Current Retail: $79.95
Historic Range: $55.92-$89.95
Does what it is supposed to do quite well.
- Nice additon to a frog system
- Can "kick off" the rope
- Takes quite a bit of practice
I have been using the Patin for years as a supplement to my Frog Ascension.
Normally, when you start out ascending a rope, you have to pinch the rope between your feet to get started. This is because, until you get a good 10' off the ground, there is not enough weight on the rope to automatically pull it through the ascenders. Pinching the rope with construction boots on can be a task, and a climber can expend a lot of energy in the initial ascent.
The Pantin eliminates the need to pinch the rope. It connects to your boot, and all you have to do is step up. The cam engages and up you go!
It is important to note that the Pantin is NOT rated as a life-supporting device. It cannot take the place of a foot and chest ascender. It is simply a convenient way to start your climb without wasting energy.
As with all Petzl products I have owned, the quality of the Pantin is exceptional. I have used this device dozens (scores?) of times in extremely muddy and wet conditions. After 8 years, it is still in excellent condition and ready to go. Because it is not a life-supporting device, I am less concern with the "retirement age" of the webbing that connects under the boot and around the ankle.
The Pantin is NOT an "essential" piece of a frog system. I know many cavers who don't bother with using this unit. They cite it is one more piece of equipment to deal with in a system where everything needs to "hum along" to work well. While I agree understand their point of view, I personally want to conserve my energy for the long climbs.
As I state in many of my reviews, rope work in a cave is dangerous. One should not just pick up a bunch of equipment and go try it out. Join a caving club (called a "Grotto" and found at www.caves.org) and learn from them. It is also wise to find out what your local Grotto is using in caves. If you are using a system they are unfamiliar with, it will be difficult for them to assist you, should you get into trouble (and, yes, cavers get into trouble on ropes all the time. Usually, it's not a big deal, but then others wind up in the obituary section, because they didn't know what they were doing.)
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: retail