Pierre Allain Descender

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2 Responses

  1. Frank OHara says:

    Pierre Allain Descender: Also referred as, within the caving community, as a DEATH HOOK. The device worked well when it was loaded. The problem if you unloaded your weight, such as stopping at a ledge, the entire rope would unwrap / uncoil from the unit. Always had to use a jumar / or prussik knot attached to seat sling as a backup. The dangers of this device quickly spread.. Some grotto, with vertical cavers, would not allow the device on any trips. My first device hit the climbing equipment in the DC / Northern Virginia area around the mid 1960’s.

    • Curator says:

      Yes, this device certainly saw more use in the caving world than in climbing or mountaineering applications. The design did have its drawbacks! With the stiff ropes of the day these hooks had to be managed very carefully. Mr. OHara is correct, they did tend to unwrap if unweighted.
      However, if used as intended, they offered a smooth, twist-free rappel on the old three strand ropes.

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