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Gear Review



Page Type: Gear Review

Object Title: Reverso

Manufacturer: Petzl

Your Opinion: 
 - 22 Votes


Page By: Josh

Created/Edited: Feb 19, 2002 / Feb 19, 2002

Object ID: 137

Hits: 6515 


The Reverso is a belay device for the leader or second, for use with dynamic ropes. Attached to the belay loop of the harness, it works like a classic belay plate to belay a leader or second. Attached to the belay using the "self locking" attachment point, the self-locking belay mode may be used to belay one or two seconds. It may also be used to rappel, and for occasional rope climbing.
  • Self-locking feature allows the lead to belay second directly from an anchor point
  • To change lead, the second simply attaches to the anchor while the belayer moves the Reverso to the second's harness--the second is now the leader
  • Rigid keepers prevent the rope from tangling during rappels
  • In an emergency, the locking mechanism feature allows device to be used as an ascender
  • For use with 8-9mm double dynamic ropes or 10-11mm single dynamic ropes
  • AAI Guides Choice
  • Skyward Mountaineering (2002) Ice Climbing Equipment List: Top Pick - 3 stars out of 3
Manufacturer Announcements:
  • April 30, 2002: "Following extensive testing, Petzl has discovered some potentially dangerous situations when belaying 2 seconds climbing at the same time with small-diameter ropes (8mm to 8.5mm)." See page 4 of PDF instructions for more info. Also see announcement on SP.


Viewing: 1-18 of 18

UlrichPrinzUntitled Review

Voted 4/5

I have used this tool for 10 months now in many different situations

in rock and ice climbing, from long alpine alpine tours to short gym routes.

The tool is pretty good averall, I would recommend it over most tubes

and other belay devices if you plan to use the auto locking-feature for

the second climber.

If you don't plan to do a lot of multi-pitch climbing where this is an advantage,

there is no real reason for choosing the Reverso over sth. like the ATC. The big

problem of the Reverso that I still see as an argument not to buy it in this case

is the badperformance in rappelling. Its sharp thin edge kills the older double rope

we have used many years without problems. Now I have tons of fuzzy colorful hairs all

over me, after rapelling only one pitch.

If I plan to rapell a long route, I would still bring an 'eight' or alike.

It is a tradeoff between auto-lock-second and rapelling, that you should

consider for yourself.

Posted Feb 24, 2002 9:02 am

Alan EllisUntitled Review

Voted 3/5

This took me a little practice to use properly, especially bringing up a second. For the mountains, it's lighter than a GriGri if you're looking for an autolock (which I'm still not sold on), but heavier than an ATC or Tube. Also, the autolock only works if used directly from the anchor attachment, which can't always be done in some situations. In contrast, the GriGri will autolock no matter where attached. Although a lighter alternative to the GriGri for alpine use........I'm sticking with an ATC or tube for the hills, and a GriGri for the crags.
Posted Dec 22, 2002 1:39 pm

tymeleroUntitled Review

Voted 4/5

I have been using the Reverso now for 1.5 years. It’s performance is good not great. I only use this device now since it can be used as a normal tube for belaying the leader and as a device that one can belay seconds directly from an anchor. That is a big advantage when multi-pitch climbing. You no longer need to take two devices to accomplish this.

The cons for this device are sticky rappels with larger ropes. I find that if you turn the device upside down for rap’s it is much smoother. Caution should be used when rapping with smaller ropes. Also I found this device would not feed larger diameter ropes very smoothly during ice climbing when the rope was slightly frozen.

All in all I still only use this device for belaying and rappelling. I find its flexibility outweighs its cons.

Posted Feb 22, 2003 9:35 pm

Martin CashUntitled Review

Voted 4/5

An excellent highly versatile autolocking lightweight belay device. A pleasure to use while toproping and belaying someone leading. It takes lead falls much better than an ATC. Feels very secure. I like having the safety of the autolock without having to lug around a heavy Grigri. Has a lot more friction built into it than an ATC.

The bad thing is that it is quite complicated to use sometimes, and lots of people use it upside down. It makes a wonderful emergency mechanical ascender for glacier travel though. Rapelling feels good with one biner, it just has too much friction with two. I haven't noticed any rope damage while rapelling.

Do not use the autolock while toproping. The lowering sequence is awful! I love the autolock for belaying up the leader or belaying up a second directly off the anchor, though.

Make sure you carefully read the manual before using!
Posted Mar 15, 2003 9:04 pm

LuisCandeiasUntitled Review

Voted 5/5

I have used the Reverso, in the climbing gym, the crags, multi-pitch climbing, and alpine climbing.

Whenever I found a weak point, it turned out it was because I wasn't using it properly.

It is the best thing I've used to belay a second off the anchor (autolocks) and to belay a leader or rappel feels exactly like an ATC.

It can even be used to ascend a rope, but only together with another ascender or prusik knot. (I've only tried this for a few meters in the gym.)

It is light and has no moving parts. It must be nearly indestructible.

Note the warning by Petzl on belaying to seconds with thin ropes.
Posted Oct 1, 2003 4:05 am

sshankleUntitled Review

Voted 5/5

Best piece of gear I have ever bought. This is the best belay device around. Not for beginners, as other reviewers noted it has alot of functions and could be easy for a novice to screw it up...
Posted Jan 4, 2004 6:40 pm

Dow WilliamsUntitled Review

Voted 5/5

This is a great piece, I highly advise adding it to your collection. However, if you use twin ropes more, get the Reversino. A versatile little bastard, it is great for belaying the 2nd off of you and for occasional rope climbing (not that I admitt ever doing that). It basically replaces your belay devise and makes several other functions faster and safer, particulary the 2nd protect.
Posted Jul 25, 2005 7:33 pm

IceMonkeyUntitled Review

Voted 5/5

The best belay device on the market. I use it on 8mm ropes and it is so smooth. You may want to double crab it though when abing down, cause with 8mm ropes its damn quick. The best feature is the auto lock, use it for the second climber all the time.
Posted Jul 29, 2005 9:42 am

Erik BeelerUntitled Review

Voted 4/5

Not for the casual user. In fact if you are not going to use its auto-locking feature buy some thing else like the ATC-XP by Black Dimond.

