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WildCountry Revo - First Impressions


Original Post
Michael Parker · · Tulsa, OK · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 4,041

Well, my 1st impressions are in on the Revo. Put it through its paces last night and was thoroughly impressed. It handles like an ATC and is very intuitive to use. No special training required, no hand positions to worry about. If you can operate an ATC, you can use this. We initially ran laps on TR and it handled that task with ease. Taking in slack, holding a climber and lowering were all spot on. This was actually the smoothest lowering device I've ever used. The GriGri tends to be a little herky jerky at times as you feather the cam. The internal wheel makes lowering smooth as silk. If you get carried away and start lowering too fast the device will lock. Unlocking couldn't be easier with a quick tug of the brake strand and you can resume lowering.

After TR, we tried it out on lead and this is hands down the smoothest device for paying out slack to lead climber I have ever used. It's virtually impossible to short rope somebody as we often do with other devices, particularly the GriGri when its cam engages. Again, the wheel is what allows such fluid movement. We also took many test falls on lead to see how the lock engaged. If you are very attentive, the lock may not engage because you arrest fall before the wheel begins to spin fast enough to lock. If you have a little slack in brake strand, the device locks up quickly and with a loud, satisfying click.  Again, disengaging lock is as easy as a quick tug on brake strand. For those interested, the manual states the centrifugal lock engages at >4m/s. That's hard to achieve when feeding rope but happens almost immediately in a fall.

The only downside I could see is the inability to engage lock when rope is already loaded. So imagine a climber calls take and wants to hangdog for a bit. You would have to hold him like you do with an ATC instead of letting device take the load like you can with a GriGri. 

Unfortunately all the amazing features of the device are overshadowed by this defect that prevented the device from locking closed. A piece of metal was broken that prevented the latch from securing the device closed. It didn't affect operation as the carabiner holds it closed when in use, but this is obviously a defect and hopefully not a sign of durability issues. It certainly is more complex than other devices which can leave you with more points of failure. I've contacted WildCountry to report the issue and will update this thread when I hear back from them.


Tylerpratt · · Litchfield, Connecticut · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 35

So, one day of climbing no serious whips and its broke already or shipped broken. 

James Donigan · · Brooklyn · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 10

Michael- I have had a similar problem with mine. although I only noticed it when taking weight or catching a fall and the forces of the 2 rope strands pry the device a little apart, it is enough to disengage the locking mechanism. not sure if mine will open as easily as yours without even touching the locking clasp. the locking carabiner keeps the device from swiveling open though. curious what WC has to say. 

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

Michael,

Thanks for the nicely detailed review.  Would it be possible to get a bit more detail on what "piece of metal was broken" ?  Maybe a photo showing the broken part?


Michael Parker · · Tulsa, OK · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 4,041
Tylerpratt wrote:

So, one day of climbing no serious whips and its broke already or shipped broken. 

Can't say if it shipped broken, but it definitely went from sticky (took some force to open it without lever) to completely loose within 1 climbing session.  I definitely used lever to open it when I was playing around with it but since I wasn't familiar with the device I cannot say for sure what state it was in when I received it.  The box was pretty mangled, but as the broken piece is internal, I doubt that has anything to do with it.  And here's a pic.  I believe that rounded piece should extend down to where the shiny metal is which would provide a solid surface for the latch to catch when locked.

amarius · · Nowhere, OK · Joined Feb 2012 · Points: 20
Rob wagner · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 0

#grigriluva

Todd F · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0
Michael A Parker wrote:

Can't say if it shipped broken, but it definitely went from sticky (took some force to open it without lever) to completely loose within 1 climbing session.  I definitely used lever to open it when I was playing around with it but since I wasn't familiar with the device I cannot say for sure what state it was in when I received it.  The box was pretty mangled, but as the broken piece is internal, I doubt that has anything to do with it.  And here's a pic.  I believe that rounded piece should extend down to where the shiny metal is which would provide a solid surface for the latch to catch when locked.

That looks (from the blurry photo) of either a manufacturing defect (internal material flaw/micro crack) or a problem in tolerance stackup. I'm a little surprised looking at where the coating stops that the locking device isn't a little more positive in design which makes me suspect that its an issue of tolerance stackup. Without having actually handled one, there shouldn't seem to be that much force on the locking mechanism but there is going to be some and I'll bet it varies based on the carabiner used...This isn't back to the drawing board stuff but it is kind of a 'how did this slip by?' and a likely ongoing exchange program.

Michael Parker · · Tulsa, OK · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 4,041
cleanroomdirtbag wrote:

That looks (from the blurry photo) of either a manufacturing defect (internal material flaw/micro crack) or a problem in tolerance stackup. I'm a little surprised looking at where the coating stops that the locking device isn't a little more positive in design which makes me suspect that its an issue of tolerance stackup. Without having actually handled one, there shouldn't seem to be that much force on the locking mechanism but there is going to be some and I'll bet it varies based on the carabiner used...This isn't back to the drawing board stuff but it is kind of a 'how did this slip by?' and a likely ongoing exchange program.

