Bob Thrun, a fellow caver and equipment collector passed away in his home on February 7, 2017. He was 77 years old.

I met Bob in the 1970s, and talked with him many times over the years at various caving functions. We mapped caves together in West Virginia and in Costa Rica, and had several professional interests in common, but our main connection was our common interest in vertical equipment technology.

Bob's 1971 book Prusiking inspired me to start my collection, and he left his collection to me. In return, I would like to dedicate this web site to Bob's memory.

I am still collecting and maintaining this site, but…

… I accepted a long-term assignment that will likely keep me away from my collection and other site-development resources for a few years. I will still maintain the site as time and resources allow, but I'm sure that it will suffer until I return. Among the most obvious sacrifices, I will have to use improvised photographs on a temporary basis. I am already looking forward to being able to resume to a normal life where I have access to my normal files and equipment and can give this site the attention that I think it deserves.

Rest assured, everything is in a safe place, guarded by trustworthy cavers.

What's the story?

Long, long ago I developed an interest in rappelling and ascending devices. At that time, I made the decision to collect one of each device so that I could compare how well they worked. Little did I know what I was getting myself into! I've spend a fair amount of time and money collecting things that really have no real monetary value, and have decided to show some of what I have here. Click here for a quick glance at my collection.

I do not run an equipment business. I don't sell anything listed in this site, so please don't send me catalog requests or equipment orders.


My Ten Most Wanted List

I'm always looking for additions.
If you have something that I'm missing and are willing to donate or deal, please email me.


This site is an expression of my hobby and I provide it as a service to the vertical community. Each of the devices on these pages is part of my personal collection. I've used many of these in a variety of test situations as well as caving and climbing, and have formed some opinions of how well each device works for me. I hope that some of the information here is useful to others, but please remember, your needs may be different than mine. I don't run into burning buildings to jump out the windows, I don't play Tarzan of the jungle, and I no longer actively interfere with natural selection. I have no objection to anyone doing these things, but I don't claim to have those forms of experience. If you do any of these, you must acquire your own devices and form your own opinions.

Belay Devices
Miscellaneous Devices

Don't Die!

I'm not writing an instruction manual, and it's your responsibility to get proper training before using any rappelling, ascending, belaying or other climbing device. Vertical work is dangerous and nothing short of complete abstinence can make it completely safe. I'm still alive after 50 years of a vertical lifestyle, but far too many former friends are not. Don't even think about learning anything about anything from an internet web site.

Natural selection works, and it's forever.

Cueva del Altar, Mexico

Special Thanks

  • Special Thanks to Bill Liebman for helping me obtain several special going-out-of-business items from Bob & Bob.
  • Special Thanks to Carol Thrun and Ken Thrun for helping me with Bob Thrun's collection.

What's New?

Bob Thrun left his vertical equipment collection to me. This added 360 items, of which about 100 were ones that I did not have before.

The Collection at a Glance Area shows my equipment display at the 2009 International Congress of Speleology/NSS Convention held in Kerrville, Texas, USA.

The collection continues to grow. It is now past the 2100 unique item mark, not counting more than 50 non-device items that I normally display. Go to the Changes: Past and Future page to see what's new.

Just the FAQs

  1. Many people around the world send me email about this site. I love receiving these, and encourage anyone who has questions or comments to do so.
  2. Collecting all this stuff is expensive and I welcome equipment donations. In general I don't trade devices out of the collection unless I have accidentally acquired multiple duplicates - if I traded my collection away, then I wouldn't be able to share everything with all my readers. Sometimes I can work a deal where I trade new equipment obtained through a third party.
  3. Many things on this site are no longer available. If you can't easily find something from your local suppliers or through an internet search, the odds are that I can't either. If you ask, I'll try, but please make the effort yourself before you ask me.
  4. I hold and maintain a copyright for the contents of this site. If you have your own site, you may provide a link from your site to mine. If you want to quote short excerpts (online or elsewhere), that is fine with me, provided you credit this site as the source. Some people use my site information to describe things that they list on eBay. If you do, (1) please verify that everything you say is true, since I describe the one in my hands, not the one in yours (I've seen errors), and (2) please credit my site as the source of your information. If you want to use this information for any commercial purpose whatsoever, you must ask me first.
  5. I run this site at my own expense as a service to others. Sometimes I make mistakes. If you spot a factual mistake, please tell me and I will try to fix it. If it is merely a difference of opinion, then I will consider your views, and I might even put them on this site. You might change my views, but you might not. If you don't and continue to disagree, you can put your opinion on your own web site with no hard feelings from me.
  6. I started this site in August 1999 as a way to share information in a more flexible format than publishing a book could provide. It traces its history back to these three articles that I wrote a decade earlier:

Where did I get these?


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What's changing?

Changes: Past and Future

You are visitor since August 17, 1999

Last Modified on February 25, 2018
©1999-2018, Gary D. Storrick

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