UKC

/ Wild Country Revo - update

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jbrom - on 02 Jun 2018

The article below, dated 29th May 2018 suggests a release date of next month (in the US). It went on (early)sale yesterday at REI and is indeed available on their website.

 

Granted it's in America, and the Americans have already had one release of the Revo and that didn't go very well.

 

It does however give an indication that the re-worked device is ready. Lets hope it doesn't start breaking randomly this time, and makes it to the UK.

 

https://gearjunkie.com/wild-country-revo-assisted-locking-belay-device-review

DenzelLN - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to jbrom:

Cant say the aesthetics do much for me, looks a bit naff.

paul__in_sheffield - on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to jbrom:

Great idea in principle, but the lack of the ability to lock it off for working routes is a major deal breaker.

Rob Parsons on 02 Jun 2018
In reply to jbrom:

> Granted it's in America, and the Americans have already had one release of the Revo and that didn't go very well.

I'm finding it hard to keep up with this (but I'm interested in the Revo for its potential as a roped-soloing device).

Was the device *withdrawn* from sale in the US after its initial release? Has it since been modified? If so, in what way(s)?

 

 

Post edited at 21:29
jbrom - on 02 Jun 2018
Paz - on 03 Jun 2018
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

Damn straight.  $145 and the belayer can't rest while the leader's dogging and you can't use double ropes?  Compared to old style Gri-gris for £50 online.  I don't think it's going to sell very well with sport or trad climbers. 

It looks fantastic and is an amazing idea, but I can only think it's of use for either really really poor belayers who's leaders want a back up, or really really advanced 'sprint' or 'sacrificial' belayers on hard grit type routes. 

 

Paz - on 03 Jun 2018

Does anyone know if the latch/ratchet thing that forms the safety lock on the central disc is held back by a spring or just overcomes its own weight at a 4 m/s fall?

So, will it work upside down (and be OK for belaying up a second and might be amazing for roped soloing) or will it constantly locking?

Or if it's got a spring, (it's probably not an issue given how well the springs in my Gri-gri and shunt are ageing) but what happens if the spring corrodes and gets stiffer?  Springs can't get squishier over time can they (except at very high temperatures)?   Or if the spring breaks - will the user notice because the Revo starts locking all the time at much lower speeds?  And the spring's a cheap part to replace?

https://www.vimeo.com/168311250

 

beardy mike - on 03 Jun 2018
In reply to Paz:

I works with a weighed arm that is sprun inwards so that it is pretensioned in the standard belaying state. As a fall occurs, the tension on this arm is overcome by the ropw wheel rotating more quickly, and as it rotates it basically knocks into a lump of aluminium which triggers one or other of the stainless pinch cheeks which then locks down on the rope. As to all your other questions I have no idea. But I'm fairly certain it will lock in any direction.

Paz - on 03 Jun 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

Cheers Mike. 

guy xavier percival - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to jbrom:

Looks like it has arrived.....

https://www.wildcountry.com/en-gb/

 

MischaHY - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to jbrom:

A few info points from the test model I've had: 

Yes, you can lock off for working routes - there's a bit of trick to it but it works. You sort of have to let the rope slip for a second, or if you ask the climber to hold their weight for a moment then it's very easy. 

The ideal rope size is somewhere around 9.4, with extremities on either end being a bit dodgy from either too much drag or not enough. This seems rope dependent though but <9mm was a bit interesting to say the least - although again I need to test it with a few other ropes as my 8.9 beal is notoriously slippy regardless of device. Thick ropes tend to drag unless you've got a skinny biner. 

The brief amount of rope soloing I did worked well but I haven't had chance to test for practice falls much. The three I did below a bolt it caught fine, the one above I hit my backup knot 4m down the rope - so not ideal. Could be that I didn't have time to accelerate enough hence the need for further testing with a backup rope/belayer. Pete Whittaker also recommended a microtraxion behind the device to hold the rope weight - again, I didn't have this which could have played a role. 

My advice would be to not compare it to the grigri as it's way more like a tube device with a safety function - it does this job very well indeed. 

