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Tech Tip: Question rappel device for bigger guy

Discussion in 'Tech Tips and Gear' started by Jeff Schaber, Jun 25, 2018.

  1. Jeff Schaber

    Jeff Schaber

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    So, I guess I've gotten fat in addition to getting old and my Petzel Piranha doesn't provide enough friction for my 238# body!

    It's been a while since I've been on rope so I talked a few friends into going rappelling locally here in the Midwest to get back into it. They all use a rack system which I've never used so I pulled out my old Piranha that I bought when I was 40# lighter. Luckily it was just a short 30-40 foot free rappel and we had belayers but I really did not feel I had control of my descent and it kind of freaked me out!

    It wasn't my rope but we were rappelling off a single strand 9mm (at least that's what it looked like. I didn't want to go to the rack system that everyone else was using so I just stopped and figured I need something else. We had an instructor with us from the local grotto association but he had never done canyoneering and was not familiar with the Piranha.

    I was considering an ATS after reading that it was for bigger guys but not sure. Was wondering if this will work or if I need to consider something else (in addition to loosing weight).

    I also didn't like how my Piranha was twisted as it was attached to my belay loop but I never remember that being a problem in the past.

    I know there are guys out there my size so I was hoping that someone could offer some gear advice?

    Thanks
  2. Sutitan

    Sutitan

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  3. MrAdam

    MrAdam

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    As a fellow big guy, 215 now but been as much as 240, I use the CRITR or the SQWERL and both work great. There are so many friction options on either device.
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  4. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    to fix the twisting add a quicklink to the belay loop and clip a biner through that.
    Jeff Schaber likes this.
  5. Bill

    Bill ... Staff Member

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    Big guy here, 6'2" and a solid 250-260lbs. I carry an ATC XP and ATS. My ATS is due for replacement and I'll probably go with a SQWUREL. I prefer to keep things light and simple so my primary preference is the ATC XP. I've done plenty of big raps up to 300'+ with the ATC XP on 8mm rope, double biners, and a half z-rig off my leg loop with no friction issues.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2018
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  6. Jeff Schaber

    Jeff Schaber

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    Thanks for the help guys, I have a friend with an ATS and ordered a Sqwurel from Tom and will try both to see what I prefer. I do have an ATC-XP but only carry it as a backup or belay device so have not even used it, I'll throw that in the mix as well. I've not used a Z-rig so I'll have to do some research on that.

    Tom, thanks for the tip on the quicklink, not sure why I didn't see that.

    Do any of you use a PAS like the BD or Metolius Personal Anchoring System to extend the device out from your harness?
  7. Canyonero

    Canyonero

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    CRITR2 works fine for fatties. I use setting one for free hanging rappel on a single strand with a bag hanging below me, maybe 225-250 lbs total. I use setting zero for double strand or a lower angle. You could go to setting two if you were really fat.

    The ATC-XP will not be adequate. Ask me how I know...it involves the bird perch in Heaps. I Z-rigged it for the final drop. Also lame. It was enough to get me to buy a CRITR.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
  8. Sandstone Addiction

    Sandstone Addiction Headed South

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  9. Jeff Schaber

    Jeff Schaber

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    I haven't seen the CRITR2 available otherwise I would have ordered one. It also seems like there will be a delay getting my Sqwurel so if the CRITR2 becomes available I may order one just to test it but everytime I look for it they always say out of stock.
  10. hank moon

    hank moon lovely ligatures

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    ATC XP + 3 'biners (old style Petzl Attache) = 322 g
    SQWUREL + 1 'biner = 203 g
    CRITR + 1 'biner = 205 g

    As to simplicity, one 'biner, one device is arguably simpler (and raps smoother) than ATC w/2 'biners + leg loop 'biner.

    edit: Of course lighter 'biners than Attache can be used, but lighter = smaller and/or less material in the wear zone. Not recommended for dirty conditions. Smaller 'biners are also a bit harder to rig/handle. YMMV
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2018
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  11. Sandstone Addiction

    Sandstone Addiction Headed South

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    Apparently, more are on the way.

    http://canyoncollective.com/threads/critr-update.25354/
  12. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Yes, or a small locking carabiner. BD Positron is my choice. It also extends the device about 4" which is a good thing, I find.

    I do offer the 10mm Aluminum Rapide for performing this function, but the BD Positron costs half as much and is a more useful thing to have on hand. A smaller rapide will crunch the belay loop, which is not a good idea. A large inexpensive steel rapide will weigh a ton! Figuratively, unless you go REALLY big.

    Tom
  13. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I see a lot of endorsements for the Sqwurel. I love the Sqwurel for long rappels. And I love the innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. But...

    I don't think it makes a very good "everyday" rappel device. Doing Heaps, I would bring a Sqwurel for the three long rappels, and a Critr for everything else.

    Maybe my brake hand flaps around too much. Using the Sqwurel, one must have a part of one's attention on how the rope is exiting the device. And one must not move the brake hand in the wrong direction or you might pop it out and end up with a LOT less friction than you want. I've only done this a few times, but it is scary when it happens. I would not use it for Class C canyons, waterfall rappels, where I may not have that attention available to spend on how the rope is exiting.

