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lead rope solo review of wild country revo


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dennis.s · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2012 · Points: 0

Got it a few days ago and got around to getting outside to start using it. So obviously this is an "off-label" use of this device, not marketed for it and likely not tested for it, probably gonna die if ya engage in this dark art so don't do it. Stay home. 

But overall I like it a lot and glad I got it but it's not all roses to me so far.

Per the other thread some people were curious if it can be locked when weighted and I definitely can not per the video. I'm leaning back on the rope while trying to lock it and when I do lock it my weight is not on the rope.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssYRv9DN9o4

This video is of me leading with the device and clipping some bolts. Using a sterling 9.2mm. The rope moves through it very smoothly, absolutely a joy to use in that regard. Can pull slack in and out very easily even with the weight of the rope on both sides of it. It never locked up while leading and no funny business. Overall super fun and awesome. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35biKDkaEKI

Now for something I don't like. When I got to the anchor I tried to lock the device in order to take on the rope but was unable to do that due to the weight of the rope. This is something I could definitely do with a gri gri or mega jul. It unlocks so damned easily. I think keeping the rope in a pack might be necessary so as not to weight the device when falling and having it unlock when I don't want it to. Kind of annoying cause I do like just having the rope hang at times.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EwHEjOIuBU

The gopro turned off shortly after but I did try taking some short falls (maybe just like 3ft ish) off the anchor. I would just kinda jump off and see if it would lock up and it wouldn't. I would hit my knot. The wall was off vertical and I stubbed my toe just doing that so didn't feel like taking a bigger fall. Also kinda cold out and my face was getting numb... I somewhat expected it to lock up even in that distance cause if I yank on it very quickly then it'll lock up within about a foot but I think with a jump off the anchor I'm not getting that kind of speed within 3ft. 

I could see falls on low angle terrain taking a while for the device to catch since it locks when going a certain speed. So theoretically it could be a looong tumble... I get the impression it should work just fine if the rope is in the pack and a fall is on close to vertical terrain. Will try that some other time. Not enough time between getting off work and it getting dark so early :(

I think the silent partner is probably safer since it's harder to unlock, but I enjoy using the revo a lot more. Not entirely sure how safe the revo is for this due to how easily it unlocks and I wouldn't be surprised if there are some corner cases where it unlocks repeatedly during a fall or won't lock up due to some weight on it. I'll be using it as a "if i fall hopefully I won't die" device for the time being until I get more experience with it and see others experiences with it. I'm sure some best practices will evolve around it. 

I also tried rapping with it and really don't like it for that. I felt like I needed a vice grip to control the speed. I'll stick to a mega jul when solo. I'll also continue using an atc when with a partner since that's usually climbing in the alpine at rmnp or doing some multi pitch at lumpy. Estes park sure is nice.

I'll likely try rope soloing all mixed up within the next few days if the wind forecast stays low to see how the revo does in the cold. 

Kevin Mokracek · · Burbank · Joined Apr 2012 · Points: 250

I thought I read somewhere earlier that the Revo prior to release to the public locked up at 2.6 meters per second not the 4mps that the current Revo locks up at.   I think for aid soloing I would like the 2.6mps.  Because it feeds so easily having back up knots are essential to keep it from back feeding, not to mention just good standard practice for safety.   Thanks for posting up some videos.

Inane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0

Let me start by saying I have never lead soloed so I am not well versed with the systems that people use but I do understand the grigri method. I have been using me revo a lot at the gym and messing with it at home trying to work out some some of its ummm problems. I do not think you will get it to lock up with the slack side of the rope hanging free unless you take a BIG fall on an over hang. I have noticed that if you have the rope hanging over the front teeth with the slack just going to the ground at your feet that you will need to yank much harder and faster to make it lock when testing the lock. IF you hold the slack side with a small loop in your hand or run the slack side to the left or right (not over the teeth) it will take much less to make the revo lock. 

James Donigan · · Brooklyn · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 15

full disclosure I didn't rope solo with the revo yet but something that i noticed lead belaying that i think would be still be relevant and insightful... 

when the rope gets cross loaded in the device (so rope not going tuber to tuber) which  can be pretty common when catching a fall/ even the weight of taking a climber, the clasp that initially closes the device comes undone and the device swivels open a bit. granted there is a locking carabiner holding the 2 halves of the unit together and prevents the device from opening. If the carabiner were not there, the device would swivel open entirely. when climbing is resumed the device can be clicked closed again. not sure if this will happen when the forces are not side to side on the device. but the play and the opening/closing of the device kind of concerned me and caught me off guard. Not entirely psyched on it. will try and post pictures later.

