FIRST LOOK at the new Petzl ascenders on Pit Rope

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Re: FIRST LOOK at the new Petzl ascenders on Pit Rope

Postby Extremeophile » Feb 8, 2013 3:21 pm

In the brochure for the Basic it shows it can be used as a rope grab in haul systems. I'm not sure if the old Basic had the same approved use. NCRC classes I've taken discourage (if not outright forbid) the use of most ascenders for this use. The only rope grabs they approved were Prusiks and the Rescu/Micro-scenders - the argument being that these won't sever the rope at higher loads. Is it possible the new Basic has been designed with enough of a recess that it performs like a Rescuescender? It has the same sharp teeth as always, so I wouldn't expect it to slip at higher loads. It's more likely to just cut the sheath.
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Re: FIRST LOOK at the new Petzl ascenders on Pit Rope

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Feb 8, 2013 4:51 pm

Extremeophile wrote:Is it possible the new Basic has been designed with enough of a recess that it performs like a Rescuescender? It has the same sharp teeth as always, so I wouldn't expect it to slip at higher loads. It's more likely to just cut the sheath.


I don't think it's any different in that sense. I'd certainly use one as the "lead" ascender (not the progress capture) of a 3:1 in a self-rescue situation, but I don't think I'd put an actual rescue load on one.
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Re: FIRST LOOK at the new Petzl ascenders on Pit Rope

Postby kevinm » Feb 11, 2013 1:51 pm

Jeff Bartlett wrote:UPDATE: I used these in a local (TN) project cave with some fixed 11mm ropes last weekend, and had some pretty major issues with the Croll not feeding. Tough to tell whether it's a spring-tension issue with a brand new ascender, or if there's more rope channel friction, or what. I'll need to use these a bunch more before I can formulate a thorough opinion.

I also encountered a rope that would barely fit in the rope channel of the Basic, though once I got it in there both ascenders were fine.


interesting. So the Basic fed fine, but the Croll didn't. Any idea why? Is the new Croll more angle sensitive due to the narrow channel?
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Re: FIRST LOOK at the new Petzl ascenders on Pit Rope

Postby Extremeophile » Feb 11, 2013 3:39 pm

kevinm wrote:
Jeff Bartlett wrote:UPDATE: I used these in a local (TN) project cave with some fixed 11mm ropes last weekend, and had some pretty major issues with the Croll not feeding. Tough to tell whether it's a spring-tension issue with a brand new ascender, or if there's more rope channel friction, or what. I'll need to use these a bunch more before I can formulate a thorough opinion.

I also encountered a rope that would barely fit in the rope channel of the Basic, though once I got it in there both ascenders were fine.


interesting. So the Basic fed fine, but the Croll didn't. Any idea why? Is the new Croll more angle sensitive due to the narrow channel?

I had a similar experience using the new ascenders this weekend. The Basic feeds fine because it's always tensioned from below by the Croll. There might be a little more friction against the sides of the narrower channel, but with tension from below this isn't really noticeable. The new Croll doesn't self-start as well as the old one, and I'm reasonably certain this is because of the narrower channel. With the old Croll you could generally self start right from the ground as long as you stood up in alignment with the rope, and then once you were 15-20 feet off the ground even that didn't matter. With the new Croll it doesn't want to self feed on larger diameter ropes until you're maybe 20-30 feet off the ground even when you do stay in alignment with the rope. I did climb one short 9mm rope with it, but had some of the same problems. There seemed to be less friction with the channel, but the rope itself is lighter. However, this was a short pitch with a lip only 8 feet off the ground, so it was hard to judge. I definitely like the light weight and small size. I wore them through a 10 inch squeeze where I had to remove my chest harness and old Croll last year. I'll probably wear the Pantin more often with the new Croll to avoid these feeding issues.
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Re: FIRST LOOK at the new Petzl ascenders on Pit Rope

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Feb 11, 2013 4:13 pm

Extremeophile wrote:With the new Croll it doesn't want to self feed on larger diameter ropes until you're maybe 20-30 feet off the ground even when you do stay in alignment with the rope.


This concurs with my experience so far, including the "20-30 feet" estimate. It was fine on dry 11mm in a big pit here in TAG, but that climb was against a wall and I always have an easier time self-starting when I'm fending off a wall with one foot (for some reason). It was very, very fiddly with 8mm rope that Buddy Lane provided for a recent trip two weeks ago, but I was hesitant to draw conclusions there since I certainly don't climb 8-mil very often. It was very frustrating with fixed 11mm rigging one week ago, working fine on one piece but not self-starting at all until 20-30 feet off the deck. Unless you're just bouncing giant pits, 30 feet of frustration is a huge problem; in a cave where our post-survey exit required 5 pitches of <60 feet, it was downright maddening. 12 hours into a trip, I don't want to be holding myself up with one hand while I pull rope through my Croll with the other.

This weekend I used the new Basic in conjunction with my old Croll, managed about 800 feet of rope climbing and I am really, really enjoying the new Basic. Perhaps it's time for me to consider a Pantin if I want to continue using the new Croll!
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Re: FIRST LOOK at the new Petzl ascenders on Pit Rope

Postby Scott McCrea » Feb 11, 2013 4:18 pm

New croll + pantin = bigger than old croll.

Sounds to me like this new design may need some tweeks.
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Re: FIRST LOOK at the new Petzl ascenders on Pit Rope

Postby NZcaver » Feb 12, 2013 2:00 am

Jeff Bartlett wrote:
Extremeophile wrote:Is it possible the new Basic has been designed with enough of a recess that it performs like a Rescuescender? It has the same sharp teeth as always, so I wouldn't expect it to slip at higher loads. It's more likely to just cut the sheath.


