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Little help identifying proper Rescue 8 Decender setup pls

Hey all you experts!

Can you give some advice to the layman here. I have a Rescue 8 decender (with horns/wings depending on how you say that). I have two video's from Youtube on setup that are 180 degrees from each other. I know I am also looking for a good manual of proper uses. I'll post both video's below and there are many supporting each different setup. If you don't want to see the video's here's what I am talking about:

The first way to setup is to position the Rescue 8 with the small circle against your carabiner and bring the rope bite up through the large circle and around the small circle and then insert into the carabiner.

The second way is to position the small circle away from you and bring your rope bite through the large circle and forward again over the small circle, however, then you flip the entire unit end over end and drop the small circle into your carabiner. 

The difference is with a rope that ends up crossing over or under the small circle? Advantages either way over one or the other?

Option 1 Tactical Rappel Setup - YouTube

Option 2 XINDA XD8602 Climbing Rescue Figure 8 Descender with Bent-ear Rappelling Gear Belay Device - YouTube

I don't know either of those people, but like I said there are about as many videos setting up each way found online. Thanks anyone who can make sense of this for me! 

4 Replies

That will come down to personal preference.

They both end up with the device used the same way (aside from one being closer to the user).

I have never seen anyone do the flip as shown in your option 2, but I don't see anything wrong with it.


Unrelated to what you asked, I see more and more people putting the device further away from themself as shown in the first video so they can put a prusik on there that should catch them should they let go of the rope while rappelling for any reason.

Last, I can't recommend enough getting out with an experienced climber, rope tech, etc. if you're new to climbing, rappelling, caving, or anything else on rope.

Have fun - on rope is one of my happy places! 🙂

I agree with aarond's comments.  Both techniques are satisfactory, but I would add:

The rescue 8 is not the best rappel device, primarily because it introduces significant twists to the rappel rope.  Most of the other rappel/belay devices on the market do not - like Black Diamond's, for instance.  You also have one light device performing two functions versus a heavier, one function gadget. 

For longer rappels (longer than one length of your climbing rope) and rescue or similar work I much prefer a rappel rack- great range of adjustability, and good control of speed and position.  I have used a rack for single rappels up to 600 feet long and currently it is my preferred device for extracting fossils from vertical environments (not a very common usage!).  The rappel rack is noticeably heavier than many of the other devices, however.

I recommend Mountaineering:  Freedom of the Hills or On Rope! for good info on rappelling.  I would also recommend an experienced mentor.  Be advised that as many climbers in Yosemite have perished while rappelling as have died during lead climbing.  Rappelling looks easy and it is not physically taxing, but doing it safely (i.e., not dying) requires attention to detail and knowledge....

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Thanks fella's. Excellent advice. The rescue 8 came with my startup package and while I am getting to know the gear, I'll also be looking at other options and some more experienced climbers to gain technique from. -K


In an article in Outdoor Gear Lab's write up of rappel/belay devices, in a section titled "Choosing a belay/rappel device" one finds the following

"NOT included in this review are figure eight belay devices. Although some still use these types of devices, they are considered antiquarian at this point, and are not recommended."

I find this site provides generally credible, reasonably unbiased reviews of outdoor gear.  For "normal" multi-pitch routes (one rope length long) I generally use a Black Diamond ATC Guide.  One last note: Get familiar with the body rappel.  Not that you will use it routinely, unless your skin is really tough, but there will come a time when for one reason or another, it will be the only way home....

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.