Review: Beal Escaper

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Beal Escaper Rappel Rope Retrieve Rock Climbing

The Beal Escaper.

Few products have caused a stir quite like the Beal Escaper, a detachable anchor system that allows the user to effect a retrievable single-rope rappel with a series of sharp tugs (watch a demonstration video from Beal below). Forums abound with vitriolic threads where the possibilities and the pitfalls of the device have been hotly debated, so I decided to put the Escaper through its paces to put the rumors to rest. Despite misleading Internet whispers about its safety, this intriguing blend of modern innovation and old-school rope wizardry is fully rated and certified by both the UIAA and CE for 18 kN. Amid the towering limestone walls of El Potrero Chico, a perfect candidate for the Escaper was found in Selam—a classic 5.10a that demands some shady rappel shenanigans because of its 40-meter length. The Escaper performed admirably in providing an alternative to sketchy downclimbing 5 meters off the deck. The retrieval worked without a hitch (no pun intended), delivering both rope and device without fuss. Even so, committing the first time was psychologically demanding, and I was thankful for having spent time familiarizing myself in more benign terrain—as with any equipment, it behooves one to become savvy with the device. Good at what it does, the Escaper seems likely to become a niche product, a trump card for ski mountaineering, canyoneering, alpine climbing, etc.