I don't think it's any different in that sense. I'd certainly use one as the "lead" ascender (not the progress capture) of a 3:1 in a self-rescue situation, but I don't think I'd put an actual rescue load on one.

FYI - you might want to flip that order around. If you do use a toothed cam ascender in a haul system, better it be the progress capture than the haul cam.

Thanks to both you guys for putting the new ascenders through their paces. I'm going to wait a little longer before shelling out for a new Croll. :wink:
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Re: FIRST LOOK at the new Petzl ascenders on Pit Rope

Postby Mike Hopley » Feb 12, 2013 10:09 am

The Basic has long been used in haul systems (small party self-rescue).


Scott McCrea wrote:New croll + pantin = bigger than old croll.

Sounds to me like this new design may need some tweeks.


Petzl are probably expecting cavers to use a Pantin nowadays. That's generally the case in Europe, at least on expeditions.

A smaller chest ascender will be a blessing in tight meanders.
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Re: FIRST LOOK at the new Petzl ascenders on Pit Rope

Postby paul » Feb 13, 2013 7:20 am

Mike Hopley wrote:The Basic has long been used in haul systems (small party self-rescue).


Scott McCrea wrote:New croll + pantin = bigger than old croll.

Sounds to me like this new design may need some tweeks.


Petzl are probably expecting cavers to use a Pantin nowadays. That's generally the case in Europe, at least on expeditions.

A smaller chest ascender will be a blessing in tight meanders.


In fact, I suspect part of the modifications seen in the new Croll, the additional protection on the budy by the rope slot, are probably as a result of more cavers nowadays using Pantins.

Since I started to regularly use a Pantin several years ago I have notice the wear on my Croll has accelerated, especially around the central maillon attachment hole.
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Re: FIRST LOOK at the new Petzl ascenders on Pit Rope

Postby Mike Hopley » Feb 13, 2013 8:22 am

paul wrote:In fact, I suspect part of the modifications seen in the new Croll, the additional protection on the budy by the rope slot, are probably as a result of more cavers nowadays using Pantins.


Yes, I think that's right.

Strangely I didn't notice much difference myself, but a lot of cavers get increased wear at the top of the Croll, creating a sharp V notch.
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Re: FIRST LOOK at the new Petzl ascenders on Pit Rope

Postby potholer » Feb 13, 2013 8:58 am

Mike Hopley wrote:Strangely I didn't notice much difference myself, but a lot of cavers get increased wear at the top of the Croll, creating a sharp V notch.

I used to get some wear at the top of a Croll even when frogging, though my first couple of Crolls ultimately ended up retired due to cam wear.

After adopting a Pantin soon after they came out, despite making a point of keeping the Pantin foot well back whenever possible, I now get wear on the Croll all the way down the front, due to increased rope tension below, and frame wear is the cause of my recent Croll retirements.

Having seen the new Croll, I'm not sure whether I'd have preferred that they had just added a stainless wear plate to the original design, but i suppose I don't have a huge desire for miniaturising vertical gear.

Having seen the new Pantin, I went and bought myself a spare old one while they were still available, since my existing one is getting close to retirement, and the new model doesn't seem to leave much possibility for adding resistance to unwanted cam opening.
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Re: FIRST LOOK at the new Petzl ascenders on Pit Rope

Postby Mike Hopley » Feb 14, 2013 1:07 pm

potholer wrote:Having seen the new Pantin, I went and bought myself a spare old one while they were still available, since my existing one is getting close to retirement, and the new model doesn't seem to leave much possibility for adding resistance to unwanted cam opening.


Interesting point; I hadn't thought of that. Presumably this would also make it difficult to use as an emergency replacement for the hand jammer.

Looking at the documentation, I can't see anywhere to clip a krab for securing the cam. Oh well, I can always use my micro-traxion instead.
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Re: FIRST LOOK at the new Petzl ascenders on Pit Rope

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Feb 18, 2013 11:02 am

After more testing, I have further appended my write-up with the following update:

Jeff Bartlett wrote:
UPDATE 2, 2013-02-18: After using these more extensively in-cave, the new Croll is consistently difficult to self-start and feed, even as high as 25-30 feet off the ground. This is a non-issue for Pantin users, but likely a deal-breaker for US cavers employing a “standard” French-style frog system without foot ascender. It’s possible that Petzl is assuming, at this point, all froggers are using the Pantin, which has certainly seen an increase in popularity (especially in Europe).

If you use 11mm ropes and no Pantin — or if you’re ropewalking! — you’re not likely to enjoy the new Croll. Unfortunately, after further testing, I cannot recommend this ascender for this application. The new Basic remains highly-recommended for frogging, though would likely suffer from the same issue when employed in a double-bungee system.
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Re: FIRST LOOK at the new Petzl ascenders on Pit Rope

Postby Mike Hopley » Feb 18, 2013 12:20 pm

Jeff, do you feel these issues apply to thinner ropes (8 -- 10 mm)? Or is it only a problem with 11 mm rope?
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Re: FIRST LOOK at the new Petzl ascenders on Pit Rope

Postby Jeff Bartlett » Feb 18, 2013 12:59 pm

Mike Hopley wrote:Jeff, do you feel these issues apply to thinner ropes (8 -- 10 mm)? Or is it only a problem with 11 mm rope?

I just don't know yet. I had a bit of trouble on some 8mm, as noted in the original review, but those were all awkward 5-10m climbs on custom PMI rope where it's hard to make any kind of inference. It's also worth noting that all of the rope I've tried this Croll on so far has been fixed rigging, for whatever that's worth. But we use thin ropes so rarely here in the US, it's hard for me to really make a statement with any authority.
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