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CMI RP 101 Pulley W/ Petzl Ascension Review

   

Hauling & Pulley Systems

  • Currently 3.6/5
Overall avg rating 3.6 of 5 based on 3 reviews. Most recent review: February 9, 2010
Street Price:   Varies from $58 - $80 | Compare prices at 7 resellers
Pros:  hauls heavy loads, cheap
Cons:  long set up time, can't space haul, heavy
Best Uses:  beginning big wall climbing or hauling giant loads
User Rating:     
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 (4.5 of 5) based on 2 reviews
Recommendations:  100% of reviewers (2/2) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   CMI
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ February 9, 2010  
Overview
The classic pulley and ascender method of hauling still has its place if you are on a budget or need to haul really heavy loads. Just about any pulley and ascender will work but we are reviewing a combo of the Petzl Ascension with the CMI RP 101 so that there can be a comparison with other hauling devices in the review (see best in class for hauling devices). The Petzl is the most popular ascender and the CMI is one of the more popular large pulleys under $30. There are a lot of other pulleys out there like the Mad Rock 1" Micro Pulley. Just make sure it has a sheathe bigger than 1.5 inches and doesn't weigh more than 8 ounces.

We almost never use the pulley and ascender method and instead use a Pro Traxion for loads over 80 pounds and a Mini Traxion for loads under 80 pounds. But if you are just starting to wall climb and want to stagger your purchases, you can borrow a pulley from a friend or buy the Mad Rock 1-inch Micro Pulley for a mere $12. Save the hauling device purchase for once you fully commit to becoming a wall addict. Or, if you are hauling loads bigger that 200 pounds, the big CMI pulley will make life a lot easier. Once you do want to climb a lot of walls, I would get the Petzl Pro Traxion or Petzl Mini Traxion depending on how heavy your loads are. Of, if you are on a budget, consider the Rock Exotica Wall Hauler.

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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

A little history
Almost as revolutionary as the invention of the ascender for moving yourself up a rope was the realization you could turn an ascender upside down, run a rope through a pulley and pull down on it, thus efficiently hauling gear on big walls. Then, a few decades ago, big wall hauling devices were invented that mostly relegated the old pulley and ascender method to the sidelines.

Likes
The main advantage of the pulley and ascender method is for loads over 200 pounds. For loads that big, you want a pulley with a sheave diameter of more than 2 inches. At 2.4 inches, the CMI pulley is much bigger the Pro Traxion or Wall Haulers 1.5 inches. How much is 200 pounds? Well, a party of three that is starting a four-night El Cap ascent could easily have that much. They would really appreciate the big pulley down low. Up high, as the load got lighter, the advantages of the other hauling devices would become more apparent. For truly massive loads, you might want a 3 to 4-inch pulley. But at that point you have to ask yourself if you really want to bring that much stuff!

The other nice like thing about the pulley and ascender method is price. Since you will probably already have a pair of ascenders, all you need is a pulley. You can pick up the CMI RP 101 for $28 or you can usually scrounge up a pulley from a friend (they are a lot easier to scrounge than wall hauling devices).

Dislikes
The main downside is the time and hassle of setting up the haul. You need to get the ascender in just the right position, get a counterweight, and get the pulley running perfectly aligned with the ascender. It takes more time than using a hauling device. An extra three minutes might not sound like much, but if you are trying to do a wall in one or two nights, every time you have to spend extra time on something like setting up the haul adds up over the course of many pitches.

Once the bag gets to the anchor, you won't be able to clip the bag up as high on the anchor as you can with a wall hauling device. Another big downside is you can't space haul unless you bring a third ascender. And finally, with this method, you always have to lead with two ascenders and a pulley. That is much heavier than leading with one ascender and a hauling device. If you are doing the Nose, the difference between two ascenders and a pulley and one ascender and a MiniTraxion is more than a pound.

Best Application
The best application is on big walls where you are hauling a ton of gear… which we don't recommend doing!

Value
If you already own ascenders, this is the cheapest hauling option because you just have to borrow or buy the pulley.

Similar Models
CMI makes a lot of difference versions of this. Most of the variations are the same size but are more expensive because they use a fancier sheave. We just stick with the cheap version because it works great at half the price. But if you want to see other versions, just search CMI Pulley and look at the models that are 2 and 3/8 inch.

Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: February 9, 2010
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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 (4.5)

100% of 2 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
3 Total Ratings
5 star: 33%  (1)
4 star: 33%  (1)
3 star: 33%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 2 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Nov 30, 2009 - 12:33pm
John Mac · Climber · Littleton, CO
I'm kind of surprised that the pulley and clamp gets such a poor rating. Sure, the specific devices are faster to set up but a lot of people aren't that concerned with taking a couple of extra minutes to set up the haul.

This setup might be old school, but it works very well. When I hear of people who break or drop a protrax, etc, and rap off, I'm kind of surprised that they don't continue using this system. Carrying a spare pulley to reduce hauling effort or as a backup, I thought was part of the essential wall kit.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Nov 27, 2009 - 05:34pm
Mark Hudon · Climber · Hood River, OR
The CMI RP 101 pulley is a good, cheap and light pulley. You always have two jugs with you on a wall so setting up the classic 1:1 haul system is fast and easy.
It's unfair to include the jug in the weight total since everyone on a wall will be carrying two anyway.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Click to enlarge
CMI RP 101 Pulley (left) and Petzl Ascension Ascender (right)
Credit: Petzl.com and cmi-gear.com
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