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Petzl Pro Traxion Review

   
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Hauling & Pulley Systems

  • Currently 4.2/5
Overall avg rating 4.2 of 5 based on 7 reviews. Most recent review: April 18, 2015
Street Price:   Varies from $110 - $138 | Compare prices at 8 resellers
Pros:  Smooth hauling, durable, strong.
Cons:  Expensive, need special biner.
Best Uses:  Big wall climbing, aid climbing.
User Rating:     
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 (3.8 of 5) based on 6 reviews
Recommendations:  83% of reviewers (5/6) recommend this product
Manufacturer:   Petzl
Review by: Chris McNamara ⋅ Founder and Editor-in-Chief, OutdoorGearLab ⋅ April 18, 2015  
Overview
The Petzl Pro Traxion is one of the most convenient devices for hauling medium to large big wall loads. It is strong and durable and has the benefit of not needing to be taken off the anchor to be used.

Review in Progress - Update - April 2015
We just got our hands on the New Pro Traxion. Read below for our first impressions.

If you are not on a budget and are going to haul more than 100 pounds and less than 200, get this hauling device. If you are just going to do some small walls and want a device that doubles as a toprope self-belay device, get the Petzl Micro Traxion. If you are on a tight budget and don't plan on hauling more than 190 pounds, get the Rock Exotica Waul Hauler. If you are hauling more than 200 pounds, use a big pulley with an ascender like the CMI RP 101 Pulley w/ Petzl Ascension.

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  • Photos
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review

The New Petzl Pro Traxion First Glance Review


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The New Petzl Pro Traxion
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new petzl pro traxion

The new version of the Petzl Pro Traxion just arrived and straight out of the box there were many "Ohh Ahh" moments. At first glance you will notice that the new Pro Traxion has a much improved lock and release mechanism to open the gold swing arm. The push button is now replaced by a large black plastic plate with a large yellow toggle trigger. The toggle trigger can be pushed upwards (which exposes a red tab below it, indicating it is unlocked and able to swing open). The device is also slightly shorter (~0.75") but slightly fatter and thicker.

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new petzl pro traxion

My first thoughts about the durability of the plastic on the exterior is that it is the same material you find on the outside edge of the new GriGri 2, a device most are acquainted with. Never In my experience has that piece of plastic broken or been the cause of problems, so I have faith this piece on the Pro Traxion will be equally durable. The toggle trigger is the second thing I notice right away and one of the major changes between the old and new models.

The toggle trigger is a very nice update that greatly increase the ease of use, however, in playing with the device we notice a few issues. Before even discussing those, it is essential to reiterate the importance of ALWAYS clipping a biner through the bottom of a Pro Traxion whether new or old, this is an absolute must do for safe use of the device.

In all, the toggle trigger is a much better design for opening and locking the device closed. The trigger makes the new device substantially easier to use. It does seem that if the device is not clipped at the bottom (a biner should always be clipped through the bottom hole when the Pro Traxion is under load), an accidental bump of the toggle trigger, while pushing the gold swing arm in the direction of opening, can cause the gate to open while the device is under load and in use. This could lead to some very dangerous unintended consequences.

In addition to the change in the locking mechanism, the new model features a much improved junction between the axle of the pulley and the gold swing arm. The pulley axle has a grooved post that seats into a long channel on the gold swing arm.
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new petzl protraction

This appears to prevent the gold swing arm from being able to be forced to bend open. This was an issue with the old model, if the bottom clip in hole was unclipped, in certain situations the rope could ride up the edge of the pulley and "jump" from the pulley, forcing the gate to bend open and the rope would then fall off the device. This is the reason for the importance of always clipping in. We are waiting to hear from Petzl in regards to the mandatory nature of clipping the bottom hole on the new device, stay tuned.

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new petzl protraxion

The new model has an updated cam mechanism, cam-lock and release. The new design resembles a scaled up Micro-Traxion. The cam has a much smaller push tab on it so pushing the cam into the locked position is slightly more difficult. This creates some minor hassle when trying to disengage the cam to lower a bag just a few inches, then re-engaging and continuing with the haul (this is a trick I often use to bump a heavy haul bag past a small roof). Once the cam is locked open, the device now has a push button on the top that will release the cam causing it to spring back into the locked and engaged position.

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the new petzl pro traxion

In general the changes all seem like great upgrade from the previous model. The ease of use is increased with the toggle trigger style opening system, the size feels smaller, despite the increase to its girth. I am indifferent on the new cam mechanism, it does seem like a safer design but it seems like it looses a small bit of functionality, although I look forward to testing it further to find out for sure.

Another addition to the new model wall hauler is a small black plastic plate situated below the pulley. It is unclear exactly what this piece is for, if it stabilizes the pulley, cleans any muck or ice off the pulley as it spins or what. We are waiting to hear back from Petzl with the answers to a few questions, all of which will be updated here with further discussion of performance once we thoroughly test this big wall hauler!

Likes


This hauling device is very strong and dependable. We have never heard of anyone wearing down the cam teeth on this Petzl pulley. The fact that you can attach and detach the hauling rope without removing it from the anchor is handy. The operation of the pulley is great. One great thing about this device is you can haul with just one ascender (you don't need an extra one to catch the rope). I just attach one Petzl Ascender and you are good to go.

Dislikes


There are no major gripes with this climbing pulley but we have some minor ones. Because of the big diameter clip in point, you need to make sure you have a special pear or oval-shaped locking carabiner like the Petzl Attache or Petzl OK. Also, you need to use an extra biner clipped to the bottom to make sure the rope does not jump out. This is not a big drawback, but it is an extra safety step you need to remember, a step that you don't have to remember with other devices such as the Micro Traxion or the Waul Hauler.

