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Beal Escaper

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by Brian in SLC, Jun 19, 2017.

  1. wsbpress

    wsbpress

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    I was able to create an improvised version of this with accessory cord and some shock cord. Its hard to imagine the circumstances where I'd choose to use it in the field, but it's nice to have more tools in the toolbox.

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  2. Steve Kugath

    Steve Kugath

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    Have had a Beal Escaper now for some time now. As Kuenn above points out it is a bit of a "Niche" tool. I have always been of the school of take more rope than you need (consequently I'm not really into pull cords attached to rappel line for retrieval unless the pull cord is attached to a fiddlestick )...so I've never ran into a situation where this tool would be a go to item. Only 30 foot rappels on it up to this point but I have developed some confidence in it as being reliable and functioning as advertised. The best set ups in canyons would definitely be off bolts installed in a wall with a straightforward pull. A small amount of tension is suggested (10 kg.) through out the Rappel or the device will slip an inch or so. I have tested it at 10 feet and 5 feet off the ground however where I took my complete weight off the system and I was able to safely continue the rappel. So slabby rappels will work just fine.

    Easy to block for a group rappelling using a simple overhand knot... last one down simply unties the knot before rappelling. Enough cord is provided as well where you can tie an overhand on a bight and clip the device to your anchor preventing release as well.

    It will work on raps with webbing placed over an edge like we most typically find on the Colorado Plateau but would require a bit more down climbing to get on the tension of your rappel line as the device would add an additional 1-2 feet from your rapide...definitely courtesy raps for all but the last one down. It will function if the device is on an edge but certainly expect premature wear due to the up and down pulling motion required (8-10 pulls in my experience) on the rappel line before the device releases. The directions are included on the small stuff sack it comes in but the setup is pretty intuitive for canyoneers who are familiar with advanced rigging/anchoring techniques like sand traps, wanchors, fiddlesticks etc. Setup only takes about a minute as the rope that passes through the webbing wraps (that closely resemble the wraps used on a valdaton) is tapered at the end. The webbing wraps are are sewn into the blue accessory cord as well making it really simple to pass the setting rope through. Currently I'm playing with the device to look for possible "unofficial" uses...disconnect the bungees (that allow the device to release) for example and you have essentially a prussik. Curious what other "Escaper" owners think and have toyed with while using the device.

    I'll take through some more canyons to continue satisfying my curiosities but see more potential for use personally in an alpine settings. Below are the printed directions for usage:

    [​IMG]
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  3. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I'm working on this year's theme of "Works sometimes" vs. "Works all the time".

    Seems like we have already identified one kind of rap that it does not work for: one with several places where you unweight and re-weight the rope.

    Does it work with sandy ropes? Different diameters? I guess they made that not a problem by providing a piece of rope specific to the Escaper, that you would keep clean.

    Tom
  4. Steve Kugath

    Steve Kugath

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    As you mention Tom sandy ropes are no problem nor is rope diameter as you tie your rap rope into a sewn webbing loop with an overhand follow through...perhaps some abrasion here with where a sandy rope ties into the escaper's loop and experiences micro movement. If the anchor webbing and rapide are back from the edge there is definite abrasion possibilities with the contact of rock while rappelling and releasing...best scenario is an anchor above the canyon floor in which the escaper would only have contact with sand, dirt, water, etc. after it is released and falls to the ground...due to the location of many canyon anchors the escaper would not really be a go to device with most of our anchors at ground level.

    With just 22lbs. of weight on the rap line the braided webbing will not shift. As mentioned though I completely (at least body weight) unweighted the system twice on my way down a 30 foot rap...had 20 feet of rap line above me (so less than a pound). 5 feet further down (at this point I was just 5 feet off the ground) I once again took off all body weight and could see where only a tiny bit of the escaper line had been pulled through the braiding. I think the designers built it in a way where body weight could be removed from the system completely a few times with out releasing. Somewhat like a ratchet every unweighting and reweighting pulls the systems rope through about an inch...you do have 10-12 inches before it would exit the braids completely...however the more times unweighted and reweighed the faster it moves toward releasing.

    More testing where I remove body weight from higher raps with a loose belay from above...will post those results in a week or so. Also want to try the escaper when wet.
  5. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    excellent. You could also try dumping the escaper in a mucky sandy bottom of a rappel.

    Tom
  6. Steve Kugath

    Steve Kugath

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    No problem! I've developed an amazing ability to catch my falling rope end even while treading water:) In case of a miss I suppose I'd clear some of that mucky water and give it a good rinsing (or sacrifice a bit of clean drinking water) much like I'd try and clean up a wet sandy rope before deploying again...you're point is good though...most canyons present conditions that are not suitable for Escaper deployment.
  7. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    But, are you producing tests for the edification of the general public? Or only for those groups that bring a certified rappel-rope-end-catcher in their crew???
  8. Steve Kugath

    Steve Kugath

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    Watch for my new series due out on Netflix next month..."Tales of a rappel-rope-end-catcher"...exciting plot twists with tricks of the trade seamlessly injected through out each episode to enhance even casual viewer's skills... watchers will quickly become high demand invitees for every canyon adventure especially those that will be deploying the Beal Escaper above murky waters:)
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  9. SARguru

    SARguru

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    The first video can't load for me, so out of curiosity I went onto Youtube and found a good video which for some reason can't post. "Beal Escaper: review and Analysis" by user"physicsfrac". The instructions posted above show to pull 8 times, in his video it takes him over 20 pulls for it to release.

