Next Return

Advanced Base Camp (ABC)
(#211, 2205)

Front View: Closed Rear View: Closed
Front View: Closed Rear View: Closed
 
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging
Front View: Open for Rigging Rear View: Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired this pair of ascenders from The Outdoor Store in February 2007. I acquired another pair in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun’s collection.

Cam faceThe shell is a tall irregular shaped stamping made from 4.0 mm. aluminum alloy sheet metal. A rope channel is formed in the upper portion of one side and a smaller cam channel lies opposite the first. A hole drilled through both sides of the cam channel accepts a 5 mm. rivet. The cam and cam spring are mounted on this rivet. The handle below the cam has a soft "rubbery" hand grip molded into place. The hand grip has four shallow finger grooves. A 14.8 mm. sling attachment hole is punched below the handle opening, and a 9.8 mm. hole is punched outside the first. A 15.7 by 18.7 mm. pear shaped hole through both sides of the rope channel provides an attachment point just above the cam. There is a punched cam stop just above the cam.

This ascender uses a standard Climbing Technology cam found on many of their handled and handleless eccentric cam ascenders. The cam is a plated skeletonized steel casting. The cam radius, measured from the pivot, increases from 38 to 57 mm. over an angle of 40°, giving a 31° cam angle. The cam has number of small conical teeth, all of which have their axes approximately parallel to the lower surface of the cam. The tooth pattern is (3.4.2)(1H1.2)^3(3.2), where the "H" stands for a 4 mm. wide, 6 mm. wide inverted subtriangular hole.

A spring-loaded manual safety is mounted mounted on an axle riveted to the center of the cam. The normal action of the spring holds the safety against the cam. When the cam is opened, the shell interferes with the safety tab, thus preventing opening the cam. If the safety is moved away from the cam (opposing the spring), the tab will clear the shell and the cam will open. At full open the safety can be released and the spring will hold the arm against the back of the shell, locking the cam open.

The front of ascenders are printed with an icon showing the ascender on rope, an arrow pointing up, and "ROPE 8<Ø<13mm." The back is printed with "CT Made in EEC 0205," a book-with-an-"i" icon, the Advanced Base Camp ABC logo, "CE0639," "EN 567," the UIAA logo, and "Patented." The cam on the left ascender has "L1" in raised letters, while the right-hand ascender cam has "L2."

Comments

The Advanced Base Camp is one of the following group of ascenders, all of which are variations of the same basic design using the same cam safety style:

Image Ascender Manufactured Hand Grip Cam Safety Pin
Advanced Base Camp Advanced Base Camp 03/2005 Plain Smooth
Climbing Technology Amelia Climbing Technology
Amelia
03/2008 Textured Smooth
Climbing Technology Quick'Up, Version A Climbing Technology
Quick'Up, Version A
03/2014
  • Textured
  • Molded markings
Knurled
Climbing Technology Quick'Up, Version B Climbing Technology
Quick'Up, Version B
01/2015
  • Textured
  • Molded markings
  • Index finger support
Knurled
Climbing Technology Quick'Up+ Climbing Technology
Quick'Up+
08/2020 (L)
06/2020 (R)
  • Textured
  • Molded markings
  • Index finger support
  • Two plastic types & colors
Knurled
Image Ascender Manufactured Hand Grip Cam Safety Pin
Cypher, Version A Cypher, Version A 01/2017
  • Textured
  • Molded markings
  • Index finger support
Knurled
Cypher, Version B Cypher, Version B 05/2020
  • Textured
  • Molded markings
  • Index finger support
  • Two plastic types & colors
Knurled
Edelrid Elevator Edelrid Elevator 03/2005 Plain Smooth
Singing Rock Lift Singing Rock Lift,
Version A
05/2010 (L)
01/2012 (R)
Plain Smooth
 

Climbing Technology Ltd. of Cisano Bergamasco, Italy made all of these ascenders.Climbing Technology also made a version of the Amelia for Repetto Sport, but I never acquired that version.

These are well-made ascenders and perform much like the Petzl Ascension. All sharp edges have been removed. The attachment points are simple yet well-rounded holes in the shell; even so, I would consider their small radius too sharp for directly attaching sling ropes. They are probably acceptably rounded for webbing, but considering the proximity of the attachment points to the main rope, I would recommend using a small maillon for most attachments in order to reduce the risk of sling abrasion. The lower attachment hole could theoretically have the same safety problems as the one described for the Clog Version B.

The upper rope attachment hole is located very close to the main rope. A carabiner through the upper attachment hole will probably drag on the main line. Note that such a carabiner will prevent putting the ascender on or off rope, so one's climbing system must be designed accordingly.

The safety is one of the easiest to use with one hand. It reminds me of the one on the Hugh Banner and the PMI Cat, but the ones on these are smoother. The "thumbing" feature is clever but does not work well on ropes larger than about 11 mm: the cam does not open enough for the down-sloping teeth to reliably miss catching on the rope sheath. I think it is better to simply grasp the ascender from above and lift the ascender in the traditional manner (unless, of course, you are one of those who prefers to climb Frog). The ribbed handle is comfortable enough for my large hands, but I don't climb by gripping ascenders at their handle.

The rubber handle grips have evolved with time. They are not particularly comfortable for me because the ribs are spaced poorly for my large hands. In addition, the handle on the older models is "too square" for my taste. A file can eliminate both objections, but I suspect that few people will find a need to modify theirs.

The cam is very well made. The cam stop is placed in a position where it will actually touch the cam if the ascender is off rope. Many manufacturers put cam stops in odd places where they can never touch the cam. I don't see much need for cam stops, most active cavers don't weight enough to bend their ascenders to failure by cam pull-through, and there is no need to shock load one's ascenders.

The small pin on the cam safety performs an interesting function: pushing down on the ring (or post) causes the safety tab to lever the cam open, but not enough to let the rope free. This provides an alternate way to "thumb" the ascender.

The cam closing stop contacts the cam at the same time that the cam face contacts the inside of the rope groove. In any case, the stop only functions when the ascender is off rope, so I consider it to be superfluous. Its only purpose is to achieve a higher strength in artificial tests prescribed by various standards.

The holes in the cam face are intended to reduce the risk of ascender slippage due to mud-caked cam teeth. The design appears superior to some, but most ropes muddy enough to stop other ascenders will stop the this one as well. If you climb muddy ropes, expect to encounter slipping problems with any eccentric cam ascender.

This ascender has the same pit lip disadvantage as the Clog and other stamped frame ascenders, although the reinforcing will help prevent bending.

I'm not sure the extra holes are needed at the base. Except for the Petzl Pompe, I've never found a real need for a second hole. Some people like them, and I might find them more appealing if they were large enough for a standard carabiner to fit through.

If you are looking for a stamped-frame handled ascender, any of these would be a good choice.

Instructions