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Grivel

A&D, Version A A&D, Version B A1
A&D, Version A A&D, Version B A1

Overview


A&D, Version A
(#1981, 1982, 2087, 2088)

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 a pair of Grivel A&D ascenders from Backcountry Gear in 2014. I acquired another pair in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun’s collection.

The Grivel A&D is 204 mm. tall, 97 mm. wide, 23 mm. thick, and weighs 257 g.

The shell is a tall irregular shaped stamping made from 4.0 mm. aluminum alloy sheet metal. Instead of the traditional front strap, the frame has a slotted aluminum forging riveted in place. More on this later. A 16 mm. wide rope channel is formed in the upper portion of one side of the shell and a smaller cam channel lies opposite the first. A hole drilled through both sides of the cam channel accepts a 5.5 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 a slight break to support the index finger. An 18.8 mm. sling attachment hole is punched below the handle opening, and an 10.8 mm. hole is punched below and outside the first. A 13.3 by 19.5 mm. oval hole punched through both sides of the rope channel provides an attachment point just above the cam, and a 15.6 mm. hole beside it provides a second attachment point.

Cam faceThe aluminum forging is 88.2 mm. long, 24.4 mm. wide, and 8.1 mm. thick. The ends are rounded, and a rectangular recessed area at each end provides a place for riveting the stamped frame to the forging. The forging has a 57 mm. long, 13.1 mm. wide slot that can be used for rappelling or belaying, much one would with a Sticht plate.

The cam is a stainless steel casting with an open web. The cam radius increases from 38 to 57 mm. over an angle of 44°, giving a 28° cam angle. The cam has number of small conical teeth, all of which have their axes approximately aligned with the cam axle. The tooth pattern is (3)^3(1S1)^5(3)^2. The reverse side behind the cam face being sloped rather than parallel to the cam axle.

A spring-loaded manual safety tab is mounted on the bottom of the cam with a steel semi-tubular rivet. The normal action of the spring holds the safety against the cam. When the cam is opened, the shell interferes with the safety bar, thus preventing opening the cam. If the safety bar is moved away from the cam (opposing the spring), it will clear the shell and the cam will open. At full open the safety can be released and the spring will hold the safety against the back of the shell. This provides a means of locking the cam open.

The front of ascender shells are printed with an up-pointing arrow above the words "UP," "A & D," "CE," "0123," "EN 567," "UIAA 126-2," a book-with-an-"i" icon, and "Rope 8,3≤Ø≤13." The forging is printed with "Rope 7,3≤Ø≤13," a rigging diagram, "PATENTED," "EN 15151-2," and "UIAA129-6." The hand grip has "GRIVEL" molded into each side.

Comments

The Grivel A&D, Version A is a member of the largest group of similar stamped-frame handled eccentric-cam ascenders in my collection. From a broad perspective, the following ascenders are closely related, with a number of differences (sometimes functionally significant) as indicated:

