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Radeberger Haken

Version A Version B Version C
Version A Version B Version C
 
Version D Version E
Version D Version E

Overview


THE EIGHT CAN HEAR (BUT IT WILL NOT LISTEN)

In 1968, Keith Likin decided to make an aluminum plate eight to improve on the welded steel rod eights of the day. His eight was teardrop-shaped. Upon testing, he noted[1],

“When testing this device, it was noted that it has a certain safety advantage over other rappelling devices. If by any chance the control rope gets out of your hand, the figure 8 ring locks so the descent is checked. Two major problems have arisen from this: (1) conditions determine whether or not the ring will lock in an emergency - by changing the design, I think the device will be absolutely foolproof; (2) when the ring is locked, it is a first-class job to get it unlocked.”

Keith clearly saw the possibility of the eight locking off as an advantage, but recognized that with the systems of the day – mainly prusik knots – getting unlocked was difficult (nowadays, it is almost trivial).

The eights, having no ears, did not listen.

Except some eights had ears, and nobody over here seemed to notice.

In 1951, Gerhard Brosche, Peter Graf, Heinz Kittner and Rainer Hilsberg took a Töpfer Hook, a perverted and very horny figure eight, and made it go straight. The offspring became the Radeberger Haken, the hook, err, from Radeberger. The “Radi” quickly became an important climbing device, at least in Germany. Climbers no longer use them, but they still see use by rope access professionals in Germany and nearby areas.

Early Radis were made from welded steel rod, later ones were made from cast aluminum and later even stainless steel. I have four aluminum and one steel Radi. The quality of the earlier cast aluminum Radis is suspect. Mine first three (1957, 1960, 1981) have quite a bit of porosity and the resulting descenders feel surprisingly light. The fourth cast Radi (1997) does not have the porosity problem. My steel Radi is much more robust, but at 1.8 kg, it makes better kayak anchor a practical descender.

I like Radis for their bizarre shape, but they are not practical for modern caving or climbing use. Among other things, they too large and too heavy for my taste. To be honest, though, some people have exaggerated their size, they are not really as large as a toilet seat. Radis are not easy to find, and ordering them from Germany has proven to be nigh on impossible. There are a lot of versions out there that the museum lacks. Let me know if you can help!

[1] Likin, K., "Figure 8 Ring." GCG Electric Caver, v3, #11, pp 87-88; reprinted in the 1968 Speleo Digest, pp. 3-43 & 3-44


Version A
(#1250)

Front Front
Front Rear

Technical Details

Harald Müller gave me this Radeberger Haken in 2010.

Version A is cast from aluminum alloy. Mine is 176 mm. tall, 153 mm. wide, and 28 mm. thick. The rope hole is 46 mm. high and 48 mm. wide. The top center thickness is 21 mm. The shaft length and width are 75 mm. and  38 mm., respectively. The auxiliary hole is 28.7 mm. high and 13.2 mm. wide. The eye measures 24 mm. by 13 mm. The ears are 46 and 38.5 mm. long. This Radeberger Haken weighs 299 g.

The front has various raised cast letters and digits: "2," "AZ," "81H," "H0," "DRN," "DOR," and "HUD." It is also stamped with "856." The rear has "240" in raised cast letters.

Comments

The Radeberger Haken falls into my miscellaneous figure eights with ears category.

Although I like the Radeberger Haken for its bizarre shape, it is not practical for most caving or climbing. Among other things, it is too large and too heavy for my taste - and this is the small, lightweight version!

The eye is too narrow to accept two full size locking carabiners, but there are two eyes, so this should not be an issue.

Version A is surprisingly light for its size. The surface of the aluminum casting looks almost porous; perhaps this is part of the reason it feels lighter than it looks.


Version B
(#1283)

Front Front
Front Rear

Technical Details

I acquired my Radeberger Haken, Version B from Fritz Scholz (from Germany) in 2011, with Stefan Thurner in Austria acting as translator and intermediary to facilitate the transaction.