Twmpa on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to jbrom:

My climbing partner (also a qualified instructor) turned up tonight with a shiny new Revo.  We sat and fully read through the instructions together before use then we tried it.  This device has an inertial reel locking system (like a car seatbelt) built in.  It locks if the rope is faster than 4m/s.  It must be said that neither of us was impressed.

SET UP:  The device is relatively easy and intuitive to set up.

ASCENT:  The Revo is supposed to work like a normal tuber device.  However, we found that this was not really the case.  For a normal climbing ascent, using the V to the Knee 1, 2 ,3 belaying technique the Revo works OK.  However, be warned that if your hand position is anywhere other than fully locked off, this device has almost zero friction.  Also, as clipped to the belay loop on my harness, I found that on the take in when going to the V, this caused the device to hit me in the sternum every time!

LOWERING:  Due to the aforementioned all or nothing friction, lowering a climber (even the 8 stone of my partner) on the Revo requires care.  I weigh 14 stone and he really struggled to keep control whilst lowering me.  With my device the friction can be varied infinitely by small movements to control the speed of descent.  The Revo does not allow this and we found that it takes a surprisingly small degree of movement to completely lose the friction.

FALLS:  To be sure of what the device is capable of, we both simulated falls whilst climbing.  Firstly, it took a greater length of rope than the manufacturer suggests before the lock engages - around 12 inches we found.  This is not necessarily a danger to the climber but it proved hazardous for the belayer.  We tested on a missed dyno move scenario and if the fall occurs whilst the belayer has hands in the fully locked position, the device works fine.  However, if at the time of the fall the belayer has hands in any other position such as taking in, the device has zero friction and the rope whips through it until the lock engages.  On both tries, using my normal technique, before I was able to lock down, my thumb joint was whacked hard against the device as it is impossible to hold the fall unless fully locked down.  Both of us observed that the Revo did this BECAUSE we were using good technique not despite it.  It makes it all but impossible to perform a dynamic cushioned arrest of a fall.  We had no problems with either my DMM Bug or my partners Mammut Smart (which does the same job as the Revo but far far better).

CONCLUSION:  Neither one of us can recommend this device as we found it difficult and, frankly, dangerous in real world usage.  Had my climbing partner weighed the same 14 stone as me instead of 8 I am convinced that the Revo would have broken my thumb when he fell whilst I was taking in.  In our opinion, it is an awful piece of kit.  My climbing partner likes to collect different belay devices and we thought the Zap-O-Mat was his crappest until we used the Revo. 

5
damowilk on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to Twmpa:

Thanks for taking the time to post.

Disappointing as I was holding out for the revo, hoping it would be the best of the assist devices. I think I’ll now go for the CT click up.

 

Orkie - on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to Twmpa:

Slightly different view here. I've been using one for the last week and haven't had any of these problems. I find that it feels little different to use than an ATC XP, slightly more slick, but not enough to cause a problem.

Have caught falls while paying out for a leader and didn't find it a particularly traumatic experience - again, no different to using am ATC.

We did some experiments the first time I used it and the backup locking doesn't always kick in quite as quickly as you'd expect. It locks almost instantly when the rope is already taut, or around 3m when we put a second rope on somebody and had them drop off an indoor wall without holding the Revo rope at all (obviously a lot of that will be slack/rope stretch). Even when doing high, fast clips leading it is reluctant to lock up, which I like.

All in all, it works exactly like an ATC for the most part and I haven't felt that it is dangerous.

MischaHY - on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to Twmpa:

> My climbing partner (also a qualified instructor) 

Humblebrag? 

> ASCENT:  The Revo is supposed to work like a normal tuber device. 

It does.

> LOWERING:  Due to the aforementioned all or nothing friction, lowering a climber (even the 8 stone of my partner) on the Revo requires care.  

I've been testing this device for 3 months with an 8.6mm rope and had plenty of friction. Sure you're belaying properly?

> FALLS:  To be sure of what the device is capable of, we both simulated falls whilst climbing. 

Christ, this says so much.

