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The descenders in this section all have specialist applications; mostly in either industry or caving. For Figure of 8's, Grigris and other descenders for rock climbing and sports abseiling see Climbing Descenders.


There are two options; the Stop or the Rack both made by Petzl. In general the Stop is more versatile and safer but can give a jerky descent on long pitches or thin ropes. The Rack allows a greater variation of friction, both through the number of bars used and the spacing of the bars. It gives a beautifully smooth descent and is particularly appreciated on pitches of 50m or more, it is however more difficult to protect yourself, especially when rigging.

Industry and Rescue

The ID is a handle pull Roped Access descender whose speed is controlled by gripping the rope. It is suited to steep descents with stops on route and can be used for short sections of ascent when combined with a handled ascender. If the handle isn't pulled the device grips, if the handle is released it locks, if the handle is overgripped in panic it locks and if the rope is put in wrongly it locks, making it as foolproof as it is possible to be. This device was developed by Petzl to replace the older, less fail-safe devices, which are still used for Climbing and Caving (see above).

The diagram to the left shows the ID being used as a descender.

Back Up Devices

While not strictly descenders, these devices are used to back up a descent (or ascent). The Petzl ASAP is designed for use in industrial applications, and is installed on the second line, also know as the safety line. This is shown in the picture on the left. As the worker moves up or down the device moves as well, and it will lock very quickly in a fall. It can also be used on its own as a fall-arrest device on roofs and slopes, as shown to the right, or when climbing scaffolding or masts, by attaching it to a line fixed to the top and bottom of the structure.

The Petzl Shunt has been around much longer, and is the preferred device for cavers and climbers as an abseil back-up device. Note the ASAP is designed to be used with a shock-absorbing lanyard. The lanyard designed for the purpose is the ASAPsorber, which can be found in the Lanyards section.

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ISC D4 Work/Rescue Descender

The ISC D4 Work/Rescue Descender is a double-stop device with an auto-lock function and a panic brake which is not overly sensitive in normal use. The cam is made with a super hard solid stainless steel and is highly wear and corrosion resistant. The D4 is compliant with CE Standards, NFPA T and ANSI Z359.4 for the worldwide Rope Access and Rescue markets which typically use 10.5mm/11mm ropes.

From £167.34 inc. VAT

Petzl Auxiliary open brake for I'D


The auxiliary open brake is designed for I'D self-braking descenders. It may be used to increase the friction in accordance with the weight of the load and the diameter of the rope, or to release the rope at any time.

£16.80 inc. VAT £14.89 inc. VAT

Petzl Chicane


The Chicane auxiliary braking device allows Zigzag and Zigzag Plus mechanical Prusiks to be used on single ropes. It provides continuous additional friction on descents. The excellent compatibility of the Chicane and mechanical Prusik as an assembled unit ensures smooth rope glide through the brake during ascents. The ergonomic handle provides excellent grip and facilitates movement while limb walking. Thanks to the openable side plate, installation is quick and easy.

£150.00 inc. VAT £133.03 inc. VAT

Petzl Rig Descender

From £133.03 inc. VAT

Petzl Simple


As its name implies, the Petzl Simple is an easy-to-use caving descender. It can be used with 8.5 to 11 mm diameter low stretch kern-mantle ropes. Reduced bulk and low weight simplify progression in narrow passages. The pulleys can be rotated or replaced to prolong the duration of use over time.

£59.86 inc. VAT £53.09 inc. VAT

Petzl ZigZag


The petzl ZigZag is a mechanical Prusik that allows the user to move around efficiently in a tree using a classic Prusik pulley system technique. The friction chain provides precision and fluidity when moving around. The pulley is mounted on sealed ball bearings to allow the slack to be taken up easily. Can be used on either doubled ropes or a single rope, providing great versatility.

£210.00 inc. VAT £186.24 inc. VAT

SafeTec Flow

From £141.89 inc. VAT