Image Ascender Frame
Shape
Frame
Reinforce-
ment?
Cam Stop Cam
Type
Cam
Safety
Climb X X Ascender Climb X
X Ascender
"Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
Good Makings Good Makings "Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
GrandWall GrandWall "Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
Kao (カ奥) Kao (カ奥) "Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
Lixada, Version A Lixada, Version A "Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
NTR NTR,
Version A
"Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
SunniMix SunniMix "Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
Unknown Chinese Unknown
Chinese
"Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
Vento (Венто) Ascension Vento (Венто)
Ascension
"Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
GM Climbing, Version A GM Climbing
Version A
"Fixe" No No Open-web Plastic-
covered
Aluminum
Rock Empire Rock Empire "Rock
Empire"
Yes Yes Open-web Plastic-
covered
Aluminum
Paliston Danger Buddies "Fixe" No No Semi-open
Web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Paliston Epic Peak "Fixe" No No Semi-open
Web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Newdoar Newdoar "Fixe" No No Semi-open
Web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Paliston Paliston "Fixe" No No Semi-open
Web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Image Ascender Frame
Shape
Frame
Reinforce-
ment?
Cam Stop Cam
Type
Cam
Safety
Xinda, Version C Xinda, Version C "Fixe" No No Semi-open
Web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Z&W, Version B Z&W, Version B "Fixe" No No Semi-open
Web
Aluminum
/w Tab
GM Climbing, Version B GM Climbing
Version B
"Fixe" No No Semi-open
Web
Plastic-
covered
Aluminum
Lixada, Version B Lixada, Version B "Fixe" No No "Lixada"
Semi-open
Web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Венто (Vento) Венто (Vento) "Fixe" No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Brasovia Brasovia "Fixe" No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Climb Tech Climb Tech "Fixe" No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Yoke Yoke "Fixe" No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Z&W, Version A Z&W, Version A "Fixe" No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Fixe Capitan Fixe Capitan "Fixe" No Yes Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Grivel A&D, Version A Grivel A&D,
Version A
"Grivel
A&D"
No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Grivel A&D, Version B Grivel A&D,
Version B
"Grivel
A&D"
No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Ring
Grivel A1 Grivel
A1
"Grivel
A1"
No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Ring
Kratos Kratos "Kratos" No No "Kratos"
Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Kratos Tab
 

These are all well-made ascenders that perform much like the Petzl Ascension. All sharp edges have been removed. The attachment points are simple holes in the shell. In some cases, the user may wish to round the lower attachment holes with a Swiss file; even so, I would consider their small radius too sharp for directly attaching sling ropes. They are probably acceptably rounded for webbing (or could be made so with a file), 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 on Clog Version A.

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.

The doubled upper rope attachment hole is located very close to the main rope. A carabiner through the upper oval attachment hole will probably drag on the main line. The main purpose for this hole is when using the ascender as a safety on a fixed line. The axis of the oval hole is canted so that when trailing the ascender upward, the ascender pulls free of the rope, but it drags a bit if the used falls. I consider this practice dangerous and cannot recommend it. The single upper rope attachment hole, when used in conjunction with the frame side of the double hole, facilitates using the ascender as a chest ascender as shown in the Fixe Capitan instructions.

These ascenders have the same pit lip disadvantage as the Clog and other stamped frame ascenders, and there is no stamped reinforcing to help prevent bending.

Each has a rubber handle that is comfortable enough for my large hands, but I don't climb by gripping ascenders at their handle. 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 people who climbs Frog).

With the exception of those on the Kratos, the cams on these ascenders are very well made. Some have open-web cams and others are semi-open. The latter appears to be the later design. I don't think the difference is important. The area behind the cam face is sloped on some of these ("asymmetrical") and not sloped ("symmetrical") on others. Again, I don't think the difference is significant.

The asymmetrical cams have a (3)^3(2)(1S1)^4(3)^2 tooth pattern while the slot in the symmetrical cams is slightly longer (extending to between the top tooth pair), giving a (3)^3(1S1)^5(3)^2 tooth pattern. The Lixada, Version B and Kratos have their own tooth patterns. I don't find that these tooth pattern differences affect cam performance. I've heard that the teeth some of these cams wear quickly. I haven't put enough miles on any of these to make a proper comparison, but I would expect the chrome-plated cams on some other brands to last longer than unplated steel cams.

The price for any of these ascenders was much lower than that of American or European ascenders. One potential concern is that we don't have the experience with Chinese metallurgy and quality control that we have with American and European devices. Americans, Europeans, and Chinese all make some high-quality products and some low-quality products. I think that these ascenders are fine and most of them have legitimate CE markings. I would not hesitate to use any of these, but I would like more information and experience with Chinese ascenders before I'm willing to make a final judgement.

The safety is reasonably easy to use with one hand, but the cam drags on the shell, and since both have a frosted finish, it gives the ascender a gritty feel, but not to the extreme as for the Fixe Capitan. This is not a significant issue.

