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Ruapehu Belay Descender

Version A Version B
Version A Version B

Overview


Version A
(#356, 2408)

Front Rear
Front Rear

Technical Details

I acquired this descender from Pathfinder Sports in 1980. I acquired another in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

The device consists of a single piece of forged aluminum. It is 125 mm. tall, 72 mm. wide, 16 mm. thick, and weighs 157 g.

The words "RUAPEHU NEW ZEALAND" are stamped on on side of the crosspiece between the two holes.

Comments

The Ruapehu can be used in several ways. The principal rappel configuration is similar to that of the Longhorn. Because of its small size, the Ruapehu bends the rope in a much tighter radius than the Longhorn, so it provides significantly more friction than the Longhorn. This is particularly evident with stiff lay caving ropes such as PMI. The effect is less noticeable with flexible kernmantle climbing ropes, and I prefer to limit the Ruapehu for use with the latter.

The Ruapehu also provides a slot for use as a Sticht plate. This is primarily used for belaying, but could also be used for rappelling. I prefer to avoid Sticht-type rappels because of the severe bend placed on the caving rope.

The Ruapehu is very well made and is nicely finished. Its small size and light weigh are significant advantages over the other devices discussed in this article. The device is probably more appropriate for climbers than for cavers; however, I feel that an eight is more appropriate in either case.


Version B
(#1349)

Front Rear
Front Rear

Technical Details

I acquired my Ruapehu, Version B from Jim Brady in 2012.

It is 127 mm. tall, 72 mm. wide, 15 mm. thick, and weighs 146 g. This version is hard anodized.

The words "RUAPEHU NEW ZEALAND" are stamped on on side of the crosspiece between the two holes.

Comments

Hard anodized coatings wear well, but once they break through, the underlying aluminum wears at its normal rate.