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Descenders: which do you have experience with and what do you like about each?

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by Eamon, May 17, 2017.

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Which is your favorite descender?

  1. ATS

    4 vote(s)
    19.0%
  2. SQWUREL

    6 vote(s)
    28.6%
  3. Totem

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Totem CRT

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. CRITR

    11 vote(s)
    52.4%
  1. Eamon

    Eamon

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    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT
    I'm looking at buying a new descender and I'm wondering what you folks think of these various devices! I like the thought of being able to set up various frictions and adjust them on the wall, as well as being able to lock off. Do the rope-on-rope setups of the totem break down the rope faster? How about 3 pros and 3 cons of each that you're familiar with?
    I'll be using it in southern Utah, if that makes any difference...
    Thanks!

    On Rope Canyoneering Hoodoo
    http://www.onropecanyoneering.com/canyoneering-gear/hoodoo

    BG SQWUREL
    http://bg-gear.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=160

    Or either the Totem or Totem CRT
    Totem: https://canyonsandcrags.com/product/totem/
    CRT: https://canyonsandcrags.com/product/totem-crt/
    Rapterman likes this.
  2. Rapterman

    Rapterman

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    ratagonia, hlscowboy and Eamon like this.
  3. hank moon

    hank moon lovely ligatures

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    No favorite descender. Different tools for different situations, for example:

    SQWUREL for long single-rope drops
    CRITR for all-around use
    ATC for skinny, climb-y slots with short raps

    No experience / desire with Hoodoo or Totem - too bulky and un-KISS-y. Note that Totem CRT is more of a rigging plate / on-the-anchor friction device than a personal rappel device (weighs 272 g - over twice the weight of a SQWUREL or CRITR) . It's doubtful that anyone is using it as a canyoneering descender.

    Prior discussion:

    http://canyoncollective.com/threads/new-critr-rappel-device.19053/page-14#post-86383
    http://canyoncollective.com/threads/canyoneering-rappel-devices-some-reflections.21730/
    http://canyoncollective.com/threads/sqwurel.21282/page-4#post-92171
    http://canyoncollective.com/threads...-basic-first-impression-from-a-big-guy.21339/

    p.s. @Eamon suggest updating poll options to include CRITR2 and ATS.
    Last edited: May 20, 2017 at 3:13 PM
    ratagonia, Deagol, Bill and 3 others like this.
  4. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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  5. Eamon

    Eamon

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    Location:
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    Nice! Yeah the CRITR does look pretty slick! Perfect now there's one more to ponder ;)

    I just have an ATC and a basic 8, which definitely fall into the KISS category. I'd just like a little more versatility and options for rigging, though it sure does seem like each has its perfect place. I'm curious to see what people like/find helpful and what situations folks find that don't warrant a given device or make one less attractive. They each seem pretty slick and useful in their own ways...
  6. Eamon

    Eamon

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    Location:
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    @hank moon How do I update the poll? I've been trying to figure it out. The only edit option I see is to update the name. Or perhaps delete the poll since each persons words can describe their uses of each they've had experience with instead. Also, thanks for the other forum links! I've been looking through them, but I'm not seeing any that talk about the rest of these devices. Let's be real, I'll probably end up buying one of each!
    Rapterman and gerdman like this.
  7. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

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    Location:
    La Verkin
    Hear, hear.

    Everyone in my group has a SQWUWUWREL or CRITR.

    That said, being we're based in Zion where often unavoidably wet, sandy ropes eat gear like crazy (I'm looking at you Spry...) we all also carry an ATC or a basic 8 that you can get from China for $5 for the raps that you know are going to saw through your kit; only breaking out our $50 SQWURELs and CRITRs when the situation is more complicated.
    Rapterman likes this.
  8. Bill

    Bill ... Staff Member

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    Location:
    Utah
    I carry an ATS and ATC-XP for the reasons Hank mentioned. I'd like to retire my ATS but have yet to decide on a replacement.

    Primarily I use an ATC until I drop it somewhere......
  9. Sandstone Addiction

    Sandstone Addiction Headed South

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Salem, Utah
    Surprised no one has even mentioned the Petzl Pirana. My son, who weighs about 90 pounds soaking wet, really likes it and it works well for him.

