Reverso 3 - kind of scary

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et

climber
Bozeman, MT
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 12, 2010 - 11:17pm PT
We commonly use self-locking belay devices for ascending ropes. During some crevasse rescue training today we had a Reverso 3 fail to self-lock, as the weighted side squeezed past the break end to where it looked like it was loaded incorrectly. This happened twice - luckily with no injury. The rope being used was an 8.4 Sterling.

Has anyone encountered such a problem?

Cheers, Et
Trad

Trad climber
northern CA
Jun 12, 2010 - 11:25pm PT
I just did a quick check on the Petzl web site and it says:

- effective braking on single ropes ≥ 8.9 mm

Maybe you were using too thin a rope?


edit: here's the link

http://www.petzl.com/us/outdoor/belay-devices-0/reverso-3
rlf

Trad climber
Josh, CA
Jun 12, 2010 - 11:30pm PT
That's possible. Was it a dry treated rope? New ones are slick.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Jun 12, 2010 - 11:54pm PT
I've never used a R3, but I tried the original Reverso and gave up on it almost right away. We usually use skinny ropes, and the Reverso just doesn't work well with them. The turning point was an overhanging rappel at RR. "Frictionless" and "Rappel Device" shouldn't ever appear in the same sentence.

But since the reverso seemed to work well with fat ropes I tried a Reversino, which Petzl designed specifically for thin ropes. Still not enough friction (and I'm not exactly a heavy guy). So they've sat in the closet ever since.

Kind of weird, really, cuz the ropes we use are Petzls. You'd think if they were selling a skinny rope, they'd make sure they had a belay device that worked well with it.

But something in the OP is kind of baffling:

We commonly use self-locking belay devices for ascending ropes.

Not sure just what you're talking about here. Ascending ropes with a belay device? I know that you can brute-force your way up a rope with a descender, but if you're in a crevasse you presumably have prussiks. Or Tibloks.Or shoelaces. There are a lot of ways to get up a rope, and just about all of them are easier than using a belay device. Can you clarify this?

D
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Jun 12, 2010 - 11:58pm PT
Here's what Petzl says:

A single device for all rope types:
 effective braking on half and twin ropes ≥ 7.5 mm
 effective braking on single ropes ≥ 8.9 mm
 can belay the leader, one or two seconding climbers and can be used for rappelling...


I read this as referring to the device being used in ordinary belaying mode.

- independent and simultaneous belaying of one or two seconding climbers in Reverso mode...

This is the only part that refers to the autoblocking, or "Reverso" mode, and it does not mention any limitations on rope diameter, although various testers have noticed the same thing the OP saw with thin ropes.

This is just another of the potentially dangerous complexities of the so-called "hands-off" belaying systems.

By the way, the specifications seem to say that normal belaying may not be effective with half ropes, since in that case a rope of diameter less than 8.9mm will be called upon to hold a fall all by itself.
et

climber
Bozeman, MT
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 13, 2010 - 12:39am PT
Thanks for the feedback -

I guess, to my surprise, the Reverso can't handle that thin a rope by itself. I can't believe that they have different standards for single or double ropes. Say you are ice climbing with two ropes (less than 8.9 of course) and want to belay up two partners. I think Petzl will say that will constitute two single lines - no? That is pretty much what we were doing. Being an old Reversino user I was aware of the original limitations. And I have recently switched to the ATC Guide which is good to 7.7 on any rope. This is my first experience with the R3. And now I am looking even closer at it and found that if belaying two people at the same time and one person weights the rope, the second person will not be auto-locked. That is sketchy at best.

As for the set-up, it's real simple. Rap down into the crevasse with the belay device extended and backed up with a prusik off your belay loop. To switch to ascend you tie a friction hitch (Prusik, Kleimheist) above your device with a cordelette. Tie the tail of your cordelette to your belay loop with a Munter/Mule. Rap onto your Munter/Mule so there is slack in your belay device. Clip the Auto-Locking belay device to your belay loop and take in slack. Undo your back-up Prusik. Next, release the Munter/Mule so you are now on your belay device. With the free cordelette now hanging off a friction hitch, tie a knot in to step in. Now, step up, and as you do, pull the brake end of the belay device.

Oh, and it was an old fuzzy rope.
The Wedge

Boulder climber
Santa Rosa & Bishop, CA
Jun 13, 2010 - 03:59am PT
YA, don't use it on ropes smaller than what the manufacture says. Wow....it almost failed...luckly no one got injured.... because you cant read direction. I hope you are not some "guide".

Plaquette, look it up, or ask a guide.
healyje

Trad climber
Portland, Oregon
Jun 13, 2010 - 05:38am PT
Consider a Kong Ghost, instead for smaller ropes.
Degaine

climber
Jun 13, 2010 - 06:24am PT
et wrote:
Clip the Auto-Locking belay device to your belay loop and take in slack.

Honest question, did you clip the belay device (R3) to your belay loop correctly? (in auto-locking mode)

Degaine

climber
Jun 13, 2010 - 06:29am PT
I currently use the ATC guide, but have used both the R3, the original Reverso, the Reversino (with ropes as small as 7,7 twins) and the R2. Never had any problems in auto-locking mode when belaying a second. When belaying a leader or when on rappel, if I felt that there was not enough friction to my liking, I would add a biner.

