petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby Chads93GT » Feb 28, 2013 11:41 pm

Definitely do not buy a short frame micro rack. I regret mine. When I am geared up I weigh around 210-215 pounds and on stiff muddy rope, or even wet muddy rope, i have to feed rope all the way down on it. It SUCKS!!!!
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby potholer » Mar 1, 2013 7:10 am

VRcaver wrote: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?

Surely, people where you are who used bobbins in preference to racks and who moved to micro-racks were doing it in a particular vertical caving environment.
The 'problems' there for bobbin users don't necessarily exist to the same extent over here, nor are the plus points of a micro-rack necessarily as large.

The micro-rack certainly seems versatile, with good variable-friction ability, but the value of that ability does depend on how much variable friction is actually needed. Here, where drop lengths tend to be shorter (even to the extent of pitches being deliberately broken into sections where long hangs were possible) the range of friction needed may be smaller.

VRcaver wrote:
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.

I don't think it is a bold statement - personally, the things some people say are 'problems' with a Stop really aren't problems for me.
Like anyone else, my choice of what kit to use is based on my own opinions and the kind of vertical work I do, and someone else can't expect that I see problems where I don't experience them.

Stops are less 'smooth' than various other devices, but personally I rarely have a problem descending smoothly when using one.

Some people get a tired left hand using a Stop, but for whatever combination of reasons, I don't find that an issue.
A Stop might cause somebody else meaningful pain to use, but that's Somebody Else's Problem.

VRcaver wrote: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.

If someone was trying to sell me a car, I'd personally respond better if they were telling me all the things it did well that would be likely to be of use to me, rather than telling me various things that were useful to them, or things they reckoned were wrong with my existing car which I didn't have a problem with, or not understanding that there were some things I liked about my existing vehicle which the one they were trying to sell was maybe less good at doing.
I wouldn't buy a car because it had sufficient leg-room for a 6'6" salesman, alloy wheels, a dock for an iphone, or a hitch for a trailer I don't have, however vital those things may be for someone else, or because it was good off-road when I only drove on tarmac (blacktop?).
Nor would I tell anyone else what car they should be buying.

I might drive a car with a sudden clutch or harsh brakes, but if I didn't find them to be an issue, however much someone else might hate them isn't my concern.
Naivety would only come into it if I meaningfully disliked something or was missing out on a feature which would actually be useful to me, but blindly assumed all cars were the same as mine.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby killian » Mar 1, 2013 8:43 am

Dave you are completely right sir... i was just wondering because i did Sites cave a yr or so back on a SMC 6 bar rack and felt like i had to feed the rope for most of the trip down. i was planning on getting down to TAG soon. not ready for Fantastic pit yet but dont feel far from it. would like to hit some other stuff in the 200+ range thoe. but u are right i can wait a few yrs b4 buying a full 6 bar rack..
Man i sure do like caving.....
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby gindling » Mar 1, 2013 10:53 am

Im guessing your problem Killian was that your top two bars were too close together and were causing too much friction, which would come close to negating any of the variable friction of the lower bars. It is always good to remember to watch those two upper bars before threading the rest of the rack and weighting it, because once you do you cant rearrange those upper bars without unweighting the rope. I think this is why some folks put metal spacers between the top two bars so as to keep that from happening.

And I do agree that the Simple is a fine descending device, its that damn handle that causes all the problems for the Stop.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby Carl Amundson » Mar 1, 2013 10:54 am

killian wrote:Dave you are completely right sir... i was just wondering because i did Sites cave a yr or so back on a SMC 6 bar rack and felt like i had to feed the rope for most of the trip down. i was planning on getting down to TAG soon. not ready for Fantastic pit yet but dont feel far from it. would like to hit some other stuff in the 200+ range thoe. but u are right i can wait a few yrs b4 buying a full 6 bar rack..

Killian, you need to practice adding and dropping bars while rappelling. There is NO reason anyone should be feeding rope to a 6-bar rack.
If you are not moving fast enough, drop a bar. When you feel you are moving too fast, add a bar.
It sounds simple, but requires practice.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby snoboy » Mar 1, 2013 12:28 pm

VRcaver wrote: 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.


