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Storrick - Sewickley

Version A Version B
Version A Version B

Overview


Version A
(#954)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Side Open for Rigging
Side Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I made my Sewickley Descender, Version A in 2004.

Version A is 94 mm. tall, 63 mm. wide, 19 mm. thick, and weighs 197 g. I made this out of 11 mm. mild steel rod and an SMC brake bar.

Comments

In the mid-1970s, I would occasionally visit a climbing shop in Sewickley, PA. I no longer remember its name. One thing I saw there was a variation on the carabiner brake bar scheme, where a bent metal rod substituted for the carabiner. There were two versions: one open and one welded. The shop closed before I bought any, to my lasting regret. Finally, after three decades of kicking myself, I finally made my own version.

I don't have much temptation to make this my primary rappel device, but it is an interesting historical curiosity. It has one major advantage over using brake bars on aluminum carabiners - the steel oval in the Sewickley descender does not wear as fast as aluminum carabiners do.


Version B
(#974)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Side Open for Rigging
Side Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I made Version B in 2005.

Version B is 96 mm. tall, 63 mm. wide, 19 mm. thick, and weighs 197 g. I made this out of 11 mm. mild steel rod and an SMC brake bar.

Comments

Version A was particularly rough, so I eventually made a second. Version B has a small gap where the two frame ends close. One of the original Sewickley descenders had this as well, and there was enough flex in the frame to allow the brake bar to "snap" shut. Mine does not have very much flex, but I was able to tap the notch in the brake bar closed enough to get a good "snap." In use, the bar rides up to cover the slot.

The Sewickley descenders obviously resemble the short-bar Coe Descender, but as far as I am aware, they were developed independently.