> This is not necessarily a danger to the climber but it proved hazardous for the belayer.  We tested on a missed dyno move scenario and if the fall occurs whilst the belayer has hands in the fully locked position, the device works fine.  However, if at the time of the fall the belayer has hands in any other position such as taking in, the device has zero friction and the rope whips through it until the lock engages.  On both tries, using my normal technique, before I was able to lock down, my thumb joint was whacked hard against the device as it is impossible to hold the fall unless fully locked down.  Both of us observed that the Revo did this BECAUSE we were using good technique not despite it.  It makes it all but impossible to perform a dynamic cushioned arrest of a fall.  We had no problems with either my DMM Bug or my partners Mammut Smart (which does the same job as the Revo but far far better).

It's not supposed to engage unless you literally let go of the rope. There's a trick to getting the block to engage for sport routes but it's not meant to be used like that. If, in the rare (hopefully) scenario that you for some reason didn't have the device locked when about to catch a lead fall, the brake would engage. Why would you be taking in whilst someone is taking a fall? Were you even watching your partner? 

> CONCLUSION:  Neither one of us can recommend this device as we found it difficult and, frankly, dangerous in real world usage.  Had my climbing partner weighed the same 14 stone as me instead of 8 I am convinced that the Revo would have broken my thumb when he fell whilst I was taking in.  In our opinion, it is an awful piece of kit.  My climbing partner likes to collect different belay devices and we thought the Zap-O-Mat was his crappest until we used the Revo. 

Your review reads like something from the depths of trip advisor. As I say, I've been using the Revo for several months now and despite it not being my favourite device by a stretch, I now feel compelled to defend the thing despite personally preferring other devices. 

Short version is - if you want a belay device that works like an ATC/Reverso etc and offers a soft catch for when climbing on gear, but will hold your partner if you get knocked out by a falling rock - this is spot on. 

 

9
DubyaJamesDubya - on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to Twmpa:

Are you sure you are using this correctly? My understanding is that in normal usage the lock off would never need to be engaged. In other words it is like an ATC with an emergency back up.

You keep referring to the 'fully locked off' position but that is the normal position for holding a fall or lowering with an ATC style device.

jezb1 - on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to jbrom:

From reading some stuff so far it seems it isn’t trying to be a GriGri, so it isn’t going to particularly catch on for sport?

So it’s better for trad, but us brits love a double rope system...

Must admit I don’t really get it - but I’ve not used one yet so am prepared to eat my words!

Luke90 on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to jezb1:

Yes, it sounds like it's a really good bit of design and engineering that only actually comes into its own for very narrow use cases:

  • Sport climbers who don't like working routes and also want to be able to lower climbers without pulling a lever?
  • Roped soloing, perhaps? Mischa's post on that subject above wasn't super-encouraging but he did seem to think it might work well with some tweaks to his system.
  • Maybe teaching beginners on a device that acts like a tube but still offers a backup in case of error.
  • Trad climbers who only use a single rope. (Good for the American market, I guess. I hear they don't use doubles as much as us.)

I'm not saying those are the only places it could be used, just that they're the only cases I can think of where it offers really distinct advantages. (Based purely on what I've read online, I haven't used one.)

Rick Graham on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to Twmpa:

> My climbing partner (also a qualified instructor) turned up tonight with a shiny new Revo.  We sat and fully read through the instructions together before use then we tried it.  This device has an inertial reel locking system (like a car seatbelt) built in.  It locks if the rope is faster than 4m/s.  It must be said that neither of us was impressed.

> SET UP:  The device is relatively easy and intuitive to set up.

> ASCENT:  The Revo is supposed to work like a normal tuber device.  However, we found that this was not really the case.  For a normal climbing ascent, using the V to the Knee 1, 2 ,3 belaying technique the Revo works OK.  However, be warned that if your hand position is anywhere other than fully locked off, this device has almost zero friction.  Also, as clipped to the belay loop on my harness, I found that on the take in when going to the V, this caused the device to hit me in the sternum every time!

> LOWERING:  Due to the aforementioned all or nothing friction, lowering a climber (even the 8 stone of my partner) on the Revo requires care.  I weigh 14 stone and he really struggled to keep control whilst lowering me.  With my device the friction can be varied infinitely by small movements to control the speed of descent.  The Revo does not allow this and we found that it takes a surprisingly small degree of movement to completely lose the friction.