However, my general laziness and penchant for procrastination (why do today what I can do tomorrow?), I have failed to follow through with rgold's repeated (intelligent and experienced) recommendation to wear gloves when belaying.
et

climber
Bozeman, MT
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 13, 2010 - 08:01am PT
Yes, I am "some guide" and we were training on a tree a few feet off the ground. The belay device belongs to a client. When it failed he simply lowered himself down like he was rappelling. Please don't think less of "us guides" for posting this.

I made a very wrong assumption, however, that this device could handle an 8.4 mm rope by itself. It was based on another assumption that you could use the R3 ice climbing and belay up two people. It is now my opinion that you can't, because not many folks climb ice these days with two ropes greater than or equal to 8.9 mm. And that makes this device not only junk, but downright misleading.

This does not even address my second concern regarding the lack of aut-locking ability on one side when a person weights the rope on the other.

And to answer Degaine's honest question, it was attached correctly.

I look forward to more great responses.

Cheers, Et
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Jun 13, 2010 - 11:50am PT
Consider a Kong Ghost, instead for smaller ropes.

Ha. Got my laugh for the day!

My first thought on reading Healyje's post was "Why is Joseph directing this specifically at me?" But, what the heck, I'll check it out. Can't remember the name of the Kong belay device, something like Gri-Gri, but it doesn't matter. Just google "kong belay device" and I'm sure I'll find it.

So I google "kong belay device" and what do I get? "Kong Ghost Belay Device"

Kong also makes the Gi-Gi, but I guess they decided they should make something specifically for belaying me.

Back on topic, though. As both rgold and I have mumbled on many belay threads in the past, a German-made device called the TRE Sirius solved all the problems. Even on skinny ropes on an overhanging rappel, you can simply let go. So, naturally, TRE's gone out of business and we're left with the usual Reverso vs. ATC-style debate.

Why can't somebody make and market a device that does for two ropes what the Gri-gri does for one?

D

Trad

Trad climber
northern CA
Jun 13, 2010 - 12:43pm PT
This does not even address my second concern regarding the lack of aut-locking ability on one side when a person weights the rope on the other.

Did you check the information on the Petzl site yet? It looks like they specifically warn against using the Reverso 3 that way.


It seems a little unfair to label something as a "junk product" if it's being used in ways that the manufacturer did not intend.
rgold

Trad climber
Poughkeepsie, NY
Jun 13, 2010 - 01:02pm PT
May I repeat myself?

This is just another of the potentially dangerous complexities of the so-called "hands-off" belaying systems.
Dr.Sprock

Boulder climber
Sprocketville
Jun 13, 2010 - 01:15pm PT
they improved the friction on the R3, it works great on a pair of 9mm ropes,

not much effort from the braking hand required,

the auto brake also seems to work well, i had more of a problem getting it to unbrake.

the hole they give you to stick a biner in as a lever to unbrake is too small for a biner!

full props going out to petzl engineers for reading the metric drill chart instead of the english. did these guys work on the hubble lens?

so screw the auto brake, but as a standard rap/belay device, i see no problems with this product.

one other thing about the auto brake mode that is scary is that you hang the R3 from your harness with a biner that goes thru a large hole,

well, if that loops breaks in the R3, then you could go for a ride if you arer not backed up. unless i am rigging the autobrake wrong, which is highly possible considering the daily amounts of cannabis that are copiusly injested,

Degaine

climber
Jun 13, 2010 - 02:53pm PT
dr spock wrote:
the hole they give you to stick a biner in as a lever to unbrake is too small for a biner!

A Petzl non-locking biner from a quickdraw fits perfectly into that hole (designed that way on purpose).

dr spock wrote:
one other thing about the auto brake mode that is scary is that you hang the R3 from your harness with a biner that goes thru a large hole,

Please correct me if I have indeed misunderstood, but it reads as if you are hanging the R3 off your harness in auto-lock mode, which you should not be doing. The "plaquette" type of auto-locking device for belaying up a second (or seconds) was designed to be clipped into the anchor (in order to belay directly off the anchor).
et

climber
Bozeman, MT
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 13, 2010 - 04:44pm PT
Trad ~

The reason I am calling it junk is because the older models (1 & 2) did not have this limitation and they went down to 8mm single ropes. Sure, the R3 brakes better and is lighter, but it is not a better product.

Et
Trad

Trad climber
northern CA
Jun 13, 2010 - 11:54pm PT
Apologies if I misinterpreted your posts, Ec. I use the Reverso 3 so this thread caught my eye because if it has an inherent flaw I definitely don't want to use it.

But after looking at Petzl's literature it still looks to me like the Reverso 3, in and of itself, is safe when used according to manufacturer's specs.

Whether or not it's different/worse/better than the reverso 1 or 2 is another matter, as well as rgold's point about the complexities of "hands-off" belaying systems. Maybe there should be threads on those topics (if there aren't already!).

Tom
Mighty Hiker

climber
Vancouver, B.C.
Jun 14, 2010 - 12:00am PT
This is just another of the potentially dangerous complexities of the so-called "hands-off" belaying systems.
Or perhaps of a relatively complex, specialized 'solution' to a simple problem?
squishy

Mountain climber
sacramento
Jun 14, 2010 - 12:21am PT
Quit saying "failed" unless you can prove the device failed...
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