The Petzl Shunt was originally developed as an abseil backup for SRT users who needed something more reliable than a Prussik however it has long since been pressed into service for all manner of other uses most notably self belay and as an ascender.
It is likely that amongst climbers in the UK the self-belaying option is actually more popular than the Shunt's intended purpose. Petzl are quite specific about the uses of the shunt. For further information about the uses of the Petzl Shunt please read this safety advisory from Petzl.
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Firstly, let it be known that I am not a professional climber or even particularly experienced, but perhaps that is relevant in its own right. I bought the Shunt as an abseil backup device, to replace the prusik knots I’ve used until now. The prusik is still there when needed but the simplicity and cleverness of the Shunt really make it worth having. It has some weight to it, so would be less suitable for an ultralight setup, but for someone who wants a reliable backup for basic abseiling it really does the trick. Coupled with the ability to use it as an ascending device as well, it really is a reassurance. Finally, the elephant in the room: the paint job… no big deal for something that acts as a safety device, not a fashion accessory, but come on. At least a few options, Petzl. All in all, a great purchase.
I bought my Petzl Shunt after a 'rescue a stuck climber' session at our climbing wall. The standard practice of using a Prusik was really very hard work and tricky to get the tension just right. We tried several other devices and my preferred choice was the Shunt.
I like the Shunt as it can be used as an ascender and a personal protection device for abseiling. It fits a good range of rope diameters and is easy to load onto the rope too. It is more chunky and heavy than some of the other similar devices around, but it's well built and feels good to use. It's very smooth in operation and doesn't jamb or jerk and stops dead once you let go. A good piece of kit and another good purchase from Facewest.
I bought my Shunt for Ascension and Self Belaying purposes. I use it regularly to work hard routes and it works perfectly for this. Clipped to a screw gate onto the belay loop of the harness, it locks perfectly and ascends well with you when you climb. Its simple and quick to use. The colours on it I actually like, it looks pretty funky! I wouldn’t always carry it as its heavy and a prussik will almost always do the job properly. But for self belaying/ultra safe ascending it’s the item for the job!
The price is good, which is always a bonus!
I love my shunt. It's a great device that works simply and effectively, and as such it lives on my harness whenever I do any multipitching. I use my shunt for two main purposes - abseil backup and ascending.
Using a Shunt as an abseil backup removes the risk of setting your prussik knot wrong. If set up incorrectly, a prussik can fail to lock off a fall, or be virtually impossible to release after it has caught one. Neither of those are particularly fun situations to be in.
Using it as an ascender is supremely simple. You don't even need to think about it - just connect it to you and to the rope and it'll only let you go in one direction. Just make sure you've got it oriented to go upwards.
It's just a shame it's so damned ugly. It really does have the most hideous paint job of any piece of climbing equipment I have ever seen. I do love it though, all the same.
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