> FALLS:  To be sure of what the device is capable of, we both simulated falls whilst climbing.  Firstly, it took a greater length of rope than the manufacturer suggests before the lock engages - around 12 inches we found.  This is not necessarily a danger to the climber but it proved hazardous for the belayer.  We tested on a missed dyno move scenario and if the fall occurs whilst the belayer has hands in the fully locked position, the device works fine.  However, if at the time of the fall the belayer has hands in any other position such as taking in, the device has zero friction and the rope whips through it until the lock engages.  On both tries, using my normal technique, before I was able to lock down, my thumb joint was whacked hard against the device as it is impossible to hold the fall unless fully locked down.  Both of us observed that the Revo did this BECAUSE we were using good technique not despite it.  It makes it all but impossible to perform a dynamic cushioned arrest of a fall.  We had no problems with either my DMM Bug or my partners Mammut Smart (which does the same job as the Revo but far far better).

> CONCLUSION:  Neither one of us can recommend this device as we found it difficult and, frankly, dangerous in real world usage.  Had my climbing partner weighed the same 14 stone as me instead of 8 I am convinced that the Revo would have broken my thumb when he fell whilst I was taking in.  In our opinion, it is an awful piece of kit.  My climbing partner likes to collect different belay devices and we thought the Zap-O-Mat was his crappest until we used the Revo. 

One question, Have you only tested the Revo as a belay device for top roping?

Reading your post it appears to me that you have not tested any  belaying of a lead climber.

Mowglee on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to beardy mike:

I had a play with an early version, so not sure if the production model design has changed since then. But what Mike says above:

 as it rotates it basically knocks into a lump of aluminium which triggers one or other of the stainless pinch cheeks which then locks down on the rope

That little bit of aluminium was looking pretty battered after just a handful of tests, and I had serious concerns about it's longevity taking regular impacts/falls. I also found it a nightmare to use when sport climbing, being unable to lock off unless you throw out an armful of slack, and lowering being very difficult to control properly. The complicated mechanisms might appeal to some people, but it seems like a major design weakness and I'm surprised they've pushed it through to production.

MischaHY - on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to Mowglee:

> I also found it a nightmare to use when sport climbing, being unable to lock off unless you throw out an armful of slack. 

But it's not meant to be locked off during use unless something goes wrong. 

 

2
Luke90 on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to MischaHY:

It's still a fair criticism of the device, though. People are used to more sophisticated and expensive belay devices being easier to hold a resting climber on than tube devices.

jbrom - on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to Luke90:

I think there were hopes (ie I had hopes) the Revo would be all things to all climbers (excluding those climbing with halves/twins).

  • Almost as slick as a tube type device
  • Assisted braking
  • Locking off when working a route
  • Potential for rope soloing

I fully appreciate this is am well into moon on a stick territory, but I would say that over £100 for a belay device, moon on a stick is what I should get.

I am also aware Wild Country never promised the last two of those criteria. However without the device locking off when working the route I would have real trouble justifying the cost being double that of a Grigri, If it did everything the Grigri did, plus smooth paying out and potential for rope soloing it would almost make sense.

Luke90 on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to jbrom:

Well, it sounds like they've probably delivered on the first two of your hopes. I'm not sure Wild Country would ever make claims about the fourth for fear of liability issues but it seems like it has potential in that area. Tentative three out of four?

It looks like they've solved some really tricky engineering challenges and adding a manual locking mechanism seems like it would be much easier to do. Maybe it could be an addition for generation two? (If it does well enough for them to even consider a second, which might be unlikely at that price.)

Twmpa on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to MischaHY:

Thank you everyone for your responses to my post.  The Revo might be designed to work like a tuber and for the most part it does.  But, unless I am missing something, as soon as you lift your control hand to start a take in, I have found that this effectively ‘turns off’ all friction rather than the gradual decrease one would get with a Standard tuber like the Bug.  

This ‘turn off’ of the friction is where the device gave me problems on holding a fall.  Personally, I find that climbers rarely warn me or check that I have fully locked down my belay before they fall.  Sometimes they go without any warning AND during a take in.  Since there is little or no friction until the control rope is locked almost fully down, I found that until that point (still only a fraction of a second) I was unable to slow the fall whereas with a Bug the friction would increase gradually as your control hand lowers.  And that fraction of a second amounted to enough length of rope (more than the instructions suggest) to drag my hand into the device before I could either catch the fall myself or for the inertia reel to activate.  Yes fully locked down is the position to hold a fall but, if you don’t happen to be in that position, you appear to need rapier quick reflexes to manually lock the fall before the Revo drags your hand in.  As I said, with a heavier climber, I think it would have properly hurt me.  I was using it iaw the instructions so if I am doing something wrong (and I am still new to the device after all) I am all ears.

