Ascender advice

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Ascender advice

Postby Smells_Familiar » Dec 29, 2011 12:24 am

I was about to buy some Petzl Ascensions for the frog setups I'm building for my son and I when I noticed they just changed the design of them a bit. They've redesigned the cams and cam triggers amongst other things. Now the cam triggers are recessed and don't protrude outside of the frame any longer. Does anyone have any feedback on the new design...or better yet, has anyone had problems with the now old designs' triggers getting caught on rock or something and inadvertently detaching from the rope?

Would anyone recommend a different hand held ascender instead of the lefty ascension that you think is superior? I'm buying gear for myself and my 12 yo son that we'll be using for years and I want to make sure I buy things with the best design possible for the job. All help is appreciated! :kewl:
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Re: Ascender advice

Postby NZcaver » Dec 29, 2011 3:25 am

Smells_Familiar wrote:I was about to buy some Petzl Ascensions for the frog setups I'm building for my son and I when I noticed they just changed the design of them a bit. They've redesigned the cams and cam triggers amongst other things. Now the cam triggers are recessed and don't protrude outside of the frame any longer. Does anyone have any feedback on the new design...or better yet, has anyone had problems with the now old designs' triggers getting caught on rock or something and inadvertently detaching from the rope?

Interesting. I've had a brief play with the latest black Petzl Ascensions, but didn't consciously notice the safety catch as being much different from the version immediately preceding. Looking at the cam safety catch closeup photo on the Petzl website here it seems they do still protrude.

To address problems with protruding safety catches, I've never experienced this personally but other cavers reportedly have. You might want to read through the Petzl Basic Modification topic. It's old, but has some great info. Particularly the incident report about the detaching descender (also online here). This incident was thoroughly discussed by an ad-hoc forum jury which concluded it was more a case of operator/instructor error than faulty safety catch design. In particular, the use of a left handed upper ascender by a right handed novice who used it in their right hand with the cam facing away from the body and scraping against the rock.

Would anyone recommend a different hand held ascender instead of the lefty ascension that you think is superior? I'm buying gear for myself and my 12 yo son that we'll be using for years and I want to make sure I buy things with the best design possible for the job. All help is appreciated! :kewl:

The previous design plastic catch Petzl righty works better than the lefty for me, but that's because I'm right handed. To each his own. Ergonomically I now prefer the plastic catch Petzl over my earlier screw-out safety catch versions, and much prefer it over my old Jumars and CMI. Other forum members with different ascenders may be able to offer further advice. Hope this helps.
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Re: Ascender advice

Postby Smells_Familiar » Dec 29, 2011 5:31 am

NZ, Thanks much! That does help.

Regarding the new ascension design: a couple of days ago I noticed that the description had very recently changed (like in the last few days) on the IMO site but the pic still showed the "old" design, so I went to Petzl's US site. They too had changed the description to mention the recessed cam trigger, a progressively wider handle, redesigned cam, ect. but they have a pic of the old design as well! So I went to the karstsports site and they have an updated description and what appears to be a picture of the new design. You can click on the pic to enlarge here. I called IMO to see if they actually had the new design in stock since I was placing an order for other items anyway, but they only have the old. I haven't called karstsports yet.
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Re: Ascender advice

Postby NZcaver » Dec 29, 2011 6:43 am

Hmmm, interesting. The safety on that version looks significantly different. Thanks!

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Re: Ascender advice

Postby Caver John » Dec 29, 2011 3:19 pm

I've recently had the chance to use one of these, fwiw, only on a hand line, but...
It was nice and light and the handle is a little smaller than the camp pilot(similar to ascension) I'm used to.
I like the safety on the camp better, it is what I'm used to but...
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Re: Ascender advice

Postby Caver John » Dec 29, 2011 3:25 pm

I think the safety function on the camp is simpler and easier with gloves.
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Re: Ascender advice

Postby gdstorrick » Dec 29, 2011 5:11 pm

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Re: Ascender advice

Postby NZcaver » Dec 29, 2011 9:18 pm

gdstorrick wrote:I didn't like the sharpened thumbdigging point on the last version. A while back I cut an Ascentree in two, just to see what one half would be like. As for the safety: slick. I mean, my thumb slides right off.

In terms of the protruding safety, I wonder if Petzl has gone from one extreme too far to the other. :shrug:
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Re: Ascender advice

Postby gdstorrick » Dec 30, 2011 5:40 am

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Re: Ascender advice

Postby caverdoc » Dec 31, 2011 10:57 am

Hmm, yet another toy for the Kennedy Kave Kache. This one snuck up on me, guess I better check up on the vendor websites more often.

I've used a wide variety of ascenders and used to regularly check out Dr Storricks "vertical devices" website, in fact, I contributed a couple of them. I miss that website, but understand the upkeep and repeated internet attacks....

My favorite ascenders/most used are the Petzls. I have a few devices of mine accumulated over the years, including my grey Jumars from the 1970s when they were "the" ascender to buy, but expensive for a college student. I even have a single Hiebler, having donated the other to Phil Whitfield of BCCR. On a regular basis, I use SRT (Australian), ABC and Jumars. After one of the NCRC courses I took a liking to the PMI series of ascenders (similar to the Petzls) but just have not gotten around to picking up a set.

Bet advice I can give you: see what the other cavers in your club/area are using and borrow them at a a vertical training session, such as pulley-in-a-tree climbing, or short cliff. Then decide what you would like to use.

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Re: Ascender advice

Postby gdstorrick » Dec 31, 2011 8:32 pm

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Re: Ascender advice

Postby Chads93GT » Dec 31, 2011 8:42 pm

I'm curious. I'm from Illinois which town did you move to?
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Re: Ascender advice

Postby gdstorrick » Jan 1, 2012 7:28 am

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Re: Ascender advice

Postby gdstorrick » Jan 1, 2012 7:44 am

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Re: Ascender advice

Postby Chads93GT » Jan 1, 2012 10:46 am

Wow. Way up north. Just move to the other extreme end of I55. Plenty of caves down this way lol
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