SAR Tech Tips: Petzl Descenders

The Petzl Rig, Petzl I’D & Petzl I’D Evac are all very similar and function in much the same way. There are, however, important differences rope technicians and rescuers need to be aware of.

Petzl Rig Descender

The Rig

The Rig came about as an industrial / rescue replacement for the venerable Gri Gri (a recreational climbing belay rappel device). Unlike the Gri Gri, the Rig has a dedicated ‘becket’ so the device does not need to be disconnected to install the rope. It appears to be a smaller I’D & to some extent, this is the case, but the Rig has no anti-error catch & no panic override feature. Petzl attaches the caveat ‘expert use only’ to the Rig & this should not be taken lightly.

Petzl I'D S Descender

The I’D

Redesigned for 2019, the I’D has a multitude of features that make it the obvious choice for rope access & many rescue applications. There is now a spring ‘return function’ on the handle (preventing it flopping around in use), the cam has been redesigned and there is a steel wear reinforcement on the top of the cover plate. The black plastic cover plate catch is bigger & easier to engage. The new I’D can be retrofitted with either an ‘open’ or ‘closed’ friction spur, used to create extra friction when lowering a two person load.

Petzl I'D Evac Descender

The I’D Evac

It’s very tempting to look at this device and assume it’s just an I’D with a friction spur on the side. However, there is far more to it than that. Probably the most immediate difference one will notice between the I’D and I’D Evac is that the latter has a grey handle. The internal operating mechanism has been ’spun’ around so that the handle activation direction is downwards when the unit is rigged upside down. This subtle change makes the device significantly easier to operate inverted as is often the case in tower & other types of industrial rescue. The I’D Evac comes with a pre-installed friction spur.

29 May 2019

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