Usage of this device is supposed to be exactly like a normal tuber device however, fully locked it seems to have considerably less friction than my Bug which certainly makes lowering harder work.  In this, and the other aspects described above, I am still inclined to disagree.

We will still utilise the Revo more in the future and at least give it some time to try and get used to it and it’s apparent foibles. And yes we have yet to try it on a lead so will report back on that.

Who knows, maybe with more use, it might grow on us.

Post edited at 19:20
Luke90 on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to Twmpa:

Were you attempting to catch naturally occurring falls using your normal belay method? Or were you deliberately simulating a fall occurring at a moment when your hand wasn't in a locked off position? If the latter, I imagine that trying to ensure you're in that initial position might be delaying your reaction to lock off and causing it to feel slicker than a normal tube? Only a guess.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It's interesting to hear from people who've actually tried it.

Twmpa on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to Luke90:

> Were you attempting to catch naturally occurring falls using your normal belay method? Or were you deliberately simulating a fall occurring at a moment when your hand wasn't in a locked off position? If the latter, I imagine that trying to ensure you're in that initial position might be delaying your reaction to lock off and causing it to feel slicker than a normal tube? Only a guess.

> Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It's interesting to hear from people who've actually tried it.

Essentially I was attempting to catch a naturally occurring fall but have found that if I am any other than fully locked down when the fall occurs, that the absence of friction until the hand is fully back to the locked off position means the rope is whipped through the device by the climbers weight.  The fall was essentially stopped by my thumb is being dragged hard against the device which also happened to activate the inertia brake.  Basically, with a Bug, the level of friction can be modulated infinitely by lifting and lowering your control hand - the Revo seems to almost completely lack that modulation.

Unless I am missing something of course.

Orkie - on 27 Jun 2018
In reply to Twmpa:

Tried tonight to reproduce your problem with somebody far heavier than I, and didn't have any trouble lowering them. Also tried catching them with the rope at a 45 degree angle rather than straight down and managed to hold them comfortably. Perhaps it depends on the rope.

Post edited at 23:03
Twmpa on 29 Jun 2018
In reply to Orkie:

As I have said above, it may be that we need to use it a bit more to get used to it and we have yet to try on lead.  On the night, we were using centre ropes, which were at the top end of the size range for the device but I doubt that should have made much difference.  On lowering, my partner controls my weight well on his Mammut Smart or my DMM Bug but struggled with the Revo as it seemed to ultimately lack friction in comparison.  I certainly found lowering my (lightweight) partner harder work on the Revo than on my Bug - the feeling being that it ultimately provides less friction than regular tuber.  Lowering 8 stone on the Revo felt a lot like lowering 15 stone on a Bug does.

Whether I am right or wrong in my opinions of the Revo, It still cannot be overlooked that it costs twice as much as a Gri Gri and three times more than a Smart and it does not work any better than either of these.  

Post edited at 10:31
Charloam - on 30 Jun 2018
In reply to Twmpa:

Question: How tight were you top rope belaying? If you were belaying without slack that would explain not being able to lock off before slamming your hand to the revo, you have no time to react! Of course I may be wrong with this assumption.

@MischaHY

You mentioned Pete Whittaker recommends a microtraxion with this device, where did you read that? I'm very curious as to his opinion of the revo for lead soloing!

 

Luke90 on 30 Jun 2018
In reply to Charloam:

> You mentioned Pete Whittaker recommends a microtraxion with this device, where did you read that? I'm very curious as to his opinion of the revo for lead soloing!

In this Q&A on Facebook, he recommends using something under the solo device to hold the weight of the spare rope.

https://www.facebook.com/notes/five-ten/rope-solo-q-a-with-pete-whittaker/10154815758039130/

That's not specifically related to the Revo. He does comment on its use as a solo device further down but says he hasn't tried it himself.

