Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: $60
Pros: Lightweight, compact, good value.
Cons: Rope did not feed as easily as with other devices, no way to lock it in the open position.
Best Uses: Ascending, self-belay, rescue.
Recall info from Wild Country:
Wild Country Ropeman 3 Recall.
Wild Country yesterday issued a voluntary recall for their Ropeman 3 ascender which although passing all required CE EN standards has found to be below par in some aspects of fieldwork.
Jason Myers, Wild Country's Sales Director explains:
"Whilst the R3 does meet the requirements of the relevant tests and standards, usage has found that there are certain circumstances, particularly on tensioned ropes where the device does not “stick” as well as we would like. It is possible to imagine certain situations where the user could absolutely be relying on the device (eg crevasse rescue) and experience difficulty with it’s function, even to the point of risking death or injury. The chance of this situation arising is extremely difficult to quantify. We feel the probability of an accident is small, but it is non-zero. Therefore we have chosen to voluntarily recall the product."
If you possess a Ropeman 3, then you should stop using it immediately and return it to your retailer, or if this is not possible, to your local distributor. Wild Country will arrange as soon as possible your choice of a replacement Ropeman 1 or Ropeman 2, plus a locking karabiner.
For more detailed information, please refer to the notices on our website. www.wildcountry.co.uk
Back to the review:
Wild Countrys Ropeman 3 was originally designed for rescue situations, and is a basic rope clamp that can be used for many different applications. The Ropeman 3 is the newest edition to the Ropeman series and is designed with super skinny ropes in mind. We feel it is much improved over the Ropeman 1 and 2. It is lighter, more streamlined and less prone to snagging on your other gear.
Ropeman 3 is a lightweight, compact, and versatile piece of equipment that we can see being useful in a lot of practical applications. The simple rope clamp engages easily, is easy to rig, and works just fine as a device for self-belaying on top rope. At $60 it is the least expensive of the devices we tested, but doesn't feed up the rope as well as devices that had a built-in pulley. If you want the best and smoothest top rope self-belay, pick up a Petzl Micro Traxion, or save $10 from the Micro and grab a classic Petzl Mini Traxion.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
It can function on ropes 7.7mm and up as well as on nylon slings, making it pretty handy to have around if youre in an alpine rescue situation. The Ropeman 3 is compact and simple to use. Weighing a scant 71 grams, it was the lightest of the devices that we tested. It is elegant in its simplicity to figure out and ease of rigging. We liked the wide ridges that Wild Country uses as the gripping agent on the clamp, though the effect that they might have on the sheath of the rope in a fall of any distance is unclear.
As a self-belay device for Top Rope Solo, we found that the Ropeman 3 worked out just fine. It engaged when needed and the rope fed decently through the device. It was unobtrusive on our belay loop and caused minimal complications while climbing. We enjoyed its small size and small price tag. We did find, however, that due to the lack of a rotating pulley, the Ropeman did not slide up the rope as easily as the other devices that we tested. We needed to weight the rope significantly more with this device than with the others in order to avoid slack in the system. We also found the fact that you must remove the device at the end of each climb to be somewhat tedious, and provided us with more opportunities to fumble (which, being the naturally ambitions type, I seized with full vigor and bounced the thing down the cliff and into some deep Manzanita). At $60 for a device that could be useful in a boatload of applications, you cant beat the price.
The hand cable makes it easy to attach a carabiner to gently release as you are unweighting it. After loading the Petzl Micro or Mini, it can be hard to disengage the clamp. Often you have to actually pass rope an inch or two. This is usually not an issue but could be in rescues or if self belaying on steep terrain.
— Robert Beno and Chris McNamara
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: November 4, 2012
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