Beal Escaper.. thoughts?


Original Post
dperry427 · · La Habra, California · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 5

Saw this in the UKC top ten new products article and thought it was pretty fascinating. I can definitely think of a couple of times I wish I had something like this on my rack. 

I'd like to hear what y'all think of this thing. It's pretty innovative, and seems safe, but I can already hear, "YER GONNA DIE"


Bowens · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2011 · Points: 30
dperry427 wrote:

Saw this in the UKC top ten new products article and thought it was pretty fascinating. I can definitely think of a couple of times I wish I had something like this on my rack. 

I'd like to hear what y'all think of this thing. It's pretty innovative, and seems safe, but I can already hear, "YER GONNA DIE"


Interesting.  It looks like the retrieval mechanism is repeatedly loading it.  Sounds like accidental retrieval could be incredibly easy to do, which worries me.

dperry427 · · La Habra, California · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 5
Bowens wrote:

Interesting.  It looks like the retrieval mechanism is repeatedly loading it.  Sounds like accidental retrieval could be incredibly easy to do, which worries me.

I was concerned about accidental retrieval as well, but after thinking about it, I don't think I've ever been on a rappel where I unloaded the rope more than once before reaching the end of the rappel. I was also thinking that maybe a jerky/bouncy rappel would cause an accidental retrieval, but even then, I don't think the rope ever gets fully unweighted. 

aikibujin · · Castle Rock, CO · Joined Oct 2014 · Points: 200

This thing is freaking genius!

Brian Abram · · Celo, NC · Joined Oct 2007 · Points: 228

I both want one and am terrified for anyone else who might use one

Matt Lisenby · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Sep 2008 · Points: 555

It appears that the system must be able to lift the rope up to unweight the 'lock' and inchworm its way to releasing.  My concern would be making a 60-70 meter single strand rappel, then finding that the elastic portion of this gadget is too weak to lift my rope weight against friction on the rock, being jammed in a crack, looped under a flake, etc.  When this happens, I'm stranded 60-70M below my "anchored" rope.  Do I commence jugging this thing?!  What if it did get 80% towards releasing and then I started jugging it!!  Sketch situation to be in if you ask me.  I'll carry a tag line or a second rope.  Also, how well will it grip on a wet climbing rope??  Two stranded rappels involve enough rope to touble/shoot stuck ropes/etc.  Single strand rappels leave you with few or no options. 

Edit to add: watched video again: rope treatments ETC are moot point since the device "grips" on itself; your rappel line is tied in direct to the loop and has nothing to do with the friction mechanism. 

dperry427 · · La Habra, California · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 5
Brian Abram wrote:

I both want one and am terrified for anyone else who might use one

+1

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 40

The proof will be in the pudding, the question being who wants to be a test pilot?

On the "what could go wrong" end of things, one question is what happens if the installer misses some of the loops that have to be threaded, and another question is how the system performs with different rope diameters and surface treatments.  But the main issue, already mentioned by Matt, is that system friction might transmit little or nothing of the retrieval pulls from below, leaving the party stranded with a stuck rope they don't dare prussik on for fear that it may have partially released.  For this reason, it seems to be best for short rappels, but if the rappels are short you don't need it.

My guess is that canyoneering ghosters, who are already inured to hair-raising anchors, will love this thing.


Nate Doyle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

Another Outdoor demo:

And another video from Beal's Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/beal.official/videos/1754083811298297

What a poorly made video. They leave a stopper knot in around 1:36. According to comments, that's for the first down. The last down needs to remove the knot before rapping, then when reaching the ground they can release the system with 8+ pulls etc.

Nate Doyle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0
rgold wrote:

My guess is that canyoneering ghosters, who are already inured to hair-raising anchors, will love this thing.

Sounds like it's being marketed as an emergency escape(r) device, however, and this to be on their insurance company's safe side? Of course, people are going to want to use it all the time.

Xam · · Boulder, Co · Joined Dec 2011 · Points: 8
rgold wrote:

The proof will be in the pudding, the question being who wants to be a test pilot?

