Friday, January 13, 2012

Pieces of Shkit, part 2: Bionic 8

Bionic 8, Mammut

I-beam construction on a figure 8 is like putting lettuce on your bacon cheeseburger to make it healthier: you're missing the point.

Figure 8s have almost entirely been replaced by more versatile gear, and as such were already obsolete by the time Germany invaded Poland. The first time. The last thing still going for them is that the thick, round body with which they are normally made yields a smooth rappel. So Mammut killed that too.

There are three types of people who still use figure 8s: 1) rescue teams, 2) arborists, and 3) gumbies. Search and rescue teams tend to need things made of heavy steel, which serves for strength, durability, and the occasional need to bludgeon yuppies who activate SPOT beacons because their water was too salty. As for the treefolk, is there some kind of fetish that's like furries but for wood? Barkies? Ent-ertainers? Treestiality? Splinterphilia???

Pandering to the ultralight sport rappelling crowd <giggle> has made a device that is useless to the those with actual need for figure 8s and pointless for everyone else. Mammut did, however, solve one important problem. The Bionic 8 officially ends the era in which the figure 8 was the only piece of climbing hardware incapable of opening a beer bottle, a feature that will be handy writing my next post.

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