Wild Coun­try Revo

Gripped - - EDITORIAL -

$175 When the Revo Be­lay De­vice by Wild Coun­try ar­rived in our of­fice, it was met with some ex­cite­ment. Af­ter all, its path from con­cep­tion to ex­e­cu­tion has been long and given rise to nu­mer­ous spec­u­la­tions as to what it would do and how it would com­pare to ex­ist­ing be­lay de­vice op­tions. Out of the box, the Revo ap­pears to be unique in the world of be­lay de­vices. It com­prises a metal body which splits to loop the rope around a wheel and locks closed with a cara­biner that at­taches the de­vice to the be­lay loop of your har­ness. Pro­ject­ing from the top of the wheel, on ei­ther side, are two fric­tion ‘tu­bers.’ It’s an im­pres­sive piece of climb­ing en­gi­neer­ing.

Just putting the rope through for the first time you will no­tice that, un­like the Petzl Gri-Gri, it can fit ei­ther way, so you can’t get it wrong. The big cara­biner hole formed by the two sides of the closed de­vice favours larger cara­bin­ers.

The big ad­van­tage of the Revo is the ease with which the rope feeds through as you be­lay. Be­cause of the wheel, there is even less fric­tion than on a con­ven­tional be­lay tube or plate de­vice. Also, the chance of the rope catch­ing when the leader pulls out slack is al­most elim­i­nated.

And now, the catch. The wheel catch that is. Although play­ing out the rope through the Revo is a silky smooth op­er­a­tion, even when the leader pulls out slack quickly, the Revo has a built in catch on the wheel that locks the de­vice when the rope ac­cel­er­ates to 4 me­tres per se­cond. This means that although you must al­ways keep your hand on the brake end of the rope, the wheel will lock the rope in the case of a leader fall if you do not slow it down with your brake hand just the same as you would us­ing a con­ven­tional be­lay-de­vice. Keep in mind that the wheel lock may be at a dif­fer­ent point in the wheel’s ro­ta­tion, and un­til it en­gages at the top of the de­vice, slack will con­tinue to run through the de­vice, al­beit only a few inches. The de­vice is eas­ily un­locked ei­ther by pulling down on the brake end of the rope, or hold­ing the brake end while push­ing up the tu­ber with a thumb, the lat­ter be­ing a some­what counter-in­tu­itive ma­noeu­vre that took a few tries to in­grain in our be­lay­ing tech­nique.

As for low­er­ing, the Revo’s tu­bers add fric­tion in much the same way as the edges of be­lay tube. The Revo worked well, as ad­ver­tised, with ropes from 8.5–11mm, with thicker ropes of­fer­ing an eas­ier lower for the be­layer be­cause of the in­creased fric­tion.

The Revo can be used to rap­pel a sin­gle rope, but care must be taken not to ac­cel­er­ate so quickly that the de­vice locks the rope. It is also nec­es­sary to be cau­tious if the rope locks be­cause the weight of the hang­ing rope could pos­si­bly un­lock it. Mon­i­tor­ing the speed of de­scent and keep­ing your hands on the brake end of the rope at all times should elim­i­nate these prob­lems.

The Revo will ap­peal mostly to sin­glepitch sport and trad climbers who are con­fi­dent be­lay­ers and want a de­vice that al­lows them to be­lay eas­ily with­out

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