    Having worked at a large outdoor shop, I have seen plenty of people buy ropes and gear with zero knowledge or skills and go out for a day at the cliffs. I can totally see someone who learned to rappel by watching it being done by the army, using a rope Swiss seat and a carabiner wrap, buy the Escaper and after several rappel bounce, take the Escape route down to the bottom!

    Perhaps this is the beat thing since sliced bread, heck someone thought of jamming a plastic rod through a knot and that has become a popular and accepted practice.

    It's certainly peaked my curiosity but I can think of 50 things I would spend 50 dollars on before I would buy the Escaper.

    Have a great weekend everyone.

    Nic


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  10. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

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    It should involve a love interest with a canyon ape.
  11. Diobsud

    Diobsud

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    Just a thought concerning the release process. It takes unweighting of the rope 8-10 times to unlock the device and release the rope. I have heard that this works OK with a 60-70M rope, but what about a 300 ft wet strand? Could you pull enough on it to get it to unweight enough to unlock it? Probably not!
  12. SARguru

    SARguru

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    Diagram H of the products instructions indicates:
    Maximum length of rappel = 80m (~262ft),
    Maximum weight of rope = 7kg (~15lbs)




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  13. Jake Freimanis

    Jake Freimanis Ours is a quiet fear

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    Anyone have any more use data on this thing? I've been trying to make/buy something that would solve what I see as the main problem most canyoneering techniques don't solve: What if I don't have cord twice the length of my rappel? I've heard hanging a pack can work but this thing seems like it could be a great solution for when you need to rap and retrieve on the same strand.
  14. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I know! Happens like almost every time out. So Annoying!!!
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  15. Jake Freimanis

    Jake Freimanis Ours is a quiet fear

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    Definitely not planning on using this frequently. I've been working my way through all the accident/rescue reports and a number of them happen because people "didn't have enough rope." I usually throw 30 to 60 feet of webbing into the bottom of my pack in case of emergencies. If the escaper is reliable I feel like it gives far more utility for its weight/room than a lot of the stuff I usually pack. I read a long discussion on here about people wanting to cut a sheepshank in half or something as a some kind of "suicide knot." If the escaper works well I feel like I'd use it before I tried anything like that or before I would give up and just await rescue. Is this bad thinking on my part? I'm just asking if you all have any more data on how well it works.
  16. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Hmmm. Could you cite a couple accidents that came up short on rope? I cannot think of any.

    Tom
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  17. hank moon

    hank moon lovely ligatures

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    X2 (Canyoneering context). If you're gonna carry something for contingency, consider a toggle + 1/8" dyneema release cord, and know how to use it. Way more versatile (and reliable?) than the Escaper.

    Note also that rope release does not imply rope retrieval. :)
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
  18. SARguru

    SARguru

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    I got one a couple of months ago, i was going to try it out 2 weeks ago but the cokd water (4c) i didnt gwt to try it out


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  19. Jake Freimanis

    Jake Freimanis Ours is a quiet fear

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    Toggling with 3mm amsteel blue is my standard loadout. It's so much faster and doesn't leave grooves that I use it on almost everything, bolt anchors included. I usually carry an extra rope in case of emergency as well as extra webbing. What I'm hearing from you veterans is that it's your opinion that the escaper isn't that reliable and that if I'm looking to add more redundancy in my pack another rope or pullcord would be worth the weight. Am I hearing correctly?

    That said - here are stories I read that made me think, "Wouldn't it be nice to be able to rap and retrieve on the same strand?"
    http://www.math.utah.edu/~sfolias/canyontales/tale/?i=heapsoffun
    The above tale makes it sound like some of the canyoneers needed more rope. It didn't sound like any of them fell so I assumed (maybe wrongly) that they had enough rope to do another rap but not enough to make progress (rap and retrieve).

    Having done a bit more looking, I recant, that's almost the only instance I can find of people being stuck due to shortage of rope. I think I'd been confusing stuck rope for not enough rope. The only other time that the escaper would have been handy that I've come across recently was this situation:
    http://canyoncollective.com/threads/checkerboard-canyon-lost-rope-6-27-15.21381/
    Dude lost his pullcord and couldn't figure out how to get his rope down. I read that a pack hang would have worked well but I feel like the escaper could be used in far more places than a pack hang.
  20. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    And in both cases, the "problem" was not really not having enough rope.

    T
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