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Petzl Zigzag

Updated: Oct 22, 2019

The Zigzag is an excellent piece of hardware from an excellent company with deep roots in climbing! The Zigzag was the revolutionary hitch cord replacement, and is still my go-to friction management device. I have bought two of these in the last 4 years, and they are both still in use, but the older of the two tends to slip when used with a new rope on a pulley based tie in point (TIP) or on a single rope configuration. They have proven to be durable, reliable, and mostly unhindered by the occasional sap exposure they frequently encounter in evergreens of the west coast where I work. The zigzag is smooth on ascent, tends exactly like a hitch-cord/tending pulley system and has more than made up for the initial cost in the number of hitch cords I haven’t needed to replace. It works exceptionally well with either the Chicane or the rope wrench in a single rope configuration. The only times when I will choose a different friction management device is when I am using a very long rope and can more easily use a mid-line attachable device instead. Indeed, the two shortcomings of the zigzag are its vulnerability to being side loaded when climbing over a limb, and the need to feed the whole rope through the device with every rope change. All in all, I would heartily recommend, and I intend to buy another myself now that the new more SRT friendly design has come out.


1. Smooth

2. Intuitive transition from hitch and pulley setup

3. Durable and Reliable

4. Proven Versatile for use with DDRT and SRT

5. Gradual release of rope (no sudden on/off feel like with other devices)


1. Expensive

2. Difficult to set up with potential to do it wrong

3. Difficult to get a rope through which approaches the maximum recommended diameter or a “fuzzy” well used rope through it

4. NOT midline attachable

Here is the second edition of the zigzag next to the new zigzag plus

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