The Radeberger Haken, Version B is cast from aluminum alloy. Mine is 265 mm. tall, 213 mm. wide, and 37 mm. thick. The rope hole is 66 mm. high and 77 mm. wide. The top center thickness is 15 mm. The shaft length and width are 113 mm. and 42 mm., respectively. The auxiliary hole is 48.1 mm. high and 23.7 mm. wide. The eye measures 42 mm. by 17 mm. The ears are 58.1 and 51.6 mm. long. My Radeberger Haken, Version B weighs 682 g.

The front has a raised "1" and is stamped "150." The rear has "DRK," "BRD," and "56" in raised characters, as well as an illegible icon.

Comments

Version B also falls into my miscellaneous figure eights with ears category. Version B is huge. ALthough it is too heavy for my taste, it is not as heavy as it looks. The horns provide many options for tieing off, and the three eyes make up for each one being only large enough for a single carabiner - at least, side-by-side.


Version C
(#1350)

Front Rear
Front Rear

Technical Details

I acquired my Radeberger Haken, Version C from Tino Schneider in 2012.

The Radeberger Haken, Version C is cast from aluminum alloy. Mine is 287 mm. tall, 205 mm. wide, and 34 mm. thick. The rope hole is 66 mm. high and 75 mm. wide. The top center thickness is 15 mm. The shaft length and width are 113 mm. and 42 mm., respectively. The auxiliary hole is 47.9 mm. high and 23.4 mm. wide. The eye measures 41 mm. by 18 mm. The ears are 91.2 and 51.3 mm. long. My Radeberger Haken, Version C weighs 712 g.

The front has "1" and "3548.31" in raised characters and a raised icon that I do not recognize. The rear has a raised "L" at an odd angle, "60" and "562."

Comments

Version C also falls into my miscellaneous figure eights with ears category. Version C is similar to Version B, except the upper horn is longer, providing for more secure tie-offs.


Version D
(#1316)

Front Front
Front Rear

Technical Details

I acquired my Radeberger Haken, Version D from Thorsten Huk in 2011.

Version D is made from stainless steel, and consists of two shaped blocks welded to a milled plate. Version D is 290 mm. tall, 205 mm. wide, and 26 mm. thick. The rope hole is 73 mm. high and 76 mm. wide. The top center thickness is 8 mm. The shaft length and width are 112 mm. and 40 mm., respectively. The auxiliary hole is 44.8 mm. high and 20 mm. wide. The eye measures 40 mm. by 16 mm. The ears are 92.6 and 52.7 mm. long. My Radeberger Haken, Version D weighs 1792 g.

The rear is printed with a hollow rectangle, a hand-inside-a-square icon, "BORNACK," "RHS-E-08," "DIN 34300,", "CE 0158," "Max 250 kg," "Max 300m," "Art 777006," "www.bornack.de," and a book-with-an-"i" icon.

Comments

Version D also falls into my miscellaneous figure eights with ears category.

Version D is made from steel, making this one of the most absurdly heavy eights in my collection. It should outlast the user, if for no other reason than no caver or climber is going to carry this with them for frequent use.


Version E
(#1400)

Front Rear
Front Rear

Technical Details

I acquired my Radeberger Haken, Version E on eBay from Daniel Liebers in 2013.

Version E is cast from aluminum alloy. Mine is 288 mm. tall, 207 mm. wide, and 39 mm. thick. The rope hole is 74 mm. high and 75 mm. wide. The top center thickness is 16 mm. The shaft length and width are 102 mm. and 40 mm., respectively. The auxiliary hole is 45.2 mm. high and 20.9 mm. wide. The eye measures 41 mm. by 17 mm. The ears are 88.8 and 49.7 mm. long. My Radeberger Haken, Version E weighs 1266 g.

The front has "3" and a "Straβ" cast into it, and is also stamped with "39"with "75" overstriking the "9," an indistinct "V" inside an oval (there may be more inside), "01/97," and "Tu" and "3" inside a circle.

Comments

Version D also falls into my miscellaneous figure eights with ears category.

The quality of this one is higher than the quality of the other cast aluminum versions in my collection, but it is also much heavier.