Anyone else notice this?

dennis.s · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2012 · Points: 0
Kevin Mokracek wrote:

I thought I read somewhere earlier that the Revo prior to release to the public locked up at 2.6 meters per second not the 4mps that the current Revo locks up at.   I think for aid soloing I would like the 2.6mps.  Because it feeds so easily having back up knots are essential to keep it from back feeding, not to mention just good standard practice for safety.   Thanks for posting up some videos.

Thinking about it I think if it locked up at a lower velocity it would be nice or (just dreaming here) if that was adjustable. I can see how maybe if just belaying a leader on a single pitch climb the current 4mps is fine, but some applications like you said aid soloing or at times free climbing and rope soloing a lower rate would be nice. 

I was basically on a bolted 4th class scramble (and thus climbing with trail runners) and so well off vertical and actually had zero problems with back feeding but climbing a dead vertical splitter where there is little friction in the system... back feeding could be a real pain. 

cyclestupor · · Woodland Park, Colorado · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 91

I don't have a Revo (yet), so think of this more as a question or a test case than a statement by me.

I remember seeing a video put out by Wild Country which showed that the Revo should lock up (at a certain speed) even with weight on the brake strand preventing the tuber from clicking up into the locked position.  This was sort of a secondary/backup lock mechanism inside the revo.  Once the secondary lock is engaged, and the user stops tugging on the brake strand the primary lock is supposed to engage (causing the tuber to pop up).

If that is true, then it seems like it should still be safe even if the lead rope is hanging free and not being kept in a backpack.  

Have either of you had a chance to obvserve this feature?

climber pat · · Las Cruces, NM · Joined Feb 2006 · Points: 215
JDonigan . wrote:

full disclosure I didn't rope solo with the revo yet but something that i noticed lead belaying that i think would be still be relevant and insightful... 

when the rope gets cross loaded in the device (so rope not going tuber to tuber) which  can be pretty common when catching a fall/ even the weight of taking a climber, the clasp that initially closes the device comes undone and the device swivels open a bit. granted there is a locking carabiner holding the 2 halves of the unit together and prevents the device from opening. If the carabiner were not there, the device would swivel open entirely. when climbing is resumed the device can be clicked closed again. not sure if this will happen when the forces are not side to side on the device. but the play and the opening/closing of the device kind of concerned me and caught me off guard. Not entirely psyched on it. will try and post pictures later.

Anyone else notice this?

This behaviour is actually mentioned in one of Wild Country's videos.  I imagine it is still very nerve racking for it to actually happen. 

cyclestupor · · Woodland Park, Colorado · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 91

I found the video...

https://vimeo.com/168311250

The secondary lock is shown at 1:25

dennis.s · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2012 · Points: 0
Inane wrote:

 IF you hold the slack side with a small loop in your hand or run the slack side to the left or right (not over the teeth) it will take much less to make the revo lock. 

Yeah I'm definitely seeing the same thing.. but what's a bit annoying is that if the slack side has some weight to it and you let go of the loop then it will unlock the revo which of course then defeats the purpose of locking it

I'm thinking the device should not be manually locked (in a rope solo setting). It unlocks too easily. I think I'll just rely on the locking mechanism to catch a fall and instead go direct into a piece or anchor if I want to stop climbing. With a gri gri or similar I'd just lock up the device and so I had that expectation with the revo. 

dennis.s · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2012 · Points: 0
cyclestupor wrote:

I remember seeing a video put out by Wild Country which showed that the Revo should lock up (at a certain speed) even with weight on the brake strand preventing the tuber from clicking up into the locked position.  This was sort of a secondary/backup lock mechanism inside the revo.  Once the secondary lock is engaged, and the user stops tugging on the brake strand the primary lock is supposed to engage (causing the tuber to pop up).

If that is true, then it seems like it should still be safe even if the lead rope is hanging free and not being kept in a backpack.  

Have either of you had a chance to obvserve this feature?

So I'll preface this with I've only used it in a real world setting for like an hour so definitely no expert... but I think it will lock up as you said but the problem as I see it is that it is then can  be unlocked real easily and the weight of the rope can do it. So I can imagine some weird scenario in which it locks up and ya come to a stop but then it gets unlocked ad nauseam. It's I daresay an unfortunate consequence of having it unlock so easily.