The forged plate:

The English portion of the instructions identify the forging as the "Rappelling forged plate," while the Italian and French versions do not mention rappelling. Rigging is simple. First, push a bight through the slot from the front, and clop a carabiner through it as one would with a Sticht plate. Let the standing rope pass through the rope channel and lock the cam open. Clip into the large lower hole on the ascender and descend. These are simplified instructions, so do not rely on these alone - seek qualified training before trying this on your own.

A quick look at the Sticht plate page shows that the slot on the Grivel A&D is longer than the slot on a standard Sticht plate, or even the slots on guide plates. One should expect less friction from the A&D. To some extent, one can compensate with additional braking carabiners.

One final caution: the plate on my right-hand ascender shows the anchor above and the braking hand below the slot, but the markings on the left-hand ascender show these reversed. This can confuse some people; if you are one of them, please don't try rappelling.


A&D, Version B
(#2337)

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 my Grivel A&D, Version B from Sofia Goumas in 2017.

The Grivel A&D, Version B is 204 mm. tall, 97 mm. wide, 34 mm. thick, and weighs 258 g.

The shell is a tall irregular shaped stamping made from 4.0 mm. aluminum alloy sheet metal. Instead of the traditional front strap, the frame has a slotted aluminum forging riveted in place. More on this later. A 16 mm. wide rope channel is formed in the upper portion of one side of the shell and a smaller cam channel lies opposite the first. A hole drilled through both sides of the cam channel accepts a 5.5 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 a slight break to support the index finger. An 18.8 mm. sling attachment hole is punched below the handle opening, and an 10.8 mm. hole is punched below and outside the first. A 13.3 by 19.5 mm. oval hole punched through both sides of the rope channel provides an attachment point just above the cam, and a 15.6 mm. hole beside it provides a second attachment point.

Cam faceThe aluminum forging is 88.2 mm. long, 24.4 mm. wide, and 8.1 mm. thick. The ends are rounded, and a rectangular recessed area at each end provides a place for riveting the stamped frame to the forging. The forging has a 57 mm. long, 13.1 mm. wide slot that can be used for rappelling or belaying, much one would with a Sticht plate.

The cam is a stainless steel casting with an open web. The cam radius increases from 38 to 57 mm. over an angle of 44°, giving a 28° cam angle. The cam has number of small conical teeth, all of which have their axes approximately aligned with the cam axle. The tooth pattern is (3)^3(1S1)^5(3)^2. The reverse side behind the cam face being sloped rather than parallel to the cam axle.

A ring-shaped spring-loaded manual safety tab is mounted on the bottom of the cam with a steel semi-tubular rivet. The normal action of the spring holds the safety against the cam. When the cam is opened, the shell interferes with the safety bar, thus preventing opening the cam. If the safety bar is moved away from the cam (opposing the spring), it will clear the shell and the cam will open. At full open the safety can be released and the spring will hold the safety against the back of the shell. This provides a means of locking the cam open.

The front of ascender shells are printed with an up-pointing arrow above the words "UP," "A & D," "CE," "0123," "EN 567," "UIAA 126-2," a book-with-an-"i" icon, and "Rope 8,3≤Ø≤13." The forging is printed with "Rope 7,3≤Ø≤13," a rigging diagram, "PATENTED," "EN 15151-2," and "UIAA129-6." The hand grip has "GRIVEL" molded into each side.

Comments

My order was for a right-handed Grivel A1, but I received this instead. Fortunately, it was a version of the A&D that I did not have, and so I decided to keep it. It differs from the previous version in the cam safety, where the small tab has been replaced by a large ring. The large ring safety is reasonably easy to use with one hand.

