.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby VRcaver » Feb 28, 2013 3:30 pm

Caver John wrote:I'd really like to hear more about how the scarrab is working for VRcaver...


I was a devoted micro rack user until I tried a Scarab. The Scarab is a wonderful device. It is smooth and has more step-wise variable control than the single hyper bar micro rack, and lockoffs are instantaneous when you want them. I think of it as something like a one bar micro rack with 4 hyper bars, but in the size of a figure 8. I would definitely recommend you try one or get one. My primary uses so far have been in alpine caves around Montana, Canada, and California where the drops are relatively short (15 feet - 60 feet) and frequent but not heavily rebelayed. However, most of those are very tight caves and the minimal size is phenomenal for wearing through the cave and also for some spots where you need to get on rope in a body sized tube.

A couple considerations if you do get one, though:
  • there is not a lot of heat dissipation, so I would not use it on large drops
  • they offer two types: stainless and titanium, but it is not clear that they are different sizes as well! Get the stainless because it works on a wider range of ropes
  • I have not tried it on rebelays where there is not much rope between bolts to determine if there is any rope twisting. I don't expect any, I just have not tried it there
  • The top rope contact point on a Scarab is a non-replaceable wear point. If you replace bars on your micro rack often you will need to replace the frame (i.e. the whole thing) on a Scarab at about the same rate.
Last edited by VRcaver on Feb 28, 2013 3:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby VRcaver » Feb 28, 2013 3:39 pm

Chads93GT wrote:
killian wrote:well now yall really got me on this micro rack thing... heres another question. i have been reading some reviews from karst sports and ppl r saying that the micro rack is great for stuff under 200ft. but i want more that that. am i going to need to get a standered 6 bar rack if i wanna hit nething in say Ellisons cave or would the micro work for that 586ft drop?


Yes. You do not want to attempt a 586' rappel on a micro rack unless you really know what you are doing. You would need a long frame micro rack for that, and by then you may as well just get a 6 bar rack. I would highly recommend that if your end game is long drops, get a 6 bar rack, you will not be disappointed.


I have to disagree here, Chads93GT. While a full rack would be the preferred item for that drop, a micro rack will work much the same way with only a bit less heat dissipation. Similarly, the more hyper bars the better if you are going to do this, but a single hyper bar works as well. I would not consider using a micro rack without a hyper bar on any drop, by the way. What I would not use on an Ellison's size drop is a Scarab because it does not have the heat dissipation necessary for that. I have done Ellison's on a micro rack, though, and it worked well.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby NZcaver » Feb 28, 2013 5:22 pm

Chads93GT wrote:If you want to rig on two ropes, then you best know to rig the two strands into a pull down with a biner block ;)

Good point. I forgot to mention in my previous reply that for most caving pull-downs, descending on a single rope anchored through a biner block is probably the best method. So, a micro rack would be fine for this. Otherwise for those planning the old traditional double-rope rappel, another descender would probably be a better choice.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 28, 2013 5:43 pm

VRcaver wrote:
Chads93GT wrote:
killian wrote:well now yall really got me on this micro rack thing... heres another question. i have been reading some reviews from karst sports and ppl r saying that the micro rack is great for stuff under 200ft. but i want more that that. am i going to need to get a standered 6 bar rack if i wanna hit nething in say Ellisons cave or would the micro work for that 586ft drop?


Yes. You do not want to attempt a 586' rappel on a micro rack unless you really know what you are doing. You would need a long frame micro rack for that, and by then you may as well just get a 6 bar rack. I would highly recommend that if your end game is long drops, get a 6 bar rack, you will not be disappointed.


I have to disagree here, Chads93GT. While a full rack would be the preferred item for that drop, a micro rack will work much the same way with only a bit less heat dissipation. Similarly, the more hyper bars the better if you are going to do this, but a single hyper bar works as well. I would not consider using a micro rack without a hyper bar on any drop, by the way. What I would not use on an Ellison's size drop is a Scarab because it does not have the heat dissipation necessary for that. I have done Ellison's on a micro rack, though, and it worked well.

Sorry but a novice in ellisons with a full rack has a greater chance of not getting hurt than on a micro rack. I have a micro and its easy to get going too fast.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby potholer » Feb 28, 2013 6:27 pm

VRcaver wrote:Perhaps it is a bit rich, but not far off the point. The micro rack and scarab are much newer to the market than the bobbin devices. They were developed to overcome a number of problems in existing devices. But, just as someone can effectively drive a 1950 or a 2010 era vehicle to the cave, the later model has fewer problems, and is more comfortable and efficient.

It would seem that the micro-rack was a newer version of a rack, and to the extent that it's solving problems, it seems to be solving some problems with racks rather than bobbins.

Possibly that's why it doesn't seem to be used in meaningful amounts outside areas which were traditionally rack-using.

I'm sure it has many good points, and that I could get along with one if I had one, but if I did have one, I suspect I'd still end up using a Stop much of the time, due to its good points and the fact that for me, the Stop doesn't have any significant drawbacks.