It's actually kind of obvious even just belaying a leader on a single pitch climb in that if they take a fall and it locks up then it takes very little force to then move the rope down to unlock it. Should be in some of there videos. 

dennis.s · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2012 · Points: 0
JDonigan . wrote:

full disclosure I didn't rope solo with the revo yet but something that i noticed lead belaying that i think would be still be relevant and insightful... 

when the rope gets cross loaded in the device (so rope not going tuber to tuber) which  can be pretty common when catching a fall/ even the weight of taking a climber, the clasp that initially closes the device comes undone and the device swivels open a bit. granted there is a locking carabiner holding the 2 halves of the unit together and prevents the device from opening. If the carabiner were not there, the device would swivel open entirely. when climbing is resumed the device can be clicked closed again. not sure if this will happen when the forces are not side to side on the device. but the play and the opening/closing of the device kind of concerned me and caught me off guard. Not entirely psyched on it. will try and post pictures later.

Anyone else notice this?

interesting, don't think that was happening to me but I think I pretty much had the rope going through the tuber the entire time. Although the rope really did seem to be guided to be in the tuber but I don't think that's something I would want happening either. 

cyclestupor · · Woodland Park, Colorado · Joined Mar 2015 · Points: 91

Ok, I think I understand...  So maybe something like the rope being whipped around immediately after a fall could cause it to lock/unlock repeatedly (and cause the rope to whip around more).

Inane · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 0
dennis.s wrote:

Yeah I'm definitely seeing the same thing.. but what's a bit annoying is that if the slack side has some weight to it and you let go of the loop then it will unlock the revo which of course then defeats the purpose of locking it

I'm thinking the device should not be manually locked (in a rope solo setting). It unlocks too easily. I think I'll just rely on the locking mechanism to catch a fall and instead go direct into a piece or anchor if I want to stop climbing. With a gri gri or similar I'd just lock up the device and so I had that expectation with the revo. 



Just a thought but something that I have noticed when using it to belay top rope. If you are pulling on the brake strand while there is weight on the climber side and they move up it will lock. I still havent worked out how to make this happen 100% of the time but I think it would work for taking a short rest when sloloing. example: squat weight the climber side then pull the brake side tight, as you keep the brake side sight stand up and it should engage the lock, or thats how it seems to happen when on TR 


dennis.s · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2012 · Points: 0
cyclestupor wrote:

Ok, I think I understand...  So maybe something like the rope being whipped around immediately after a fall could cause it to lock/unlock repeatedly (and cause the rope to whip around more).

yeah, especially if you're 60 ft off the deck and the weight of the slack end of the rope is significant. If on the other hand the slack end of the rope doesn't have much weight to it like if it's in a back pack then I think it won't really be an issue. 

Chase Bowman · · Durango · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 670

Great Videos man, am looking to get one of these for lead soloing. Thanks for the review

dennis.s · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2012 · Points: 0
Inane wrote:

Just a thought but something that I have noticed when using it to belay top rope. If you are pulling on the brake strand while there is weight on the climber side and they move up it will lock. I still havent worked out how to make this happen 100% of the time but I think it would work for taking a short rest when sloloing. example: squat weight the climber side then pull the brake side tight, as you keep the brake side sight stand up and it should engage the lock, or thats how it seems to happen when on TR 

oh interesting, I don't think I really did that but I'll def try it

dennis.s · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2012 · Points: 0
Chase Bowman wrote:

Great Videos man, am looking to get one of these for lead soloing. Thanks for the review

np, figured someone would find them useful cause I know I was really curious to see what the deal is with it

Ģnöfudør Ðrænk · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2017 · Points: 2

Dennis.s

Thank you very much for posting the review.  

Jordan Day · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2010 · Points: 2

I just tested mine in the backyard today.  The Revo was at my waist just as it would be for lead soloing.  I tied a backup knot at 3.5 feet and jumped out of the tree to see how far it would take to lock-up in free-fall(don't worry I had a very dynamic setup).  The Revo was consistently locking at 2.5 to 3.0 feet every time.  Of course on a slabby fall you would go further.  It would be really nice if it locked a little sooner for solo leading.

dennis.s · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2012 · Points: 0
Jordan Day wrote:

I just tested mine in the backyard today.  The Revo was at my waist just as it would be for lead soloing.  I tied a backup knot at 3.5 feet and jumped out of the tree to see how far it would take to lock-up in free-fall(don't worry I had a very dynamic setup).  The Revo was consistently locking at 2.5 to 3.0 feet every time.  Of course on a slabby fall you would go further.  It would be really nice if it locked a little sooner for solo leading.

very nice and I agree would be nice if it locked up a little sooner but I guess it seems to be on par with how much distance it would take the silent partner to lock up, granted been 2 years since I had it stolen so memory might be a bit rusty

Ryan McDermott · · Pittsburgh, PA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 95

Just signaling my interest in this thread

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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