On the "what could go wrong" end of things, one question is what happens if the installer misses some of the loops that have to be threaded, and another question is how the system performs with different rope diameters and surface treatments.  But the main issue, already mentioned by Matt, is that system friction might transmit little or nothing of the retrieval pulls from below, leaving the party stranded with a stuck rope they don't dare prussik on for fear that it may have partially released.  For this reason, it seems to be best for short rappels, but if the rappels are short you don't need it.

My guess is that canyoneering ghosters, who are already inured to hair-raising anchors, will love this thing.


Points taken but, unless I am missing something, I don't think the part I put in bold above is an issue since the rope being grabbed is a permanent part of the Beal Escaper system, which is also the rope that runs through the anchor.  You then fix your rappel rope into a loop at the bottom of the Escaper.

Nate Doyle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0
Xam wrote:

Points taken but, unless I am missing something, I don't think the part I put in bold above is an issue since the rope being grabbed is a permanent part of the Beal Escaper system, which is also the rope that runs through the anchor.  You then fix your rappel rope into a loop at the bottom of the Escaper.

I think you're correct.

slim · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2004 · Points: 930

clever idea, but i probably won't be lining up to buy one.

that guy named seb · · Britland · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 0

There are so many unanswered question it's really had to say anything, does it work for like a full 60-70m rappel with a dynamic rope? What if it was on a half rope that's even stretchier? The stretch looks fairly easy to engage but things could definitely be more difficult. Couldn't this freeze up horribly in winter conditions? Could the elastic get just snap or get brittle in extreme cold? It looks like a good idea and could be fucking amazing, or it could be only be suitable for general use, I really think they just haven't given us as the consumer enough useful data to make a decision to buy one or not.

I think i will be buying one though as it looks like it could be good for sea cliffs.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 40
Xam wrote:

Points taken but, unless I am missing something, I don't think the part I put in bold above is an issue since the rope being grabbed is a permanent part of the Beal Escaper system, which is also the rope that runs through the anchor.  You then fix your rappel rope into a loop at the bottom of the Escaper.

Yup, good point.  Cancel that one, but in its place add the concern about unweighting the rappel during the descent, thereby initiating the release procedure.  So probably not a good option for a rappel with many intermediate ledges.

Kinobi Eman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

Deja vue. Long ago.

https://www.lagrimpe.com/abc/pierre-allain/

http://www.outdoorgearcoach.co.uk/innovation-history/pierre-allain-innovator-extraordinaire/

Best,

E

PS: Pierre Allain invented a very similar system than Keylock way before it got the market. For some reasons, he never patented it.

rgold · · Poughkeepsie, NY · Joined Feb 2008 · Points: 40

The Decrocheur Allain would release with a single unweighting.  At least the Escaper requires multiple unweightings.  Moreover, when the Decrocheur Allain sprung loose, you had a substantial piece of metal trying to fall on your head.  The Escaper is all softgoods so less likely to knock you out.  So same goal, a single-rope rappel, but a very different take on how to accomplish it.

Emmett Lyman · · Somerville, MA · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 35

This is a really cool idea, but I'd be too scared to use it.

Chris Owen · · Big Bear Lake · Joined Jan 2002 · Points: 9,663

I'm working on a teleportation machine here at JPL which will render this device obsolete. Looking for volunteers to transmit organics - slight risk of having a fly's head, etc...

Nate Doyle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

I was thinking about this again... 

Is it fair to assume the Escaper is only for routes where there is some sort of anchor station? Seems like it's too short to attach to anything else; a tree is probably going to be too big, for example. Maybe they'll come out with a longer version? You'll have to tug on it 20 or 30 times, I suppose but, it can be used in other scenarios.. 

Is there any way they could build the end of it so it could be extended and still slide through without issue?

Alex R · · Golden · Joined May 2015 · Points: 0
Nate Doyle wrote:

Is there any way they could build the end of it so it could be extended and still slide through without issue?

You could potentially use it with a tree or other wider object by using it like shown in the following diagram. The left image is the standard usage for reference.

Note that only half of the load goes through the escaper, so if you were already worried about the weight of the rope preventing the system from disengaging, this set up could be even worse.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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