Lazy or Clever?

I recently purchased a brand new rollgliss R500 with 450' of static rope. It has a hand crank for lifting. I took off the hand crank and coupled a cordless drill to the gear box. The drill on low speed worked fine for lifting me (180lbs plus gear). The motor did not get hot and I climbed 60' in less than 5 minutes. I used a rope brake above the R500 as a backup. After reaching the top I set my climbing line and disconnected from the R500. I used my hitch climber and a figure 8 for decent.

The rollgliss was 175.00 on ebay, retail was around 2 to 3 thousand. A wraptor is around 2800. I think I did pretty good on price and it works better than expected. At the very least I have a cordless winch.

Thoughts, comments, suggestions?


Well-Known Member
I'm leaning towards clever. Great find!
I wonder what your max load would be (could it lift you with a big saw and rigging?)...and how fast the battery drains.
It is rated for 620lbs max. Because it is life support equipment I would imagine it has a pretty good wwl to mbs ratio. I will do more testing this weekend. I plan on trying it on a 80 to 90 foot pine. I will keep everybody updated on how this device is performing.


Well-Known Member
Life support has to be 10x..

Interesting that the MBS is exactly 6200. That is the absolute minimum for 2 person lifts. Well engineered I would guess

Wraptors do about 100' minute

With the rope grab I see no issues other than hopefully you are tying into the bottom of the device so you can descend?


Well-Known Member
Funny that device is custom built for NFPA standards which is why it costs $2000 and doesn't even have a motor!! Their requirements are rather outdated in my opinion. They prohibit the use of ANY motorized device for personel hoists because they had a spate of guys getting ripped in half by Warn winches on trucks. Back then they comunicated with walkies, drop it and you can't yell stop.

It would be tough to support 6200 on a rope but it obviously could be done. Nobody will make one though because of NFPA regs. So imo they are making rescue workers jobs a lot more costly and dangerous than it needs to be


Well-Known Member
Might be possible to cobble a weedwhacker motor to one of these, for a DIY Wraptor. Just need a motor big enough, with a clutch that kicks in when you rev it. But I think these Rollgliss gadgets have a centrifugal brake in them, for controlled descent, so there may be a limit to how fast you can turn them before the brake kicks in. An increased rate of ascent might require disabling the internal brake, which would then interfere with its original use as an emergency descender. I just saw some more of these on eBay, with some less than $200. If they still come with that huge chunk of new rope, that seems quite a bargain.
- Stew


Well-Known Member
Unfortunately it's not as easy as just throwing a motor on it, said motor needs to be matched to a gearbox. A used Tanaka drill is an option though.
The device is made for controlled descent. It is limited at 3'/minute. I just did a 90' ascent in 3 minutes. The battery was at 75% and the drill was slightly warm.

The new version, r550, has a stub on the lifting hub that is intended for a drill chuck to attach to. That is what gave me the idea of converting a r500. It is only intended for short lifts and long descents.

This time I attached s long prusik above the rope brake. If the rope brake were to fail or sever the rope I still had a backup. I also ran my climbing line through the rope brake in case I needed to descend before reaching a tip.