    I love my CRITR though, and don't see myself purchasing anything else in the future.
    Rapterman likes this.
  10. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Location:
    Salt Lake City
    My usual especially for climbing is the Petzl Reverso 4. Its very ATC-esque but has handier holes for rigging plaquette style.

    Sterling ATS for water canyons.
  11. townsend

    townsend

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    Location:
    Plano, TX
    Pirana was "top of the food chain" for many years, and a welcome one at that, but the descenders (used in canyoneering) that came after it have more horns (ATS, CRITR), and therefore are more versatile.
  12. Eamon

    Eamon

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    The lack of versatility is really what has made me want to get a canyoneering specific device. There are just so many situations where having these additional rigging or friction features can be very helpful. I didn't say necessary, just helpful. Perhaps if there were rescue situations, hopefully I don't find out any time soon, then versatility may become necessary.

    Also, I'm definitely more than twice the 90 lbs with pack and gear! I like being able to easily lock off mid rap without being required to use both hands. I like the adjustability of the SQWUREL, but the lock off method I saw in the video seemed like I'd grab the wrong part of rope. Perhaps that just means get one for rapping and a different one for rigging!
  13. Moab Mark

    Moab Mark

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    They all have their pros and cons. I've owned most all of them. IMO the sqwirrel is the easiest to add friction on the fly. Seems to wear quicker then the others where the rope passes around the biner. The friction angles there seem tighter which increases the wear. The squurrel doesnt like double rope raps.

    Sent from my SM-G935V using Tapatalk
    Eamon likes this.
  14. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

    Messages:
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    Location:
    La Verkin
    If you wanna go ahead and make a few steel CRITRs, that'd be great... ^_^

    *want*
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  15. dakotabelliston

    dakotabelliston Living life to it's fullest

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    Location:
    Spanish Fork, UT
    #1: Critr2 - Easy to add friction, easy to lock off, easy for double & single strand rappels.

    #2: ATS - Easy to add friction, easy to lock off, DOESN'T like double stand unless you turn it sideways to ATC mode.



    Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk
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  16. Deagol

    Deagol too many hobbies

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    Location:
    Colorado
    I have experience with the Totem and the CRITR. Prefer the CRITR to Totem due to ease of adding friction on rappel (doesn't require you to come out of brake position like Totem does). This made a huge difference to me on a big rap that was over 250 feet. Also easier top lock-off, Also, like the way it hangs on carabiner without rattling around. Totem probably does more "stuff" but 9 times out of 10, I don't need to do that extra stuff and the CRITR works better for rappelling then Totem.

    Still prefer Totem to Pirahna, ATS, & ATC. That Hoodo looks whack: combo of too may devices, lots of bulk and edges/points to get caught on stuff. 6 different ways to accomplish one task: increasing friction (looks like some of the rigging options would create serious rope twist ??) YMMV.
    Rapterman likes this.
  17. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Location:
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    I like the Pirana, but I am too heavy for it, even at my fighting weight of (ahem) 180 lbs. I think it is probably a good choice for canyoneers 160 lbs and under.

    I am on the same program as Hank, but would like to add that the Sqwurel requires some degree of attention to it while on rappel, so it is pretty much an experts-only device. But the best at micro-adjusting the friction, especially appreciated on long rappels. For everyday canyons, Critr.

    Tom
  18. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Location:
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    ... and therefore are more obnoxious (and get hung up on stuff more) in tight quarters.

    Jus' Sayin'...
  19. 2065toyota

    2065toyota

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    I've definitely had my share of 'critr legs' getting stuck in logs, but it's still my device of choice. i have a fairly worn out ATS in my pack as a backup.
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  20. srosander01

    srosander01

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    Location:
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    I am personally using the ATS right now for my descents, but I have used a CRITR that my buddy let me borrow, and I liked that device a little better for a couple of reasons; The extended arms were a little easier for me to add friction with, and it seemed to handle a double strand a little easier. The ATS is a fine device; it got me through the 300' rap in Englestead without much of a problem (just had to force the rope through for the first 50 feet due to the weight of the rope below me), and it has been great for all other raps from the short ones on up, but due to the experience I had while testing the CRITR, I will be purchasing one of those the next time I am in the market for a device.
    dakotabelliston and Rapterman like this.
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