Breaking Down the Petzl Maestro

Earlier this year, Petzl released its new descent control device, the Maestro.  It comes in two models, the Maestro S (10.5 – 11mm rope) and the Maestro L (12.5 – 13mm rope).  We have finally gotten our hands on the Maestro L and will be implementing it into our future training programs.  Here are a few of our initial thoughts on the device.

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One of the first things we noticed was how easy the device is to set up.  It has been designed incredibly well so that a rescuer can open the moving side plate and quickly identify how to load the rope into the system.  While seemingly a very simple task, other devices released on the market have not always been so intuitive.

The Maestro offers a significant amount of control when lowering, courtesy of several features.  The sheave that the rope wraps around in the device is textured and offers increased friction points.  As the rope leaves the device on the descent control side, there is a fixed brake for the rope to wrap around to form an S shape.  If needed, the rope can also be wrapped around an external brake that is built onto the device.  This extra turn gives the operator a lot of extra friction that helps him or her safely lower the load.  The handle used to control the descent locks automatically when released, and it features a small hole so you can even use a pilot cord to operate the handle remotely.

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In addition to offering additional friction points inside the device, the sheave is also large and works on sealed ball bearings.  This enables a mechanical advantage system to be rigged using the device while maintaining a high level of efficiency.  It is simple to use the device to set up simple mechanical advantage systems, including a 3:1 z-rig and a 4:1 system used for vertical confined space rescue scenarios.

Another new feature with the hauling aspect of the Maestro, is an audible click.  As the sheave spins during the raising evolution, the operator will hear an audible clicking sound.  The device does not offer the anti-panic or anti-error features like the Petzl ID.  However, if the device is accidentally rigged backwards, the audible clicking sound should alert the rescuer that something is wrong prior to the load breaking the edge.

Watch the video below to see how the Maestro works as the rope is raised (left hand pulling in video) and lowered (right hand pulling in video).

Note: NEVER operate the Maestro with the moving side plate open!  This video was taken in this configuration only to show how the device functions!

We have not been able to play around with the device much as a belay device, but we plan on covering that in a future blog post.  Here are some of our initial overall Pros and Cons of the Petzl Maestro L.

Pros:

  • NFPA 1983 General Use Certified (rated for up to 617 lb. loads)
  • Price is less than the similar CMC MPD
  • Design is very intuitive
  • Tremendous control when lowering
  • Hole in handle for remote operation
  • Audible click when raising
  • Large sheave offers great efficiency when raising
  • Built-in auxiliary attachment point (i.e., becket)

Cons:

  • Price is still more than the Petzl ID, which can offer similar functionality but without the higher efficiency when raising
  • Nearly twice the size of the Petzl ID
  • No anti-error feature
  • No anti-panic feature
  • Unable to open the moving side plate while connected to a carabiner
  • We discovered that some of our tri-links will not fit into the Maestro’s anchor attachment hole

Contact us if you want to set up some training or simply want to check out the new Petzl Maestro.  We can also provide a quote if you are interested in adding this new piece of equipment to your inventory.

Bill Elder
Owner / Lead Instructor
Elder Technical Rescue Services, LLC

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