Fortunately I happen to have a USB microscope handy...  Here is an up close and personal view of the affected area.  Unfortunately, this is the best angle I can get.

Tylerpratt · · Litchfield, Connecticut · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 35

I smell another revo recall.

Doug Chism · · Arlington VA · Joined Jul 2017 · Points: 0

Thanks for your post and investigation. 100% Not buying. 

kck · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 85

Not being able to hold the climber without holding the brake is a 100% deal breaker for me.

Tylerpratt · · Litchfield, Connecticut · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 35
kck wrote:

Not being able to hold the climber without holding the brake is a 100% deal breaker for me.

yup. only reason why i use a fuckin gri LOL

Todd F · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0
Michael A Parker wrote:

Fortunately I happen to have a USB microscope handy...  Here is an up close and personal view of the affected area.  Unfortunately, this is the best angle I can get.

so according to Wild Country's web page, the whole body is forged. To be totally upfront  the rest of this is spitballing a bit...

The surface on the failed surface doesn't seem to have a lot of deformation and has a clean(ish) fracture surface. That would suggest that it failed fairly quickly and on a single loading. Looking at the shape of the failure, and guessing at load paths, I would bet there was a crack in the latch catch that failed, most likely the first time any load was applied to it. The surface looks like it was almost certainly shot peened (see the surface texture) which isn't super surprising as a stress relief. I would bet there was an undetected (or unchecked) crack during forging. Without having handled one, I'm surprised that there was enough force applied through the latching mechanism to actually do this damage unless that crack was fairly large or there was a fairly large underlying material flaw. It would seem like you would design that mechanism to take almost no force once a carabiner is placed through the ears at the bottom....and if it did apply force, spread it out over a larger area.

You didn't drop it (sincere question not accusing) with it latched did you?

Andrew Krajnik · · Plainfield, IL · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 334

You actually can get the device to lock for a take, but you can't do it with tension on the brake strand. Tensioning the brake strand is actually how you unlock the device, so keeping it tight will prevent it from locking. (Is this way, the technique is significantly different from a Grigri.) I was able to pull in slack (pulling up with my brake hand), and use my other hand to lift the "shoulder" and lock the device. Then, I'd return my brake hand to the "brake" position, but without putting downward tension on the brake strand. (So while my hand was in the brake position, there was actuall some slack between mu hand and the device.) This allowed the device to lock completely, and my brake hand wasn't holding any of the climber's weight.

Michael Parker · · Tulsa, OK · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 4,041
cleanroomdirtbag wrote:

so according to Wild Country's web page, the whole body is forged. To be totally upfront  the rest of this is spitballing a bit...

The surface on the failed surface doesn't seem to have a lot of deformation and has a clean(ish) fracture surface. That would suggest that it failed fairly quickly and on a single loading. Looking at the shape of the failure, and guessing at load paths, I would bet there was a crack in the latch catch that failed, most likely the first time any load was applied to it. The surface looks like it was almost certainly shot peened (see the surface texture) which isn't super surprising as a stress relief. I would bet there was an undetected (or unchecked) crack during forging. Without having handled one, I'm surprised that there was enough force applied through the latching mechanism to actually do this damage unless that crack was fairly large or there was a fairly large underlying material flaw. It would seem like you would design that mechanism to take almost no force once a carabiner is placed through the ears at the bottom....and if it did apply force, spread it out over a larger area.

You didn't drop it (sincere question not accusing) with it latched did you?

Nope, it wasn't dropped, I was very careful with my new toy.  And thank you for the detailed analysis. 

Michael Parker · · Tulsa, OK · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 4,041

Wild Country has already reached out to me and are processing an exchange.  They are also going to begin testing other devices from the same batch to see if there is a problem with the whole lot or if this was an isolated incident. Pretty solid customer service if you ask me.

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

It sounds like there might be a couple other users that have experienced the same breakage based on the comments in the related thread, i.e.

JDonigan . 

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

James Donigan · · Brooklyn · Joined Apr 2015 · Points: 10

I have noticed my revo now has the same issue as Michael's . When there is no carabiner in place, the device can be swiveled open without much force at all. II'm communicating with WC to see about a replacement. 

Greg Kuhnlein · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0

I tried out my revo at the gym the other day an I have the same problem but I noticed it befor I got to the gym the black plastic button once pressed to open the device once you close the Device u have to repress the black button an it clicks in place this is a defect an a big one an I don't know how they didn't catch on to this 

Greg Kuhnlein · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2017 · Points: 0

The problem also happens once the brake is locked an unlock this also pushed the pin attached to the plastic open out of place 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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