    I had liked it for those awkward rappels that require weird downclimbing for the last person to get on-rope, because I can tie it off and get it running again really easy. But a couple times I have done that and the Sqwurel ends up all cattywampus and... well, in both cases I can remember, I just used it because a quick eval suggested it was safe and would work, but not the best.

    Tom
  14. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    For non Class C canyons, I find the ATC type devices (XP, quide, Reverso 3/4, etc) work well for me. But...that's because I'm very used to managing the friction with them.

    For the last rap in Heaps, on a single 8mm, I've used two ATC's stacked one on top of the other. Awesome. No spin. Smooth.

    For long free rappels with a skinny double rope, or, single fat rope, an ATC with an extra biner or two can add an adequate amount of friction for most rappels.

    I like the ATS for wet canyons and a fat, wet rope. I don't typically use it for dry canyons.

    YMMV of course.
    Jenny likes this.
  15. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Some weights:

    Old school ATC: 53g.
    Petzl Reverso 3: 76g.
    Petzl Pirana: 97g.
    CRITR2: 130g.

    Petzl Attache: 77g.
    Petzl Attache 3D: 53g.
    Kong locker: 47g.
    BD Hotwire: 44g.

    (Actual weights....no rappel devices or biners harmed in this weigh in).

    So, old school ATC 53g (not married to heavy locker) + light locker 47g + two BD hotwires +44 X 2 = 188g.

    Two ATCs + two light lockers = 200g.

    CRITR2 + Petzl Attache = 207g.

    Kind of a fun weight website:

    https://weighmyrack.com/Belay

    Petzl Reverso 4 59g + Petzl Attache 3D 53g = 112g.

    Reverso 4 w twin.

    Mammut 7.5mm dynamic (oh the horror!) twin rope. No extra biner. Last rap (mostly free air) out of Boltergeist. I'm big boned...(ha ha)...no issues with friction. No gloves.

    Dance with them who brung ya...
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  16. Jeff Schaber

    Jeff Schaber

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    Thanks Tom,

    I have the Sqwerul on back order from you now but after reading this I'm second guessing myself. I thought it would be good to have as a device to replace a Rack System that my friends like to use due to the similarity of how friction is added. I think I'll see about the CRTR2 over the Sqwerul since my experience level and that of my friends would warrant using a safer device.

    We spent some time on our local wall last night and I got to use the Sterling ATS, I really liked it. Tried it on both Single and Double line rappels and was comfortable with the different friction settings available. Figured what worked well for my weight as well as got a newbie on it who has only ever used a rack system so it was a learning experience for her. She was having difficulties with the complexity of the rack and found the ATS much easier for her to use. Right now the ATS is the device for me but I really want to try the CRITR2 and possibly the Sqwerul.

    I actually have quite a few BD Positron Biners per your other post above so I'll give that a try. I need to order some larger Rapides from you as well since all I have are those "large inexpensive steel" ones!

    Brian, thanks for your input, I pulled out my ATC-XP last night and used it for a few drops. However, I couldn't figure out how to lock it off short of tying a mule hitch.
  17. Brian in SLC

    Brian in SLC Brian in SLC

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    Quick is a leg wrap. A friend used what he called the "bubba" hitch. Take the brake hand strand back behind and around your body, then secure it on the front side. Easy, fast, and easy to reload and restart the rappel. He liked it for rappelling with a heavy haul bag if he needed to stop and uncluster the rope below, etc.

    I've also fed a loop through the biner from the brake strand and tied it off either on the spine of the biner or bring it up to the guide strand. Both methods allow you to manage the brake strand pretty effectively. Mule hitch works well for this. Back up knot for safety too

    Nearly no knot on a rope will fit through the slot(s) of an ATC. For low angle stops, where you can unload the ATC and/or stand on your feet, you can just toss in a quick knot on a bite below the ATC and go hands free.

    A friction hitch below the device makes it easy to stop and start as well...

    For better or worse, and, not recommeneded (do not try this at home), you can ascend a rope very quickly with just an ATC. Especially in lower angle terrain. But, that technique is risky. I know a friend stuck his rope on the second to last rappel of Heaps, and, jugged back up on an ATC to fix whatever cluster. Strong climber, and, wouldn't recommend it, but, quick and for him, easy. Not without risk, for sure.

    Anyhoo....
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  18. Bill

    Bill ... Staff Member

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    I always carry two devices and alone the ATCxp is only 64 g, that's half the weight of the CRITR and Sqwurel so its and obvious choice for me. How well do the CRITR and Sqwurel handle double ropes again, better than the ATCxp? ;)

    I'm definitely not saying the ATCxp is the "one stop shop" device for anything and everything but I always have mine and I use it the majority of the time. For large, free hanging raps, single strand raps I tend to use the ATS. That route we did together with the back to back 300' raps, I used an ATCxp with double biners. :twothumbs:
  19. hank moon

    hank moon lovely ligatures

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    CRITR works well on double rope: the rope passes through relatively smoothly, and you still have on-line friction options. With SQWUREL, double rope does not pass nicely through the tail holes, so you essentially get no on-line friction options from the device with doubled rope. I have also used ATC-XP for 300' raps and it...does work, but the ease of rigging, descent control, locking off, etc. afforded by other devices makes for more efficient and enjoyable rappelling.
  20. Bill

    Bill ... Staff Member

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    giphy.

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