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


The Scarab is a wonderful device

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
  • 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


I find there is some twisting with the Scarab.

Conterra might dispute your heat dissipation concerns:

One device was tested by pulling over a mile of rope through it under rescue sized tension, with temperature monitoring thermocouples being monitored at several locations during pulls. At 2kN of tension, and a lowering speed of 10m per minute, the SCARAB® maintains a frame temperature at about 100 degrees C.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby PeterFJohnson » Mar 1, 2013 12:48 pm

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


The Scarab is a wonderful device

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
  • 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


I find there is some twisting with the Scarab.



Any device in which the rope travels in more than one plane(which includes the Scarab) will twist the rope. It is just a question of how much and if it is a problem.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby Extremeophile » Mar 1, 2013 1:13 pm

VRcaver wrote: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.

Really?!
Maybe I'm misreading, but it sounds like you're saying anyone using a bobbin is choosing this device for conformity, not because of its attributes.
I primarily use a Simple with Freino and I have a long list of practical reasons why this device works better for me than others in nearly all situations. The Scarab and micro rack may be newer devices, but that doesn't automatically mean they have fewer flaws. I don't believe the Scarab was developed with caving in mind, and I can see many issues with its design that would cause me to hesitate before running out and getting one.

I also have a Stop and a micro rack, but I favor the Simple. I had tried the Stop back in the 90's and wasn't crazy about the cam and lever. I decided to buy one after reading Al Warild describing descending a rope without a stop mechanism being like riding a bike without brakes. I now find that to be a completely flawed analogy. It's more like driving a car without an emergency brake, but it has a brake handle that has to be held down in order for the car to move. In my own experience the Simple is far easier to descend rope with and only very slightly more complicated to lock-off. The micro rack is a great device and most people I cave with use this instead. I believe it's very slightly better at delivering a smooth and controllable descent over a Simple, but is slightly more difficult to use when crossing rebelays and performing changeovers. YMMV.

The fact that the Simple is a ~30 year-old design, and the Scarab is ~2 years old is not much of a factor to me. Maybe newer devices have solved some existing problems, but maybe they've introduced new ones. I'd rather judge a device on its merits, and not just assume that "state of the art" means whatever device was most recently commercialized.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby NZcaver » Mar 1, 2013 1:44 pm

VRcaver wrote:[The micro rack] 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.

Sorry, I call BS. The micro rack (a.k.a. small U-frame rack) IS used outside the US. In fact I still own an Italian-made one which I used caving in New Zealand 20 years ago, prior to Bassett producing the BMS micro rack I now use today. OK so my old Kong rack didn't have the hyper-bar, but it was essentially the same operation AND the frame was wide enough to accommodate doubled rope if needed. I also had caver friends constructing their own versions back in the 80's and 90's, so let's not pretend the micro rack was some revolutionary US design from just a decade ago that also magically solved problems with other descenders. That would be rather naive.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby Extremeophile » Mar 1, 2013 4:10 pm

VRcaver wrote:
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.

First, this seems like an apples and oranges comparison. Second, hopefully you aren't adding or removing bars on a micro-rack, so even though you describe it as an evolutionary device that eliminates some of the problems of the 6-bar rack, it has one less mode of speed control. And C, I'm not sure more modes of speed control is inherently a good thing. Would a device with 5 or 6 modes of speed control be better than a rack? Maybe there's a reason it's called a Simple, and maybe in rope work simplicity is a good thing.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby Extremeophile » Mar 1, 2013 4:22 pm

I think I'm starting to see the next step in descender evolution. First was the 6-bar rack with no hyperbar, then the 4-bar micro-rack with 1 or 2 hyperbars, then the Scarab with 1-bar and 4 hyperbars. The next thing is obviously the all hyperbar device.


Image
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby Chads93GT » Mar 1, 2013 4:27 pm

Extremeophile wrote:I think I'm starting to see the next step in descender evolution. First was the 6-bar rack with no hyperbar, then the 4-bar micro-rack with 1 or 2 hyperbars, then the Scarab with 1-bar and 4 hyperbars. The next thing is obviously the all hyperbar device.


