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Auto-Braking Descenders

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. Often used at the basal anchor in SRT climbing systems.

CT Sparrow Descender


Self-braking descender for work on ropes, which allows the operator to lower themselves on the working line, to position himself on the working line and to ascend the same rope. Equipped with a braking spur that creates additional friction on the rope, when used during the descent, without the use of an additional connector. A multifunctional command lever with an automatic recall system allows the operator to descend at a controlled speed and stop the descent at the desired point without the need to tie off the device. An EBS safety system (Extraordinary Braking System) is activated if the lever is accidentally fully opened, reducing the speed of descent instead of increasing it.

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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/D5 Work & Rescue Descender

D4 - 7/16” (11mm) Capacity
D5 - 1/2” (12.7mm) Capacity

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.

These devices have great video and manuals on the D4 descender page.

D4 Details: 5 1/2” x 3 1/4”, weighs 23 oz, and works with ropes from 10.5mm to 11mm (7/16”).

D5 Details: 240 kg/500 lb WLL, weighs 29 oz, and works with ropes sized 12.7mm (1/2”).

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Druid Descender by Camp

Druid Descender by Camp


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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