The Petzl Pirana is a popular canyoning descender, particularly in Europe. It is one of a family of advanced Figure 8 style descenders that use horns to provide additional friction settings. It is quick and easy to get on and off rope.
The device can be rigged with one of three initial friction settings — slow, medium, or fast — when attaching to the rope. Once abseiling it is then possible to add further friction using the horns. It can also be locked off quickly, easily, and securely when needed.
Petzl recommend that the Pirana be used with a dedicated round style HMS carabiner. The small hole and plastic insert hold the ‘biner firmly in place, reducing the risk of cross loading. This firm fit also keeps the device firmly attached when getting on and off rope to prevent it being dropped.
The design of the Pirana prevents the formation of a girth hitch, which can form with traditional Figure 8 devices. The unique shape also reduces rope twist.
(Note: heavier canyoners or those using thinner ropes — 8mm to 8.5mm diameter — may find the Pirana lacks adequate friction.)
- can be rigged with a range of friction settings
- friction can be easily added while on rope
- design prevents carabiner cross-loading or accidental loss of device
- compact, light-weight, yet hard-wearing
- Weight: 90 grams
- Material: hot forged aluminium
- Dimensions: ??mm long, ??mm wide
- Made in: France
Using the Pirana:
The image below indicates the three friction settings that can be set before abseiling, along the the recommended ways of utilising the horns to add friction during descent.
For a temporary stop, the rope can be wrapped twice around the horns, however the brake hand must remain on the rope.
The below image shows two techniques for a longer tie-off where you wish to have both hands free. The first is a continuation of the temporary stop, with the addition of a releasable knot. This is recommended when free hanging as the simple tie-off on the right can be difficult to undo.