Image


Thats a decender? Damn I found one of those in my fireplace when I bought my house. What the hell was it doing in there??? :woohoo:
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby VRcaver » Mar 1, 2013 5:22 pm

Extremeophile wrote:
VRcaver wrote: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.

Really?!
Maybe I'm misreading, but it sounds like you're saying anyone using a bobbin is choosing this device for conformity, not because of its attributes.

"In my experience" this is true. I have talked with a number of people about why they chose this device and that was the reason given. Is it the only reason out there? No. As I said before, the Simple is a great device and has many things going for it.

I primarily use a Simple with Freino

Glad you have something that works well for you. One comment (that I don't hold any merit in) comes from the discussion of the new Petzl croll ascenders--something like, "any piece of equipment that requires another piece to work is a flawed design" or something similar. In the case of the Simple and Freino, that is a fine solution. I don't think you need the Freino with a Scarab because the functionality is part of the device.

I had tried the Stop back in the 90's and wasn't crazy about the cam and lever. I decided to buy one after reading Al Warild describing descending a rope without a stop mechanism being like riding a bike without brakes. I now find that to be a completely flawed analogy. It's more like driving a car without an emergency brake, but it has a brake handle that has to be held down in order for the car to move. In my own experience the Simple is far easier to descend rope with and only very slightly more complicated to lock-off.


What a wonderful analogy for that awful device!
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby VRcaver » Mar 1, 2013 5:30 pm

NZcaver wrote:
VRcaver wrote:[The micro rack] 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.

Sorry, I call BS. The micro rack (a.k.a. small U-frame rack) IS used outside the US. In fact I still own an Italian-made one which I used caving in New Zealand 20 years ago, prior to Bassett producing the BMS micro rack I now use today. OK so my old Kong rack didn't have the hyper-bar, but it was essentially the same operation AND the frame was wide enough to accommodate doubled rope if needed. I also had caver friends constructing their own versions back in the 80's and 90's, so let's not pretend the micro rack was some revolutionary US design from just a decade ago that also magically solved problems with other descenders. That would be rather naive.


Does New Zealand count? :laughing:

My point is that while there are exceptions to every rule, there seems to be an unusual European bias against devices not made by Petzl, even extending to other European devices like those made by Kong. They also don't use the Australian bobbin devices,which are actually a little better than the Petzl versions. Similarly, they are unwilling to consider that a device in the lineage of a rack, such as a micro rack or Scarab, could be of any use in their "unique" environment. Forgetting of course that many caves in both regions have similar characteristics and rigging.

By the way, my dig at NZ is entirely tongue in cheek. In the 4 months I lived there I found the people unusually accepting of trying and inventing new things, to their great benefit.
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Re: petzl stop or petzl reppel rack

Postby VRcaver » Mar 1, 2013 5:41 pm

Extremeophile wrote:First, this seems like an apples and oranges comparison. Second, hopefully you aren't adding or removing bars on a micro-rack, so even though you describe it as an evolutionary device that eliminates some of the problems of the 6-bar rack, it has one less mode of speed control. And C, I'm not sure more modes of speed control is inherently a good thing. Would a device with 5 or 6 modes of speed control be better than a rack? Maybe there's a reason it's called a Simple, and maybe in rope work simplicity is a good thing.


I equate the ability to add or remove the rope to the hyper bar as equivalent to the addition or removal of a bar on a 6 bar rack. Sure there are fewer bars/hyper bars to equate to the rack, so I agree the rack has more control, but not categorically different.

Nice straw man about the "too many" modes of speed control. I have 3 in my vehicle--the gas pedal, the gears, and the cruise control. Conceptually they match with the rack belay hand as the primary (e.g. gas pedal) and gears (number of bars) and the bar spacing (cruise control). I don't see the automobile industry adding another several types of speed control for some of the same reasons I don't see descending devices adding more--they simply aren't needed. I also can drive with just one type (gas pedal) but don't have as enjoyable of an experience.
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