 

Charloam - on 30 Jun 2018
In reply to Luke90:

Ah yes thanks that was interesting. It seems that since then he did use it rope soloing Mt Watkins so has some experience with it. Also on his Instagram he's mentioned he'll be writing up an article for ukclimbing, and even mentioned "the revo seems as good to me as the silent partner" to a commenter, though in the same comment he also says he wouldn't recommend any solo devices.. it's all dangerous territory

I'm half an half considering buying one for rope solo, but I just have no idea if it's worth it for short UK lead pitches where the first few meters you wouldn't be sure the device would even lock at your falling speed.

Rob Parsons on 30 Jun 2018
In reply to Charloam:

> ... in the same comment he also says he wouldn't recommend any solo devices.. it's all dangerous territory

That's a given. And note that the Silent Partner - designed, of course, purely for roped soloing - has failed to arrest in practice. (There was a particular problem at low temperatures.)

> I'm half an half considering buying one for rope solo, but I just have no idea if it's worth it for short UK lead pitches where the first few meters you wouldn't be sure the device would even lock at your falling speed.

I'm very interested to hear of any experiences with the device in the context of roped soloing. I plan to get one myself at some stage for the same usage.

 

 

Post edited at 21:47
Twmpa on 02 Jul 2018
In reply to Charloam:

> Question: How tight were you top rope belaying? If you were belaying without slack that would explain not being able to lock off before slamming your hand to the revo, you have no time to react! Of course I may be wrong with this assumption.

> @MischaHY

> You mentioned Pete Whittaker recommends a microtraxion with this device, where did you read that? I'm very curious as to his opinion of the revo for lead soloing!

I was belaying exactly as I usually would which generally is not too tight.  I have had the thought, that on a top rope, if my partner falls during a take in (whilst my control hand is in the raised position) my usual reaction to lock the rope down (as on a Bug) has the effect of slowing the rope sufficiently to prevent the inertia lock activating.  However, due to the lack of friction until almost fully locked down, I cannot slow it enough to prevent my hand being pulled into the device before I reach the lock down.  The same scenario on my Bug is easily and painlessly dealt with as it is much more forgiving in such a scenario.

Since I would generally teach beginners/novices to keep the rope fairly tight on a belay to minimise the effect of a fall, are we suggesting that the Revo is not suitable for this?

Also, I have now tried the Revo in a lead climbing scenario and, for most aspects of that, I have to admit that it wasn't too bad.  It was certainly one the easiest assisted devices I have come across for paying out slack.   Catching a fall was easier too but I suspect that this is because, with lead belaying, I do not need to raise my control hand above the device which enables me to react before the device can eat my thumb.  Lowering still seemed somewhat difficult - certainly not as easy as with my Bug or a Smart.  You might be interested to know that my climbing partner (owner of the device) has refused to use it to belay me on lead and I very much respect his decision.

Finally, a quote from an article I read recently (http://blog.weighmyrack.com/wild-country-revo-a-revolutionary-belay-device/):

'The Revo was envisioned by a mountain guide / designer based in northern Italy who experienced a bad fall situation with a friction-style assisted braking device. He wanted the intuitive handling of tube-style devices where it’s just you and the rope — no interaction with the belay device once it’s loaded, but wanted to sort out all the common modes of failure.'

It is well known that the vast majority of accidents on assisted devices are a result of user error as such devices can invite a certain level of complacency (I have certainly seen some dubious practices on Gri Gris).  Therefore, I cannot help wondering why the mountain guide felt they had to create a completely new device rather than look to better training of their belayer.   It leads me to think that the Revo might actually have been created to mask inadequate belay training.    After all, if a car driver made a bad mistake you would not normally seek to completely reinvent the car.

1
paul__in_sheffield - on 02 Jul 2018
In reply to jbrom:

It’s not realistic to think that there could be a universal belay (or any other) device.  Most design follows an exponential relationship between utility and cost. In other words, you can make initial big gains relatively cheaply (stitcht plate), and even get a big improvement pretty cheaply (add a spring to stop it locking too easily). Still got mine somewhere from about 1981.

The ‘cost’ isn’t just cash cost, it’s also factors like weight and complexity (complexity adds loads of potential failure modes through materials, wear, dirt ingress, maintenance etc.).

