Our RIDER 3.0 has won the OutDoor Industry Award gold prize. We spoke to our product developer Robert Krüger about our high-performance via ferrata set. He explains what makes the RIDER 3.0 so safe and how you use it.
Question: Robert, according to the OutDoor Industry Awards jury, the RIDER 3.0 is a major step forward in terms of via ferrata safety. Why does it stand out from other solutions?
Robert Krüger: There are two reasons for this. Firstly, it is due to the significant reduction in the fall distance and, secondly, it is simple and convenient to handle and use. A special feature of the RIDER 3.0 is an integrated ascender. The clamping function reduces considerably the fall distance on the via ferrata. With a conventional via ferrata set the fall distance can be as much as 9.60 metres at worst; with the RIDER the distance is 3.80 metres. This is 60 percent less. The longer a fall, the greater also the energy impacting on the climber, the material and the climbing path equipment. Where the fall height is less the climber is less at risk of serious injury striking against the wall or the via ferrata components. The RIDER, therefore, reduces this potential fall distance and as a result – when used correctly – can help to prevent a heavy fall and injuries.
Question: And why is it so easy to use?
Robert Krüger: You carry the RIDER with you like a carabiner when climbing on a via ferrata. Unlike the carabiner, however, the RIDER always remains on a level thanks to the clamping mechanism. This makes via ferrata much easier to use – and faster too in certain circumstances. So, for example, when reattaching you no longer have to bend forward with your flex arm towards the second carabiner which has “shot down” away from you.
Question: How do I use the RIDER in the first place?
Robert Krüger: You use the RIDER like you would a via ferrata carabiner or one-handed opening mechanism, using the heel of the hand. You can grip the device with your whole hand and open it by pressing on the sides. This is a simple and highly ergonomic principle. The device has the advantage that it can also be handled by less experienced users and, of course, also with via ferrata gloves. You then put the RIDER on the cable and carry it with you like a carabiner – only with the significant advantage that the RIDER always remains on a level and cannot slip down like a carabiner.
What’s more, it is important that the RIDER is always wielded above the carabiner. In the event of a fall it cannot then be damaged by the plummeting carabiner. When using the RIDER it is necessary to take into account the correct running direction and the correct order when reattaching.
Question: What else do I need to take into account when using the RIDER?
Robert Krüger: You have to attach the RIDER in the correct running direction on the cable so that the ascender on the device also functions. Labelling on the top of the RIDER indicates how this works. The arrow must always face upwards when ascending or descending. Only then is it correctly secured to the cable.
Question: But you also mentioned reattaching. What is the necessary way to do it?
Robert Krüger: It all comes down to the right order! In order to provide protection to the RIDER, when reattaching on the via ferrata, uphill it is necessary to reattach the carabiner first at all times. Because should the climber fall when reattaching, he would fall into the RIDER and remain fully protected. In the event of a fall, on the other hand, where the RIDER is not fixed in the cable, the climber falls the entire distance to the next anchor with the carabiner. Downhill, first the RIDER must always be reattached and then the carabiner.
Question: Can I use the RIDER on any via ferrata?
Robert Krüger: The RIDER is suitable for use on all via ferrata with a steel cable of 12 to 16 mm. This means that 90 to 95 percent of all via ferrata in Europe are covered. There are, however, climbing sites in which thinner and thicker cables, sometimes even chains are installed.
Question how can I determine the diameter of the cable?
Question: And how can I use via ferrata which do not have a cable diameter between 12 and 16 mm?
Robert Krüger: By clipping a carabiner into the RIDER and using it like a conventional via ferrata set. This option can also be used for sections in which a chain, for instance, has been installed.
The best thing here is to use a twistlock carabiner. It can be used conveniently one-handed. But you must make sure that the carabiner opening points away from the cable or rocks.
Robert, thank you very much for the in-depth answers all about our RIDER 3.0.