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Using the Petzl Chicane in Your SRT Climbing System

Using the Petzl Chicane in Your SRT Climbing System

Many climbers that have gone over to the 'dark side' (aka SRT, SRS) of climbing have probably been chomping at the bit for the uber-responsive Petzl Zig Zag to have an SRT-compatible companion!

The Zig Zag hit the market and made a huge name for itself in the world of DdRT or MRS climbing. It was super responsive compared to the archaic Blake's Hitch or even most modern hitch cords. The aspect of a mechanical friction hitch was wild to some but many others quickly found that the Zig Zag could easily replace whatever climbing system they were used to using with it's super intuitive design that felt so much like a friction hitch in your hand.

Petzl heard the overwhelming outcry from climbers that were begging for an SRT compatible Zig Zag and in response came out with the Chicane. Though the name is a bit different, but once we look up the definition, it makes perfect sense!

Chicane - A chicane is a serpentine curve in a road, added by design rather than dictated by geography. Chicanes add extra turns and are used both in motor racing and on roads and streets to slow traffic for safety. For example, one form of chicane is a short, shallow S-shaped turn that requires the driver to turn slightly left and then slightly right to continue on the road, requiring the driver to reduce speed.

Now when we look at the initial and totally ingenious design of the Rope Wrench, we can easily spot the chicane or serpentine curve that it creates and adds friction by creating those serpentine curves. Looking at the Petzl Chicane we can see that it adds those same curves or bends to the rope that help add friction above the Zig Zag which allows it to move almost flawlessly on a single rope.

The Chicane is compatible with the Petzl AM'd and the OK carabiners with H Beam construction. The H Beam helps keep the Chicane in it's proper orientation while working aloft. The center groove in the carabiner drops into a key slot that Petzl has very smartly designed into their device. This small feature keeps the Zig Zag, carabiner, and the Chicane all aligned perfectly on the rope to reduce any chance of side loading and maximizing safety!

The Chicane also features a side plate that flips open to allow for easy loading of the rope so that a climber could switch quickly and efficiently from SRS to MRS or vise versa. This swing gate style side plate is reminiscent of the GriGri or Rig style openings that allow the rope to easily be loaded. It's push button style locking mechanism is a quite a bit like the locking mechanism on a Rock Exotica Omni Block with its push and turn the cheek plate style operation.

The Chicane can be used with the Zig Zag or the Zig Zag Plus. The difference between these two devices is quite simple, the Zig Zag features a fixed connection point on the bottom of the device while the Zig Zag Plus features a swivel for the connection point between the device and the harness. Some climbers may feel that a swivel is superfluous and not needed but it can be a highly beneficial piece of gear when you start spinning this way and that way for better positioning when on long limb walks.

All in all the Chicane is an amazing device that allows the Zig Zag to have even more versatility while aloft. For those of you that have been hoping for an SRS option for the Zig Zag, it's here!
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