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Descenders and Figure Eights

Figure 8s and descenders are used to apply friction to the climbing line and control the rate of descent. Self-braking descender such as the Petzl I'd, Rig, or SMC Spider offer additional control the descent, and are popular among professionals in the tree care industry.

Large Rescue 8 with Ears by Mad Rock

Large Rescue 8 with Ears by Mad Rock


Large rescue 8 with ears ideal for rescue, mountaineering, and lowering loads. 40 kN (8,992 lb) rating. Compatible with ropes up to 12mm (1/2"), weighs 252 g (8.9 oz).

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Aluminum Figure 8 with Bent Ears

Aluminum Figure 8 with Bent Ears New in 2016!


Aluminum rescue figure 8 with bent ears. 40 kN (8,992 lb) rating along main access. Compatible with ropes up to 12.7mm (1/2"). Made in the USA.

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Steel Bent Ear Figure 8

Steel Bent Ear Figure 8


This steel figure eight is very popular for its high strength. Uses include personal belay, rescue, and rigging. The steel figure eight has long bent ears to prevent the rope from locking up during descent. Popular for rescue kits or as an inexpensive lowering device. 11,250 lb (50 kN) break strength.

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Standard Figure Eight

Standard Figure Eight


Aluminum standard eight is lightweight, compact, and dissipates heat well. Anodized aluminum stands up well to use.

Video Overview by Niceguydave.

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SMC Mountaineering 8

SMC Mountaineering 8


Easy to rig when wearing gloves, this compact 8 has smooth action. Anodized aluminum. Weighs 2.9 oz. 4.6" long. Made in the U.S.A.

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Petzl Pirana Descender


The Petzl Pirana is a unique descender with three different braking positions, two supplementary braking spurs, and a small carabiner hole for a “rigid” carabiner/descender unit which helps to keep the descender positioned correctly. The carabiner hole will only fit Petzl carabiners, and is meant to be a tight fit.

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Sterling ATS Descender


New descender from Sterling Rope incorporates the best of tube, plate, and figure 8 style devices into one compact and durable tool. This unique device allows multiple friction settings on rappel as well as auto lock-off belay options. The ATS incorporates the best parts of a tube or plate device and a figure 8 with 'hyper-horns' into one compact, durable frame.

Video Overview by Niceguydave.

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Scarab Rescue Tool


The Scarab Rescue Tool is a stainless steel tool that excels at easily controlling heavy rescue loads, pick-offs, twin rope systems, and other rescue techniques. The Scarab is strong, does not twist ropes, and allows quick adjustment of friction with easy lock-offs and ambidextrous use. Single and double rope capable, and allows attachment of rope without unclipping from anchor.

Rope capacity 9mm - 13mm (up to 1/2"), NFPA 1983 G, weighs 385g (13.8 oz).

Video Overview of the Scarab Rescue Tool by Niceguydave

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Mini Eight


Rock Exotica Mini-eight features side ears that let you easily vary friction, and is super compact - great for an emergency descender. Carabiner hole has rubber gasket that fits tightly on a Rock Exotica or Petzl carabiner. Only 3.6” long! Made in the U.S.A.

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Escape 8 Figure Figure 8

“Escape 8” Micro Figure Figure 8


Designed for firefighters in bailout situations, compact aluminum 8 is perfect for your bail-out kit. Works on a wide range of ropes; smaller ropes when doubled up to 7.5mm, and single up to 12.5 mm (1/2”). Weighs 1.7 oz (48g). Made in the U.S.A.

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SMC Figure 8 w/Ears - NFPA Rate

SMC Figure 8 w/Ears - NFPA Rated


Russ Anderson / SMC figure 8 with ears is a classic design and is rated to NFPA 'T' on 9.5mm to 12.5mm rope, and NFPA 'G' on 11m to 16mm rope. Anodized aluminum. 7,194 lb breaking strength (32 kN). 6” x 5.25” x .5”. Weighs 6.5 oz (184g). Made in the U.S.A.

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Descent Control Figure Figure 8

SMC “Descent Control” Stainless Steel Figure Figure 8


Seattle Manufacturing Company's Descend Control stainless eight is lightweight, tough, with exceptional control of acceleration, rappelling speed, and stopping. Wider shoulders help prevent girth hitching the rope. Made in the U.S.A.