The Grivel A&D, Version B is a member of the largest group of similar stamped-frame handled eccentric-cam ascenders in my collection. From a broad perspective, the following ascenders are closely related, with a number of differences (sometimes functionally significant) as indicated:

Image Ascender Frame
Shape
Frame
Reinforce-
ment?
Cam Stop Cam
Type
Cam
Safety
Climb X X Ascender Climb X
X Ascender
"Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
Good Makings Good Makings "Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
GrandWall GrandWall "Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
Kao (カ奥) Kao (カ奥) "Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
Lixada, Version A Lixada, Version A "Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
NTR NTR,
Version A
"Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
SunniMix SunniMix "Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
Unknown Chinese Unknown
Chinese
"Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
Vento (Венто) Ascension Vento (Венто)
Ascension
"Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
GM Climbing, Version A GM Climbing
Version A
"Fixe" No No Open-web Plastic-
covered
Aluminum
Rock Empire Rock Empire "Rock
Empire"
Yes Yes Open-web Plastic-
covered
Aluminum
Paliston Danger Buddies "Fixe" No No Semi-open
Web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Paliston Epic Peak "Fixe" No No Semi-open
Web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Newdoar Newdoar "Fixe" No No Semi-open
Web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Paliston Paliston "Fixe" No No Semi-open
Web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Image Ascender Frame
Shape
Frame
Reinforce-
ment?
Cam Stop Cam
Type
Cam
Safety
Xinda, Version C Xinda, Version C "Fixe" No No Semi-open
Web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Z&W, Version B Z&W, Version B "Fixe" No No Semi-open
Web
Aluminum
/w Tab
GM Climbing, Version B GM Climbing
Version B
"Fixe" No No Semi-open
Web
Plastic-
covered
Aluminum
Lixada, Version B Lixada, Version B "Fixe" No No "Lixada"
Semi-open
Web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Венто (Vento) Венто (Vento) "Fixe" No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Brasovia Brasovia "Fixe" No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Climb Tech Climb Tech "Fixe" No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Yoke Yoke "Fixe" No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Z&W, Version A Z&W, Version A "Fixe" No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Fixe Capitan Fixe Capitan "Fixe" No Yes Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Grivel A&D, Version A Grivel A&D,
Version A
"Grivel
A&D"
No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Grivel A&D, Version B Grivel A&D,
Version B
"Grivel
A&D"
No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Ring
Grivel A1 Grivel
A1
"Grivel
A1"
No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Ring
Kratos Kratos "Kratos" No No "Kratos"
Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Kratos Tab
 

These are all well-made ascenders that perform much like the Petzl Ascension. All sharp edges have been removed. The attachment points are simple holes in the shell. In some cases, the user may wish to round the lower attachment holes with a Swiss file; even so, I would consider their small radius too sharp for directly attaching sling ropes. They are probably acceptably rounded for webbing (or could be made so with a file), 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 on Clog Version A.

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.

The doubled upper rope attachment hole is located very close to the main rope. A carabiner through the upper oval attachment hole will probably drag on the main line. The main purpose for this hole is when using the ascender as a safety on a fixed line. The axis of the oval hole is canted so that when trailing the ascender upward, the ascender pulls free of the rope, but it drags a bit if the used falls. I consider this practice dangerous and cannot recommend it. The single upper rope attachment hole, when used in conjunction with the frame side of the double hole, facilitates using the ascender as a chest ascender as shown in the Fixe Capitan instructions.

These ascenders have the same pit lip disadvantage as the Clog and other stamped frame ascenders, and there is no stamped reinforcing to help prevent bending.

Each has a rubber handle that is comfortable enough for my large hands, but I don't climb by gripping ascenders at their handle. 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 people who climbs Frog).

With the exception of those on the Kratos, the cams on these ascenders are very well made. Some have open-web cams and others are semi-open. The latter appears to be the later design. I don't think the difference is important. The area behind the cam face is sloped on some of these ("asymmetrical") and not sloped ("symmetrical") on others. Again, I don't think the difference is significant.

The asymmetrical cams have a (3)^3(2)(1S1)^4(3)^2 tooth pattern while the slot in the symmetrical cams is slightly longer (extending to between the top tooth pair), giving a (3)^3(1S1)^5(3)^2 tooth pattern. The Lixada, Version B and Kratos have their own tooth patterns. I don't find that these tooth pattern differences affect cam performance. I've heard that the teeth some of these cams wear quickly. I haven't put enough miles on any of these to make a proper comparison, but I would expect the chrome-plated cams on some other brands to last longer than unplated steel cams.

