Conterra Scarab rescue belay/rappel tool

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Re: Conterra Scarab rescue belay/rappel tool

Postby snoboy » Nov 23, 2011 9:05 pm

I swear I just wrote something online (on cavechat I thought) about my experiences with the Scarab - but I can't find it, so here goes

-It is in my mind a 1 bar rack with 4 hyperbars.
-It does impart a very minor twist to the rope in my experience, but not bad.
-Excellent rescue tool, I would not choose to use it as my primary personal descender, mostly because of the awkward, 'lifted up' hand position when using either of the bottom horns. That said the hand position is similar to a bobbin with braking biner, which is what I use!
-When used for lowering two person loads, rappell pick offs, changeovers to raises, dual tensioned rope systems etc, I would consider it superior to the rack IME.

My experience is with the SS version using a variety of 11mm low stretch ropes.

Any specific questions?
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Re: Conterra Scarab rescue belay/rappel tool

Postby Caver John » Nov 24, 2011 2:46 am

Well glad u touched on the twist. How about smoothness and friction using the minimum horns on rappel?
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Re: Conterra Scarab rescue belay/rappel tool

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Nov 24, 2011 8:29 am

Caver John wrote:Upon further investigation, I suppose there is a loop there.
Funny that the website specifically says won't twist rope.


For the record, I don't think twisting the rope is THAT big a deal for personal descenders unless you're above a rebelay anchor or some other form of tie-off; more of an annoyance than a real issue. Half of us coil our ropes anyway, and use the "throw it down a deep pit" method of un-twisting them. If it was a major problem, fewer people would use micro-racks that include hyperbars. Obviously, twist can be a much larger issue when lowering a belayed litter, etc.

I think Snoboy's summary is about what my expectation is: great for certain technical rescue problems (which makes sense given the manufacturer and marketing approach), no real point in adopting one as your personal descender of choice.
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Re: Conterra Scarab rescue belay/rappel tool

Postby snoboy » Nov 24, 2011 9:50 am

Caver John wrote:How about smoothness and friction using the minimum horns on rappel?


Very smooth.

The friction using minimum horns - not quite sure what you mean? There is less obviously... but the device has enough range to go from a light person up to a full two person rescue load - again with the caveat that I have only used it on 11mm rope.
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Re: Conterra Scarab rescue belay/rappel tool

Postby Caver John » Nov 24, 2011 12:16 pm

I guess what I'm asking is, for your avg 160-200 lb person, does the initial upper horn wrap on top provide enough friction? Or is an additional bottom horn really needed.

Also, for what reasons would one not want to use This as a primary personal descender?
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Re: Conterra Scarab rescue belay/rappel tool

Postby Scott McCrea » Nov 24, 2011 12:21 pm

Caver John wrote:Also, for what reasons would one not want to use This as a primary personal descender?

Too heavy, too expensive and too complicated. It offers no real advantage over a Fig 8 for personal use.
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Re: Conterra Scarab rescue belay/rappel tool

Postby Caver John » Nov 24, 2011 1:38 pm

Well, it's 385g as Opposed to 325g(petzl stop). And smaller.
I'm sure it's lighter than most racks.

$100, same as a stop.

For me, a 8 doesn't provide enough friction, this has the extra friction capability without an addition such as a brake Biner.

I'm pretty sure a monkey could figure it out. There's nothing complicated about it.

So what's really so impractical about the scarab?
Is just our stubborn nature and resist to change that's shooting this down?
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Re: Conterra Scarab rescue belay/rappel tool

Postby gdstorrick » Nov 24, 2011 2:53 pm

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Re: Conterra Scarab rescue belay/rappel tool

Postby Caver John » Nov 24, 2011 3:38 pm

Please don't take offense because I pointed out that the site didn't have the info I was looking for. I really like your site and refer to it often. I appreciate the time and effort you put forth for my satisfaction. Sincerely.
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Re: Conterra Scarab rescue belay/rappel tool

Postby Caver John » Nov 24, 2011 3:39 pm

Caver John wrote:Well, it's 385g as Opposed to 325g(petzl stop). And smaller.
I'm sure it's lighter than most racks.