This device runs smooth but really fast so you need to be careful with it so you don't let it get away from you. Did I say its fast? How about greased lightning? The user below has evidently used it with 8mm ropes. As noted above it is NOT designed to be used with 8mm single lines at all. If you have two ropes, 8mm is as small as it will safely go and I would recommend the Reversino instead. The Reverso goes down to 10mm on single ropes.
Don't waste your money if you are not going to use the autolock except if you want to be part of the "in" crowd and hang a piece of equipment on your harness and never use all its features.
Posted Jul 30, 2005 1:52 pm

rickfordUntitled Review

Voted 3/5

I love this device- I have used it for sport, trad, and top-roping. All of its many functions work perfectly- BUT ONLY if you are using ropes that have diameters smaller than 10.5. Belaying on 10.2mm rope down to 9 feels awesome. 10.5mm and up, particularly 11mm, is grueling work! And I can assure you that I was using it properly in each case. For top-rope, you can get the job done with large diameter ropes, yet for sport and trad, it takes a lot of strength and time to pull out slack when somebody is clipping. Not good. Other than these concerns, the belay device is a wonderful piece of gear!!!!! It is far more versatile than the ATC and GriGri, and generally very well made.
Posted Sep 27, 2005 10:43 pm

neodayfast, wears out fast, not universal

Voted 3/5

if I know I am going to rap off something on two 10.5 ropes I will use this, because I can actually move. If it is less than 10.0 I won't use it at all. I have some 10.2 and 8.2 ropes- I dont like that I cant use this device for both- but I can use my BD ATC XP. If you like the autolocking feature, get the guide version of the XP.

The thin aluminum frame wears out faster than most, and I have a feeling that I will be retiring this after a few years of light use. I won't be buying another one.

with that said, it is not a terrible device, I just think there are better ones out there, so don't get suckered in to thinking this is your device. You might only have 11mm ropes, but who knows, you might end up belaying for someone who climbs skinny and then you will have to ask to borrow a belay device or suffer through the lack of friction.
Posted Jan 24, 2007 7:02 pm

teochristopoulosGood all around but...

Voted 3/5

...nowhere perfect. I mean it does everything (belaying first, autoblock for 1 or 2 seconds, rappelling) but not in a satisfying level for me. Low friction in general when belaying first or when rappelling, especially whith thin ropes. Thats why Petzl added some material (for more friction or for more material to spent with wear?) in the new edition. I used to have one of the first models with the drawing on the side. I lost it the summer of 2006 , together with 2 lockers, when inspecting the first part of the Hornli Ridge. Next day I summited with my friend using Munter hitch for some belaying and 4 biners for rappelling. I like simplicity and I also like every piece of equipment that makes its job perfect. So now I use a Simond tube for belaying leader and rappelling and a Cassin Rescue plate or a Kong Gi-Gi for autoblock the second(s).
Posted Mar 6, 2007 10:07 am

jezzadamzmore than enough

Hasn't voted

i've found this to be a really good device. i've used it on sports and trad routes. lovely smooth action,and keeps the rope seperated on rappels and very quick and easy to set up as an auto block for bringing up one or two seconds. all the belay/rappel device you'll ever need.
Posted Apr 24, 2007 9:33 am

Steve PritchardVersatile device

Voted 4/5

I'd recommend it once one is familiar (and practised) with how to exploit the range of uses it has over, say, an ATC. For example it has various friction settings for belay and rappel. In addition it is important that the user learns how to lower a second- it's a relatively straightforward technique but needs practise.

One thing I am keeping my eye on is the Petzl warning about ensuring that the edge remains blunt. Frequent use (or accidental chipping?) may turn the belay edge sharp- whether this is likely to happen within a reasonable working life of the device I don't know.

So far I have only used it with a 10.2mm single rope. Petzl's website has a technical note about using it with thinner ropes which any twin rope user should take heed of.

Overall a great device for multi pitch and alpine, but perhaps not for beginners.
Posted May 20, 2007 3:43 pm


Voted 4/5

I bought it some time ago: the reason I choose this one, because it's easy to manipulate in gloves.
You have to be careful while rappeling- very fast device, especially on single rope.
Cons: the edges tend to sharpen when used for a long time.
Posted Oct 20, 2007 5:27 am

Jeroen VelsGreat...

Voted 5/5

versatile, all in one peace of equipment. In an alpine environment the Reverso rules!
Posted Jan 3, 2008 2:23 pm

NCclimberAwesome for bringing up a second

Voted 3/5

I only really use the Reverso for belaying, and stick to the ATC for rappelling (since I have the bad habit of leaving the reverso on the anchor for the next pitch). I would prefer if the device had a more efficient way of giving slack on a weighted rope from below like the Guide, but it has treated me well for years.
Posted Apr 1, 2009 1:28 pm

asaking11Sharp Edges

Voted 3/5

The one thing that I don't like about the reverso is after a lot of use the rope has worn down the thin edges, and has actually made it sharp. That is why I like the guide better, because it seems to hold up longer.
Posted Jun 17, 2009 6:18 am

Viewing: 1-18 of 18