So, you start with a single slot plate which is a good start. Add another slot for dual ropes, and add a spring. Perfect for the bulk of climbing and low cost in every way. Because you’re still in the relatively straight bit of the relationship, you can do a bit of CAD design to give more control (variable geometry and grooves) and you end up with something like an ATC.

This is where you run into ‘no free lunch’, so that if you want to add further facility, you pay in cost and/or reduced facility in other aspects. So, you design assisted devices for a variety of reasons, but the further you go with the ‘assist’, the more you pay. Going from Jul to GriGri, you pay with physical weight, complexity and monetary cost. No free lunch kicks in with (say) the GriGri, which locks off brilliantly (preferably with your brake hand on the rope), and also allows working sports routes. However, you pay by having to learn a special hand technique for grip clips (I’ve never used this technique, and get around the problem by using fairly skinny, slippy ropes which I change before they get too furry).

So, where are we? Well, passive devices cover the bulk of use cases, and active devices cover the rest, as long as you are willing to pay some kind of rope management cost. 

So what were WC up to with the Revo? Well, it looks like they were trying to address a number of use cases in one device. First, to make a bidirectional device for a safety case (the brilliant passive plate already inherently does this;-) ) which WC seem to have achieved. Second, easy payout to avoid ‘short roping’ leaders, again, it seems to have been achieved. Third, a device which automatically locks at 4m/s if the belayer is distracted/incapacitated. Again it does this (at least until the mechanism wears).

So it does everything it sets out to do, but the bulk of negative posts really focus on its usability which will be limited because of what it’s trying to achieve. For me, it’s personal preference. Would I lose automatic lock off on a weighted rope irrespective of velocity for easier feed out? No, it’s too useful for sport climbing. My GriGri takes care of an ‘incapacitated’ belayer, and I’ve never set off with a misthreaded device because it’s part of a climbers job to double check and buddy check.

My take on this device goes down a slightly different route. Look at auto belay devices at climbing walls. The only moving part is a rotor supported by two fat bearings, no contact parts, just relying on magnetic induction and eddy current losses. Doesn’t really matter too much about the mass of the climber, it reaches equilibrium at a set velocity. Have a maintenance contract check the bearings and for (unlikely) stress fractures and you’re good to go.

The prob with the Revo from my POV is the parts count and materials/engineering cost to achieve the design objectives. I am a complete gear freak, but won’t be buying one for two reasons. First, I don’t think it’s aimed at me. I think it’s aimed at a niche market of training centres and rope solo climbers. And Americans ;-) Second, I think it’s over-engineered for the application and too many potential failure and performance modes are introduced which outweigh any use case advantages. 

Sorry for rambling on, but I thought the design context needed a bit of a framework. Happy to be told that this is b******t.

Paul

philhilo - on 02 Jul 2018
In reply to Twmpa:not sure on your logic re train people better not make a safer device. Seatbelts and crumple zones in cars all make cars safer - or we could make everyone a perfect driver? It's part of a safety system used by humans and humans will always fail to some degree. Around the waist belays are adequate if people don't fall off on lead!

 

philhilo - on 02 Jul 2018
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

Pretty well put Paul. Lots of folks being negative about stuff it isn't really aimed at - but that is probably the fault of the advertising, but who is going to say don't use our device! For me looking at it as a rope solo device I am certain it won't be as durable as a Silent Partner - but I can buy one ( yes SP come up on eBay but expect to pay £450-500). In the scheme of big walling kit £100 is nothing. I will still use back up knots as I think it will at some point break - just got to hope there isn't a ledge nearby. However SPs haven't broken yet but they are simpler. 

Folks probably griped about the introduction of new fangled belay devices when trad belays were the norm!

Charloam - on 05 Jul 2018

I can confirm that rope soloing with this device is feasible. I attached myself to this device, climbed up 4 metres of a big oak tree, threw a cord around a massive branch with a screwgate and put a figure 8 on a bight into the branch "anchor".

Test 1. I dropped off the branch and the device caught me after about a metre. This is something like a factor 1.5 fall I suppose.

