For years Petzl have been the market leaders with all things to do with ropes, however in the last few years Petzls reputation has gone downhill with numerous new products being released and numerous products being recalled, not very reassuring when that equipment should save your life. And with these new products they all seem to be smaller which equals lighter but not much seems to of changed…. So smaller = lighter and less materials = more money and harder to operate in difficult conditions!
I recently decided to purchase a new caving harness and wanted to try and stock it with anything but Petzl, while searching on the internet I came across a company called ‘Climbing Technology` based in Italy. After looking at their website they seem to have split their equipment into sections (work, play, rescue) just like thou who shall not be mentioned! So looking at their products I decided to break away from the noms of society and try the unknown!!!
I purchased 3 products from CT, a chest ascender (Croll), Simple hand ascender (Basic) & a quick-step (Pantini).
The three products I brought were no cheaper than Petzl but only marginally more on average about £4 per item. As CT get bigger and more stockists appear in the UK I feel this price will come down to compete against other Rivals.
All three of the products meet exactly the safe safety standards as the Petzl models (EN567, EN12841 : 2006) with the added advantage the CT products work on a range of 8 – 13mm and Petzl work on 8 – 11mm.
I would love to tell you that the 3 items looked amazingly different but they actually all looked identical to a competitors products only it seems they realised the designs were good and only tweaked the designs slightly and improved on it.
Spending 4 days in Yorkshire caving I gave the devices a good road test and the fact that on the climbs out we often started with cold, gloved hands and that was when I really appreciated the devices were made for adult hands! All three of the devices worked nicely with the ropes and other equipment.
With all three ascenders I brought they all had a great design feature which meant that if the jammer had been pushed up against a knot or still had some slight tension on it (the weight of the rope) you could use the built in camming motion which would allow you to get the device of the rope easily.
The second advantage was they have three small cuts on the cam which are designed to allow the escape of mud to help prevent the device from becoming clogged.
The third advantage was with using the CT simple ascender for my foot loop I could put my cowstail through both eyes at the top of the product making the rope secure in the device and giving me more to hold when ascending.
In conclusion having the Petzl chest ascender that I can hold in one hand and squeeze and watch it bend doesn’t fill me with confidence! Yes I realise materials flex to absorb shock but I’m not exactly the strongest guy and it doesn’t fill me with confidence!
Yes all of the new products from Petzl are new shapes, smaller and lightweight but when have you ever thought to yourself “oh no, my chest ascender is so heavy I don’t think I can carry on”!?
The CT products I brought worked really well had great features and did exactly what they said on the tin. I would not hesitate to buy more CT products or recommend them to others.