$100, same as a stop.

For me, a 8 doesn't provide enough friction, this has the extra friction capability without an addition such as a brake Biner.

I'm pretty sure a monkey could figure it out. There's nothing complicated about it.

So what's really so impractical about the scarab?
Is just our stubborn nature and resist to change that's shooting this down?



Any takers?
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Re: Conterra Scarab rescue belay/rappel tool

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Nov 24, 2011 4:14 pm

Caver John wrote:Is just our stubborn nature and resist to change that's shooting this down?


If there's anything stubborn in our nature on these sort of things, it's our willingness to wait on a device that truly IS a better mousetrap. Scott's answer is right-on: it offers no benefit for personal use. Maybe for technical rescue and that sort of thing, but as a person SRT/caving descender I just don't see it.

Is it lighter, safer, more efficient, lower-profile, less expensive, easier-to-use or smoother on rappel than a BMS micro-rack or Petzl Simple? If not, what is the compelling reason to use one? Because we could lower a fire truck with it if we ever felt the need to do so?



Storrick, if you take your site down again, we're just going to start coming to your house and asking to play with the actual devices in person!! :)
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Re: Conterra Scarab rescue belay/rappel tool

Postby gdstorrick » Nov 24, 2011 4:18 pm

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Re: Conterra Scarab rescue belay/rappel tool

Postby snoboy » Nov 24, 2011 8:54 pm

GARY - Your site is Amazing, and a constant source of reference for me. Maybe you don't hear enough positive to wash away the negative but please know that what you have done is immensely appreciated by many many people, ignore the haters. :banana_yay: :banana: :kewl:


Caver John wrote:I guess what I'm asking is, for your avg 160-200 lb person, does the initial upper horn wrap on top provide enough friction? Or is an additional bottom horn really needed.


Sorry, can't speak to that directly. I know that I usually use the first two horns, and sometimes the third for the comfort of a light grip and a downward rope path. I weigh 220lbs.

Also, for what reasons would one not want to use This as a primary personal descender?


For me it's the rope exit angle that I find awkward on longer drops. I DO use it as a personal descender in SAR operations, but it would not be my first choice for caving or recreational use. I don't think it's a bad choice, just not my first. I prefer the STOP as most of the caving here is rigged alpine style. If I went caving and realized that I packed my Scarab, not my STOP, my day would not be ruined in any way.

It is lighter and smaller than a BMS micro rack, and I feel it is more functional. It is easy to load the rope, pull out the slack before you weight it, and then wrap the horns, quick tie off, etc.


Jeff Bartlett wrote:
Caver John wrote:Is just our stubborn nature and resist to change that's shooting this down?


Is it lighter, safer, more efficient, lower-profile, less expensive, easier-to-use or smoother on rappel than a BMS micro-rack or Petzl Simple?


Compared to BMS micro rack:

Lighter - YES
Safer - ?
More efficient - YES, IMHO
Lower profile - YES
Less expensive - NO
Easier to use - YES, IMHO
Smoother on Rappel - it's a wash for 1 person loads...
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Re: Conterra Scarab rescue belay/rappel tool

Postby Caver John » Nov 24, 2011 9:08 pm

Thats some good info right there. ^^ an overall pretty positive review.
I don't like holding the brake line palm up like when it's coming through a brake Biner/stop. That's the reason I'm not crazy about the stop. With the scarab, you can utilize either one or three horns to vary friction while keeping that brake rope facing down.
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Re: Conterra Scarab rescue belay/rappel tool

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Nov 25, 2011 11:39 pm

snoboy wrote:Compared to BMS micro rack:


Sounds great! If this is all actually true, quite a few cavers will be using these in 5 years or so. Me, I already have enough descenders, and at this point I pretty much use a Simple, micro-rack and full-size rack interchangeably... so I don't need another toy.

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