One safety issue with this device is you need to really be careful about properly attaching the device to the climbing rope, engaging the clamp, and clipping a biner through the bottom holes for safety. There was a fatal accident in Zion where the device was not properly engaged and led to events that caused a rope to break.

Best Application


This is best suited for any wall that will take more than one night and your load is more than 100 pounds. While this can handle loads up to 560 pounds, above 200 pounds you should use a pulley that is 3 inches or bigger. If your load is less than 100 pounds, go with the Petzl Mini Traxion.

Value


The Petzl Pro Traxion is really expensive compared to the Waul Hauler. If you are going to do a ton of walls, it is worth it. The good news is that the device is so durable that you could possibly resell it for a decent amount of money. However, keep in mind that many people feel you should not resell used climbing gear.

Chris McNamara

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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: April 18, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:   
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  • 5
 (3.8)

83% of 6 reviewers recommend it
Rating Distribution
7 Total Ratings
5 star: 43%  (3)
4 star: 29%  (2)
3 star: 14%  (1)
2 star: 14%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)
Sort 6 member reviews by: Most Recent | Most Helpful
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   Mar 17, 2014 - 05:58pm
I liked the old version displayed here despite the failure stories that I totally believe. Now with the new version, at least 4 things have been improved. 1: the shut system will not disengage by the pressure on the side of device. 2: when a weight is applied, a small bump in the system prevents any easy open of device (even if you wanted to). 3: if a motherload is applied, the cam will not fail as in the old version thanks to a separate axis for the cam. 4: having a biner clipped on the bottom holes will truly keep the device from opening. Warning: I just bought the device and did limited testing of the device. Good judgment is warranted !!! Ha and yeah: you will die! They also shaved 20 grams. It is so much better, they should have changed the name.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Sep 5, 2010 - 11:17am
Moof · Climber · Orygun
I used to have no issues with the Traxion, but after hearing several credible reports of failure, I prefer to use anything else. In short, it is a poorly engineered device. You must have the biner in place to have any chance of safety, but the biner does little more than prevent the rope from completely exiting the device. If the unit get sloppy, you need to triple check that the swing plate is in the groove of the pulley. You must also assure the device has plenty freedom of movement, or yarding on it can still cause the rope to wedge between the sheeve and the sideplate.

Big wallers really need a lightened Kong Block Roll style device…

Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this product to a friend.
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   Nov 27, 2009 - 04:24pm
Ian Nicholson · Review Editor, OutdoorGearLab
I have used the Petzl Pro Traxion on many walls. I have hauled big loads from El Cap to the Alaska Range. The Teeth bit into the Haul line even if it was icy. I have top roped soloed many training routes with confidence, however Petzl doesn't recommend this.
I did experience one exploding on me. It was many years ago and I was young and dumb. I was hauling at a very bad angle and was cross loading the device to some extent. I also didn't have anything clipped to the bottom hole (according to Petzl you MUST!!!! clip something into the bottom hole on this device). Since that Harsh lesson I have used the Pro Traxion (Another one) on many trips and haven't had any problems with it. I do think the Pro Traxion is worth the weight for its ease of use factor on most big walls.
Click to enlarge
I've used the Petzl Pro Traxion to haul Way to much stuff. Here is Graham Zimmerman on one of those occasions with way too much stuff with Sunrise spire in the back ground. Photo:Ian Nicholson
Credit: Big Ian


Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Nov 26, 2009 - 12:41pm
caughtinside · Climber · Davis, CA
It is CRITICAL to use a locker to lock this device shut!

Also, many know that the toprope solo device of choice is the minitraxion. Well, I already owned a protraxion, and have been using it for toprope solo. Works just as well as the mini, except that it is heavier and bulkier. Remember to lock the device shut, and use a backup!

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Nov 26, 2009 - 12:06pm
matty · Climber · under the sea
This is the first and only combo hauling unit I purchased. My only other experience is with pully/jumar rigs. I thought the pro-traxion rocked. The setup was easy, and the teeth hold well. You must be very careful to check the casing is fully closed with a biner through the bottom that the teeth are full engaged/disengaged. There have been several accidents (some fatal) involving improper use of a pro-traxion. Search the taco and you will see reports:

"Welton's fall occurred when the Pro-traxion failed soon after he started to ascend the haul line. The Pro-traxion operates with a cam and pulley mounted to a fixed plate. A sliding plate allows a rope to be inserted into the device. When the sliding plate is properly closed, a button locks the device together. NPS investigators were able to reproduce the failure of the Pro-traxion during informal tests when the device was closed improperly. They noted that the device could appear to be properly closed (but not truly closed) if the device was weighted prior to the side plate sliding into place. When improperly closed, the device can deform when weighted, causing rope to move rapidly past the cam in the unintended direction. When the Pro-traxion failed, the 15 feet of slack ran rapidly through the device, causing Welton to fall this distance while still attached to the rope by his mechanical ascenders. The force generated by the fall transferred to Welton's ascenders, which severed the rope, resulting in Welton's tragic fatal fall."


There is a good discussion of haulers/pullys here.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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   Jul 1, 2011 - 02:44pm
Rick Picar · Climber · San Jose CA
I have climbed numerous big walls in yosemite. I started with the pulley and ascenders system. Then upgraded with the old wall hauler (early 90's model). I had some issues with the wall hauler such as the pin bending and the overall smoothness in hauling. I, later bought the Pro Traxion. I made sure that I read all of the paperwork that came with it as not to endure user error. I really like the Pro Traxion's smooth pulley, sturdy and easy to slide face-plate, and the thumb release trigger. I had no issues with this device and will continue to recommend the Pro Traxion to all my friends.

Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this product to a friend.
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Petzl Pro Traxion
Credit: Petzl.com
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