My Three Favorites

You dont' really think that I can choose three favorites now, do you?

After all, I have quite a few devices in my collecton, designed for a variety of applications, and sometims a drect comparison would be meaningless (e.g., do you prefer this ascender over that descender?)

Any list of three favorites must depend on the perspective taken when forming the list. I'm going to recognize thatt fact and create multiple lists here. I'll look at the colletion from a number of perspectives, and choose my three favorites from each of those. Sometimes I'll take a serious perspective, and sometimes a more whimsical one. Hopefully, at least some of my choice will be interesting.


The Holy Trinity

Peck Hook Pierre Allain Fisher Eight
Peck Hook Pierre Allain Fisher Eight

St├ęphane Pennequin and I jokingly call these "The Holy Trinity" because they are the three descenders shown in the 1968 book Mountaineering, from Hill Walking to Alpine Climbing by Alan Blackshaw. I read this book shortly after developing an interest in climbing, and always wanted to acquire one of each. Thiat proved to be extremely difficult, and I did not succeed until 2012.


Collection Specials

Peck Hook Tokyo Top Ascender Original Motorized Ascending Device
Peck Hook Tokyo Top
Ascender
Original MAD
Motorized Ascending Device

These are three of my "miracles of acquisition."


Normal Caving, Short Drops

Mount Sira Rack Modified Small CMI UltrAscenders Cable Ladder
Howell-N-Mann
Mount Sira
Modified Small
CMI UltrAscenders
Cable Ladder

Most of my caving occurs in West Virginia, where most of the drops that I encounter are fairly short. In this situation, I prefer a lightweight equipment.


Normal Caving, Longer Drops

Howell-N-Mann Custom Standard Rack Jumar 79 with wear pins PMI Double Roller Chest Box
Howell-N-Mann
Custom Standard
Jumar 79
with wear pins
PMI
Double Roller
Chest Box

Deeper pits can justify carrying and using a heavier, more efficient rig. I prefer the Cuddington three-phase system to the Frog. The Cuddington Mitchell is faster and more efficient on free-hanging rope, the third phase handles long slopes quite well, and the overall system is barely slower than the Frog for passing the occassional rebelay.


Deepest Pits

Storrick MegaRack Jumar 79 with wear pins PMI Double Roller Chest Box
Storrick
MegaRack
Jumar 79
with wear pins
PMI
Double Roller
Chest Box

Very little changes for the deepest pits.


Wall Climbing

Trango Jaws Modified Large CMI UltrAscenders Rock Exotica Wall Hauler
Trango Jaws Modified Large
CMI UltrAscenders
Rock Exotica
Wall Hauler

Big wall climbing is not my area of expertise, athough I've dabbled in it. That said, I have a couple preferences, but can easily see why others would choose differently.


Rappelling, Back in the Day

Rappelling Log Rappelevator Cuddington Spool
U. of Virginia
Rappelling Log
Rappelevator Cuddington Spool

Let us not forget our American history:


Cool & Clever

Cardiac Arrestor Rappel-e-stein Coat Hanger
Cardiac Arrestor Rappel-e-stein Coat Hanger

Now let's leave the realm of practicality and look at some descenders that are favorites of mine for completly impractical reasons.


Absurd Eights

Radeberger Haken Rocksport Russ Anderson Steel 8 with Ears
Radeberger
Haken
Rocksport Russ Anderson
Steel 8 with Ears

The figure eight is supposed to be a small lightweight descender. These do not quite achieve that goal.


Ridiculous Racks

Mio Mechanical Mio-R R.E.D.E. Extended Brake Bars
Mio Mechanical
Mio-R
R.E.D.E. Extended
Brake Bars

"The Rappel Rack is the best rappel device in the world." John Cole invented the ideal descender, but people can't resist the urge to "improve" upon the original. These three are interesting failures. Don't get me started on hyperbars.


Stupid Lawyer Tricks

Item1_XXXXX Rose Dynescape Petzl Exo
Rollgliss Rose Dynescape Petzl Exo

When lawyers get involved, manufacturers write the most stupid things:


Fun Designs

Famau Interalp Camp Job Stubai Climbing Irons
Famau Interalp Camp Job Stubai Karabiner K
Climbing Irons

These three just look cool.