Not for lowering inexperienced seconds
Review by: thinxabit, 2007-09-14
I love my Reverso. I'll spend the money to buy another when the time comes. And I agree with most of the other reviewers: it's incredibly multifunctional and makes belaying the second* a pure joy.
*second - the climber who follows the leader, climbing the same route and cleaning the gear the leader placed in the rock.
However, a word of caution: do not use with inexperienced seconds that may need to be lowered. It is very difficult to overcome the auto-locking feature if you need to lower seconds.
One day I decided to take two of my non-climbing coworkers to my favorite beginners' pitch at the local crag. I scampered up, set the anchor, and then put them BOTH on auto locking belay - both ropes going into the same Reverso. They started climbing simultaneously (I know better now) and belaying had never been easier.
About 20 feet up they both decided they could go no further and wanted to go back down. In order to lower someone while in autolocking position, you need to pull on the bent part of the rope as it feeds through the Reverso. The (wordless) instruction book actually shows the belaying leader attaching a sling to a carabiner wrapped around this part of the rope and stepping down on it, requiring all the weight of the leader to pry the rope free enough to slip through the belay device. For me it was doubly difficult because I had the weight of TWO seconds binding the rope in locked position.
Here’s what the whole debacle sounded like from the perspective of the two poor souls I brought with me:
“I think we’re finished climbing. Can you lower us?”
“Yeah sure…wait. Are you SURE you can’t keep going?”
“Yep. Lower us.”
“Ok…(oh s***, how am I going to do this?!)”
[5-10 minutes of puzzled silence while the two climbers dangle like worms on a hook. Then all of the sudden both climbers drop simultaneously 10 feet at a terrifying speed and then jerk to a halt again, still 10 feet above the ground.]
“WOAH!! Do you think you could lower us more gently next time?”
[Another 5 feet of rope lets out immediately, and the two climbers are again jerked to a halt.]
“(Screw this, from now on, I’m biking on Saturdays) CAN YOU AT LEAST GIVE US A WARNING BEFORE YOU DO THAT AGAIN??!!”
[After a particularly long pause, the last 5 feet of rope lets out and drops the stunned seconds tumble to the ground]