Test 2. I hung so I was tightish to the anchor and dropped straight down, again the fall distance was similar, the device caught after about a metre of rope slippage and gave a pretty harsh catch. The rope jammed itself into the crevice of the wheel fairly hard. Poor rope

Generally confidence inspiring!

[Note: I had a backup knot so I couldn't quite deck out in these tests]

Post edited at 23:32
MischaHY - on 06 Jul 2018
In reply to jbrom:

Here's a post from an experienced rope soloist - he seems to think the Revo is a good bet for multi pitching and especially for soloing steeper routes. 

https://www.instagram.com/p/BkVBe5xDFyq/ 

I'm still yet to use it in this capacity but have got the micro-traxion at the ready now so looking forward to having a play. The nice idea for a few backup knots is to clove hitch snapgates or ultralight screwgates onto the live rope for that 'just in case' measure that can be easily removed. 

 

paul__in_sheffield - on 06 Jul 2018
In reply to MischaHY:

> Here's a post from an experienced rope soloist - he seems to think the Revo is a good bet for multi pitching and especially for soloing steeper routes. 

> I'm still yet to use it in this capacity but have got the micro-traxion at the ready now so looking forward to having a play. The nice idea for a few backup knots is to clove hitch snapgates or ultralight screwgates onto the live rope for that 'just in case' measure that can be easily removed. 

He says that in many ways it behaves like a bad belayer (his words), is that what a ‘good bet’  looks like in the rope soloing community?

Charloam - on 07 Jul 2018
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

Maybe you're being intentionally naive/misleading.

He means a bad belayer in the sense that it does not catch immediately and when it catches it gives a hard catch. But it will catch you, assuming you hit 4m/s (approx 1 metre vertical fall).

Rope soloing is never going to be totally safe. The Revo seems like a good candidate solo device with less weird edge cases than some other devices (e.g head first falls with grigris!). You can always use backup knots if you don't trust the device. It's all a compromise between how safe you want to be and how fast and free you want to solo. The Revo seems similar to the Silent Partner at the safer end of the scale.

Post edited at 15:46
1
paul__in_sheffield - on 07 Jul 2018
In reply to Charloam:

> Maybe you're being intentionally naive/misleading.

Not at all, that was a direct quote from the blog, and I was interested how that squares with the requirements of a rope soloist. I’ve a couple of old mates who’ve rope soloed Troll Wall etc and so I’ve always been interested in how kit is adapted across uses, especially when it’s an application it’s not designed for.

Rob Parsons on 07 Jul 2018
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

> He says that in many ways it behaves like a bad belayer (his words), is that what a ‘good bet’  looks like in the rope soloing community?

You must have done enough to know the score: if an automatic device consistently works in the context as a 'satisfactory' belayer, then it's a very useful addition to the armoury.

'Satisfactory', 'good', 'bad' etc.: all those depend on the details of the route.

Post edited at 22:16
MischaHY - on 13 Jul 2018
In reply to paul__in_sheffield:

I'd say that anything that stops you hitting the deck is a good bet TBH. 

philhilo - on 28 Jul 2018
In reply to Charloam:

So had a play indoors with my Revo. 

Belaying - it's been said before, its locked with some effort or free flowing with little resistance whatever angle. Not much imbetween. Would be glad of the assisted nature. Didn't test lead falls as tbh I didn't buy it for belaying.

Lead rope soloing. Feeds well, better than a gri gri, but not enough distance to see if it jams/reverse feeds under unequal loads. 

A firm catch on multiple occasions, stopping in 2 - 3m but I suspect 30% of that was slack in the system. A bit fiddly to release. 

Will be taking it multi pitching when I get a chance, however with it's belaying characteristics I wouldn't want to abseil on it. I think it would be very hard to control, I would stick to a gri gri (more useful when rope soloing).

Timmd on 31 Jul 2018
In reply to DenzelLN:

> Cant say the aesthetics do much for me, looks a bit naff.

Why would aesthetics matter for a belay device?

I guess they do on a subconscious level...

Post edited at 22:03
DenzelLN - on 31 Jul 2018
In reply to Timmd:

Why would aesthetics matter for anything much at all?

Timmd on 31 Jul 2018
In reply to DenzelLN:

For aesthetic reasons. ;-) 


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