The price for any of these ascenders was much lower than that of American or European ascenders. One potential concern is that we don't have the experience with Chinese metallurgy and quality control that we have with American and European devices. Americans, Europeans, and Chinese all make some high-quality products and some low-quality products. I think that these ascenders are fine and most of them have legitimate CE markings. I would not hesitate to use any of these, but I would like more information and experience with Chinese ascenders before I'm willing to make a final judgement.


A1
(#2327)

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 my right-hand Grivel A1 from TradeInn in 2017, and my left-hand A1 from Banana Fingers in 2021.

The Grivel A1 is 203 mm. tall, 99 mm. wide, 36 mm. thick, and weighs 256 g.

Cam faceThe shell is a tall irregular shaped stamping made from 4.0 mm. aluminum alloy sheet metal. Instead of the traditional front strap, the frame has a slotted aluminum forging riveted in place. More on this later. A 16 mm. wide rope channel is formed in the upper portion of one side of the shell and a smaller cam channel lies opposite the first. A hole drilled through both sides of the cam channel accepts a 5.5 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 a slight break to support the index finger. An 18.8 mm. sling attachment hole is punched below the handle opening, and an 10.8 mm. hole is punched below and outside the first. A 13.3 by 19.5 mm. oval hole punched through both sides of the rope channel provides an attachment point just above the cam, and a 15.6 mm. hole beside it provides a second attachment point.

The cam is a stainless steel casting with an open web. The cam radius increases from 38 to 57 mm. over an angle of 44°, giving a 28° cam angle. The cam has number of small conical teeth, all of which have their axes approximately aligned with the cam axle. The tooth pattern is (3)^3(1S1)^5(3)^2. The reverse side behind the cam face being sloped rather than parallel to the cam axle.

A ring-shaped spring-loaded manual safety tab is mounted on the bottom of the cam with a steel semi-tubular rivet. The normal action of the spring holds the safety against the cam. When the cam is opened, the shell interferes with the safety bar, thus preventing opening the cam. If the safety bar is moved away from the cam (opposing the spring), it will clear the shell and the cam will open. At full open the safety can be released and the spring will hold the safety against the back of the shell. This provides a means of locking the cam open.

The front of ascender shells are printed with an up-pointing arrow above the words "UP," "A & D," "CE," "0123," "EN 567," "UIAA 126-2," a book-with-an-"i" icon, and "Rope 8,3≤Ø≤13." The forging is printed with "Rope 7,3≤Ø≤13," a rigging diagram, "PATENTED," "EN 15151-2," and "UIAA129-6." The hand grip has "GRIVEL" molded into each side.

Comments

This ascender is essentially the same as the A&D, Version B, but without the forged plate. This makes it more like a traditional ascender.

The Grivel A1 is a member of the largest group of similar stamped-frame handled eccentric-cam ascenders in my collection. From a broad perspective, the following ascenders are closely related, with a number of differences (sometimes functionally significant) as indicated:

