Very early people realized that adding a brake bar to a carabiner provided a much better rappel than the old body rappel, and that by linking several such carabiners together with chain links, descending rings or carabiners one could vary the friction in increments. There is no point is showing all of the combinations here, but the basic ideas are shown in the .
Don't overlook some closely-related ideas that I placed in the Miscellaneous Descender Category: the Charlet-Moser, the PFH Pitt Stop, the Sewickley Descender and the Wagner Brake Bar.
I don't go out of my way to collect carabiners or brake bars, but naturally, I've ended up with a number of variations over the years. Here are some of the brake bars taken from my spare and miscellaneous pile:
|Hollow Steel, PMI||Solid aluminum, REI||Old pin-style, plated steel|
|Stamped stainless steel, SMC||One of my homemade bars||Old pin-style, steel|
|Turned stainless steel (thermally a bad idea!), by B&C Wunderwear||Solid aluminum, Ed Seaman design (The Nylon Highway #9), by Speleoshoppe.||CMI, aluminum with ball detent|
|Hollow thin-walled aluminum (a bad idea for wear)||Solid aluminum with positive catch||Holubar, aluminum|
I have a lot of brake bars in my collection, and perhaps someday I'll describe them. For now, I'd just like to share some interesting ideas that Darrell Tomer developed. Some of these are rather unique, to say the least. I'll provide Darrell's comments on each of these in the Gallery.
|ID||Descender||Detailed Description||Weight (including carabiner)|
|475||Tomer #1||Small finned brake bar, steel retainer, noncommercial.||169|
|476||Tomer #2||Large finned brake bar, retaining bolt, noncommercial.||166|
|477||Tomer #3||Small finned brake bar, steel retainer, carabiner gate locked by sleeves, noncommercial.||286|
|478||Tomer #4||Small finned brake bar for pear carabiner, steel retainer, carabiner gate locked by sleeves, noncommercial.||272|
|479||Tomer #5||Gate spanning brake bar, asymmetrical friction adjustment, broken gate carabiner, noncommercial.||209|
|There is no Tomer #6 (there never was)|
|480||Tomer #7||Gate spanning V-notch carabiner, steel retainer, noncommercial.||168|
|481||Tomer #8||Adjustable gate spanning aluminum brake bar with threaded steel V-bolt, noncommercial.||396|
|482||Tomer #9||Adjustable gate spanning steel brake bar with threaded V-notch adjustment, noncommercial.||290|
Open any old climbing book and they'll probably show using
pitons as brake bars. For completeness, I'll show a Lost Arrow
and a standard angle used as brake bars. I can do a lot better
than using a piton, especially if I have some more carabiners
available, so I won't go into this idea any further (let alone
touch the idea of using a hammer handle or ice screw as a brake