thread the rope backwards in a ‘C’. Depending on the descender, reduced frictionconfigurations may disable the autostop ability of the descender. Some models allow you topull a flexible rope backwards through the descender, a handy feature when crossingrebelays and for rigging.Bobbins are not variable friction devices but they do work well over a wide range of ropesand rope weights, being best on ropes 10 mm or less and pitches shorter than 50 m (thoughyou can safely use one on any pitch). At first a bobbin may seem fast and uncontrollable butwith practice you can go fast or slow with ease without adjusting the device.
while the control is excellent, bobbins with stainless steel pulleys can heat upenough to melt the fuzz on dry rope after only a few metres of fast descent, and the softerthe rope, the faster this happens.
A simple bobbin is just that – simple. Two fixed aluminiumpulleys bolted between aluminium plates.
Take the essentials of a simple bobbin and add a camming action to pinch the rope and ahandle to control it and you have the best descender so far invented. To ‘go’, squeeze thehandle and control the rope as for a simple bobbin. If you release the handle you stopautomatically. The ‘stop’ handle is just that. Use it as a stop or go lever while maintainingcontrol with your lower hand.Not all autostops are the same, some work better than others and the stopping quality varieson different ropes or even the same rope wet or dry, new or old. You can use an autostop
Extra frictionReduced friction ‘C’ threaded bobbin (autostop inactive)- minimum friction Lower pulley only (Petzl autostop still active)- less friction Italian hitch -maximum friction Single twist -more friction, but twists the rope Simple bobbin – without a brake handle you can hold it so that it stops with a single squeeze