Weight: 7.5 oz (213g), Dimensions: 5" x 3.7" x 0.375", Max. Rope size: 1/2" (12.5mm), 3 Sigma test: >20,000 lbf (89kN)

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Petzl I'D Descender

I'D S - 7/16" Rope
I'D L - 1/2" Rope

This self-braking descender and belay device for single rope replaces a figure 8 or friction knot. The handle allows the rope to move, and descent is controlled with the free hand. If handle is released the cam is engaged and descent stops. Anti-panic device automatically brakes if the handle is pulled too far. Two models available: I'D S accepts up to 7/16” (11mm) rope. I'D L accepts up to 1/2” (13mm) rope.

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Petzl Rig Descender


Designed for professionals, the Rig allows the user to move into position then easily stop where needed. This descender is compact and intuitive to use, making for smooth descents. A simple and effective alternative to more traditional descenders. Automatic return system on the handle. Pivoting cam facilitates taking up the slack in the rope. Can also be used to make a reversible haul system, and for short ascents (in conjunction with a FOOTPRO foot loop and an ASCENSION handled rope clamp). Single ropes between 10.5 and 11.5 mm in diameter (7/16” ). Weighs 380 grams. Instructions included.

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Petzl GriGri 2


A new version in 2011 made this already-great descender 20% lighter and 25% more compact! The GriGri is an extremely popular descender which uses a handle to control the rate of descent. When the handle is released, the GriGri self-brakes and engages the cam to halt descent. The GriGri can be used in conjunction with a handled rope ascender and foot loop for short ascents in the sit/stand climbing method. Works with ropes with a maximum diameter of 7/16” (11mm.)

7/16” (8.9 - 11.5 mm max capacity), compact, easy to use.

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SMC Spider


The SMC Spider is an Auto Braking NFPA T Rated Descender designed for work positioning and personal descent. The Spider provides person working at height the ability to easily maneuver and secure themselves while on the fly. Allowing users to easily load and unload from the device without having to unclip from their harness, it is an ideal descender for window washers, fire fighters and industrial workers who need a device that provides them with optimal strength and performance.

Accepts rope from 11 - 12.5mm in diameter, MBS 13.5kN (3,174 lbf), weighs 19.8 oz (562 g).

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ISC D4 Work/Rescue Descender


This Descender from ISC features some unique features for a handled descender. The handle is aluminum and coated for grip, and designed to rotate 360°, making it easier to use and switch between allowing the rope to run and locking the device. Each station in the rotation is accompanied by a “Click” so that you have the audio feedback in addition to the feel of switching the position. Features an anti-panic brake if the handle is rotated too far by an inexperienced user.

The D4 has a great video and manual on the D4 descender page.

5 1/2” x 3 1/4”, weighs 23 oz, and works with ropes from 10.5mm to 11mm (7/16”).

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Druid Descender by Camp

Druid Descender by Camp New in 2016!

Druid Pro

The Druid is a compact auto-braking descender with a body and lever made from robust, hot-forged aluminum, with mechanical parts of precision-cast stainless steel. The internal cam can be de-activated with a trigger to allow quick sliding of the rope in situations with no load or limited load. Steel ring for attaching a keeper cord. The Druid features an anti-panic feature which is not present on the Druid Pro. Available Summer 2016. Rope capacity 11mm (7/16"), weighs 280g.

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SMC Micro-Rack


The U-Rack utilizes Hyper bars which makes it easy to add friction or lock off the device. The rack dissipates heat excellently while still giving the needed amount of friction for long rappels. SMC tests their equipment in the user configuration which gives very accurate ratings. This rack is designed to run on ropes from 7-12.5mm and has a MBS range of 8kN to 22kN which corresponds with ropes you would use it with. At 9” x 3’ it is the most compact rack from SMC.

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Petzl Stop Descender

Petzl Stop Descender


The Petzl Stop descender is an alternative to a figure 8 designed to work on single ropes with a max diameter of 7/16” (11mm.) The handle works like an on/off switch, stopping descent when released and allowing descent when squeezed. Rate of descent is controlled by the grip on the free end of the rope. Installation instructions are stamped into the faceplate.

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SMC J-Rack

SMC J-Rack Components

Angled Brake Bar
Straight Brake Bar
Stainless Tie-off Bar

With the SMC J rack, you can build your own rappel bar assembly by adding the brake and tie-off bars you want.

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