The ZigZag will be loaded onto the Treetools website later today where orders can be placed for February delivery.
Unlike other 'mechanical prussics' - think Spiderjack, LockJack or Unicender - the transition to the ZigZag should be fairly seamless. Petzl's own marketing claims the functionality of the ZigZag is identical to the classic 'hitch climber/friction hitch based' system.
Designed for use on EN 1891-A double rope 11.5 to 13mm in diameter the Petzl ZigZag has a couple of features that should attract an immediate tree climber following;
1) Integrated swivel
The swivel is built-in to the bridge connection point and should keep the device in optimal position for rope management.
2) Steel construction
The load bearing 'friction links' are stainless steel for increased durability - the wear on aluminum (Spiderjack, LockJack and Unicender) can be excessive when dirt is introduced to the equation.
3) Pulley sheave mounted on sealed bearings
The 'fair lead' pulley is mounted on sealed ball bearings for smooth management of slack. A pulley sheave running on bearings (rather than a spindle) usually translates to longer life and less noise in a fast descent.
Descent with the device is activated by pressing on the top 'release' lever. To stop, the user lifts their hand off the lever and the device jams on the rope. Varying the pressure on the release lever controls the speed of descent.
The unique friction links on the ZigZag ensure progressive braking for fluid movement around the tree.
The Petzl brand lends the ZigZag almost instant credibility but the market does not operate in a vacuum - competitors are bound to make negative noises about this new product if ZigZag sales start to carve up established business.