Image Ascender Frame
Shape
Frame
Reinforce-
ment?
Cam Stop Cam
Type
Cam
Safety
Climb X X Ascender Climb X
X Ascender
"Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
Good Makings Good Makings "Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
GrandWall GrandWall "Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
Kao (カ奥) Kao (カ奥) "Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
Lixada, Version A Lixada, Version A "Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
NTR NTR,
Version A
"Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
SunniMix SunniMix "Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
Unknown Chinese Unknown
Chinese
"Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
Vento (Венто) Ascension Vento (Венто)
Ascension
"Fixe" No No Open-web Aluminum
/w Tab
GM Climbing, Version A GM Climbing
Version A
"Fixe" No No Open-web Plastic-
covered
Aluminum
Rock Empire Rock Empire "Rock
Empire"
Yes Yes Open-web Plastic-
covered
Aluminum
Paliston Danger Buddies "Fixe" No No Semi-open
Web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Paliston Epic Peak "Fixe" No No Semi-open
Web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Newdoar Newdoar "Fixe" No No Semi-open
Web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Paliston Paliston "Fixe" No No Semi-open
Web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Image Ascender Frame
Shape
Frame
Reinforce-
ment?
Cam Stop Cam
Type
Cam
Safety
Xinda, Version C Xinda, Version C "Fixe" No No Semi-open
Web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Z&W, Version B Z&W, Version B "Fixe" No No Semi-open
Web
Aluminum
/w Tab
GM Climbing, Version B GM Climbing
Version B
"Fixe" No No Semi-open
Web
Plastic-
covered
Aluminum
Lixada, Version B Lixada, Version B "Fixe" No No "Lixada"
Semi-open
Web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Венто (Vento) Венто (Vento) "Fixe" No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Brasovia Brasovia "Fixe" No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Climb Tech Climb Tech "Fixe" No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Yoke Yoke "Fixe" No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Z&W, Version A Z&W, Version A "Fixe" No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Fixe Capitan Fixe Capitan "Fixe" No Yes Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Grivel A&D, Version A Grivel A&D,
Version A
"Grivel
A&D"
No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Tab
Grivel A&D, Version B Grivel A&D,
Version B
"Grivel
A&D"
No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Ring
Grivel A1 Grivel
A1
"Grivel
A1"
No No Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Ring
Kratos Kratos "Kratos" No No "Kratos"
Asymmetrical
Open-web
Aluminum
/w Kratos Tab
 

These are all well-made ascenders that perform much like the Petzl Ascension. All sharp edges have been removed. The attachment points are simple holes in the shell. In some cases, the user may wish to round the lower attachment holes with a Swiss file; even so, I would consider their small radius too sharp for directly attaching sling ropes. They are probably acceptably rounded for webbing (or could be made so with a file), 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 on Clog Version A.

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.

The doubled upper rope attachment hole is located very close to the main rope. A carabiner through the upper oval attachment hole will probably drag on the main line. The main purpose for this hole is when using the ascender as a safety on a fixed line. The axis of the oval hole is canted so that when trailing the ascender upward, the ascender pulls free of the rope, but it drags a bit if the used falls. I consider this practice dangerous and cannot recommend it. The single upper rope attachment hole, when used in conjunction with the frame side of the double hole, facilitates using the ascender as a chest ascender as shown in the Fixe Capitan instructions.

These ascenders have the same pit lip disadvantage as the Clog and other stamped frame ascenders, and there is no stamped reinforcing to help prevent bending.

Each has a rubber handle that is comfortable enough for my large hands, but I don't climb by gripping ascenders at their handle. 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 people who climbs Frog).

With the exception of those on the Kratos, the cams on these ascenders are very well made. Some have open-web cams and others are semi-open. The latter appears to be the later design. I don't think the difference is important. The area behind the cam face is sloped on some of these ("asymmetrical") and not sloped ("symmetrical") on others. Again, I don't think the difference is significant.

The asymmetrical cams have a (3)^3(2)(1S1)^4(3)^2 tooth pattern while the slot in the symmetrical cams is slightly longer (extending to between the top tooth pair), giving a (3)^3(1S1)^5(3)^2 tooth pattern. The Lixada, Version B and Kratos have their own tooth patterns. I don't find that these tooth pattern differences affect cam performance. I've heard that the teeth some of these cams wear quickly. I haven't put enough miles on any of these to make a proper comparison, but I would expect the chrome-plated cams on some other brands to last longer than unplated steel cams.

The price for any of these ascenders was much lower than that of American or European ascenders. One potential concern is that we don't have the experience with Chinese metallurgy and quality control that we have with American and European devices. Americans, Europeans, and Chinese all make some high-quality products and some low-quality products. I think that these ascenders are fine and most of them have legitimate CE markings. I would not hesitate to use any of these, but I would like more information and experience with Chinese ascenders before I'm willing to make a final judgement.