After tragically losing my beloved Petzl Pantin somewhere in the muddy crawls of Easegill, I decided to have a crack with a cheaper replacement foot ascender, as seems to be my thing at the moment. I went for the Newdoar SUT ascender.
One of these days I might discover the next underdog superstar brand to unseat the big players, but once again, as per my Splav oversuit experiment, it looks like this perhaps wasn’t the one.
To be fair, I’m still using it after around 25 trips, and while it does its basic job, it just doesn’t hit the same as the Pantin. My main gripe is how noticeably less than the Pantin the rope flows through the device. It takes a good 8+ metres of rope weight before it starts to float through the Newdoar, meaning frustrating manual feeds or just straight up avoiding clipping it in until well into a pitch. The Pantin would typically start floating through after 3 or 4 metres.
The bottom strap also broke after around 15 trips and needed sewing. Good job it’s not load-bearing PPE, eh? It also sits weirdly when worn on wellies, seeming to pivot at the wrong point on the foot for maximum efficiency. I suppose this is an unfair point given that it’s not sold as a caving-specific foot ascender; it was probably designed for less cruel conditions, and to be mounted on a boot.
These points said though, it was considerably cheaper than the Pantin (I paid about £18). I’ll be using it until it totally dies as I’m just too Yorkshire to pay out for a replacement for something that still works. Maybe I’ll warm to it, maybe it’ll soften up with age (don’t we all?) and flow more freely, but I think I’ve decided my next foot ascender will be another Pantin.