Like most new things, it isn't necessarily better in every way than every existing thing, or necessarily better in every way than any particular existing thing.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby Extremeophile » Feb 28, 2013 6:34 pm

Chads93GT wrote:
VRcaver wrote:
Chads93GT wrote:
Yes. You do not want to attempt a 586' rappel on a micro rack unless you really know what you are doing. You would need a long frame micro rack for that, and by then you may as well just get a 6 bar rack. I would highly recommend that if your end game is long drops, get a 6 bar rack, you will not be disappointed.


I have to disagree here, Chads93GT. While a full rack would be the preferred item for that drop, a micro rack will work much the same way with only a bit less heat dissipation. Similarly, the more hyper bars the better if you are going to do this, but a single hyper bar works as well. I would not consider using a micro rack without a hyper bar on any drop, by the way. What I would not use on an Ellison's size drop is a Scarab because it does not have the heat dissipation necessary for that. I have done Ellison's on a micro rack, though, and it worked well.

Sorry but a novice in ellisons with a full rack has a greater chance of not getting hurt than on a micro rack. I have a micro and its easy to get going too fast.

What a bunch of amateurs. When I do Fantastic I start with a 6-bar rack, changeover at 400' and switch to a long-frame micro rack, changeover again at 200' to a Simple, and do one final changeover to a figure 8 for the final 50'. That way I'm always using the most efficient, most state-of-the-art device, all the time. Anyone doing it any other way is either ignorant or has a death wish.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby killian » Feb 28, 2013 6:42 pm

well i have come to the assumption that i should get a micro rack and a 6 bar job to have it all covered... :grin: ima b 1 broke dude just to make the masses happy..lol :laughing:
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby VRcaver » Feb 28, 2013 8:59 pm

potholer wrote:It would seem that the micro-rack was a newer version of a rack, and to the extent that it's solving problems, it seems to be solving some problems with racks rather than bobbins.

Possibly that's why it doesn't seem to be used in meaningful amounts outside areas which were traditionally rack-using.


It is not used outside of the US because it was invented in the US and my "naive" comment holds. In the US we use(d) bobbins as well as racks. While I can't speak for the people who invented the micro rack, when solving the problems with the rack it solved other problems with other descenders at the same time. In my experience in the US, the people who use bobbins are doing so because they want to be more consistent with "European" vertical work, not because there is any particular reason. When have you heard that opinion within Europe?

I'm sure it has many good points, and that I could get along with one if I had one, but if I did have one, I suspect I'd still end up using a Stop much of the time, due to its good points and the fact that for me, the Stop doesn't have any significant drawbacks.


That is a bold statement from someone who has apparently not used a micro rack. And, for the record, I now use a primary device that is different than a micro rack as my preferred device, but the constrained thinking of many Stop users will miss all the new opportunities for improvement out there.

Like most new things, it isn't necessarily better in every way than every existing thing, or necessarily better in every way than any particular existing thing.


I suppose that car made in 1950 does have its advantages beyond personal aesthetics, but in >99.9% of situations you pay the price. If all you ever drive is that outdated vehicle you will never know what you are missing.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 28, 2013 9:30 pm

Extremeophile wrote:What a bunch of amateurs. When I do Fantastic I start with a 6-bar rack, changeover at 400' and switch to a long-frame micro rack, changeover again at 200' to a Simple, and do one final changeover to a figure 8 for the final 50'. That way I'm always using the most efficient, most state-of-the-art device, all the time. Anyone doing it any other way is either ignorant or has a death wish.


Reminds me of the trip report I read where the guys rigged Fantastic with a 300', 200' and 100' rope tied together, having to cross two knots on the way down. No thanks.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby driggs » Feb 28, 2013 9:41 pm

killian wrote:well i have come to the assumption that i should get a micro rack and a 6 bar job to have it all covered... :grin: ima b 1 broke dude just to make the masses happy..lol :laughing:


Dude, you live in Maryland. Buy a BMS long frame micro-rack, which will do every single drop in MD, WV, VA, PA, and KY. Before taking advice from "the masses" on the internet, talk to the local experienced cavers who are doing the caves you want to be doing. Ask them why they use what they use. For example, the PSC, DC, and Baltimore folks who are caving in WV with us are almost all using BMS long-frame micro-racks. Because here the drops are rarely in the 200' range, everyone rigs with old muddy stiff 11mm Pit Rope which eats aluminum for breakfast, often using rebelays, and we frequently have to travel far into caves, sometimes crawling, with our vert gear. You will never encounter a double-rope rappel in cave.

Also, it will cost you more in gasoline to drive to TAG than it'll cost to buy the proper equipment for Ellison's Fantastic Pit, a cave that -- no offense -- you're not ready to do right now anyway. So don't worry about the 12" or 18" rack until your current descender is an actual limitation, and your skills and experience are at that level.
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