I acquired two Petzl Tibloc B01 ascenders in 1999, one from from On Rope 1 and the other from Inner Mountain Outfitters. I acquired three more in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun’s collection, and another from Diana E. Crow in 2021.
The Petzl Tibloc B01 is 52 mm. tall, 36 mm. wide, 18 mm. thick, and weighs 39 g.
The design uses a U-shaped plated steel shell with a diagonal slot. A carabiner fits into the slot, and when the climber’s weight is applied, the carabiner slides downward with respect to the shell, wedging the rope and providing enough friction to support the climber’s weight. The inside of the Tibloc has numerous down-sloping conical teeth in a (188.8.131.52.2)(1S1)^3(2)(1S1)^3 pattern to ensure that the shell does not slide downward when weight is applied.
One side of the Tibloc is impressed with Petzl logo, "TIBLOC," "ROPE," a circle-with-a-dot icon, and "8≤Ø≤11." The other side is impressed with an icon with "1" through "12" arranged in a circle, an arrow inside pointing to the "4," and "99" straddling the arrow; the Sieg Heil icon, and "UIAA CE0197 EN567."
The Petzl Tibloc is very similar to an old ascender design patented by Kent Kammerrer in 1985 (US Patent 4,667,772).
The instructions that come with the Tibloc state that the carabiner must have a round cross section with a diameter between 10 and 12 mm. inclusive; however, Bruce Smith (founder of On Rope 1) once demonstrated (but did NOT recommend) a ropewalker system using 3.5 mm trapezoidal rapide links.
It is essential that the Tibloc be set firmly so that most of the teeth are engaged, since if only a few are set, the Tibloc will slide down the rope, tearing the sheath in the process. Petzl emphasizes this in their instructions, and recommends the techniques shown in the figure to the left. Misuse will damage the rope - note the shredded rope in the figure to the right. Bruce found that filing the top three teeth off helps reduce the likelihood of this occurring, but of course this voids any warrantee. I find the risk of rope damage to be so severe that I avoid using my Tibloc except for demonstration purposes. I'm not the only one - the Tibloc is banned from the NSS Convention vertical contests for the same reason.
The Tibloc has attracted a lot of attention in caving circles,
probably because most cavers are looking for a lighter climbing
system. I'm not as impressed as they are - Salewa introduced a
much smaller and lighter (albeit semi-mechanical) ascender
decades ago. The Tibloc might be a be a nice lightweight device
for emergency use, but an RBS
knot doesn't require the Tibloc. Prusik
knots are lighter still and don't require the carabiner.
The slots between the Tibloc teeth are narrow, and not particularly effective in relieving cave mud - but then again, I've never seen slots or holes on ascender teeth that are.
I acquired two Petzl Tibloc B01B ascenders from Got Your Gear on eBay in 2018.
The Petzl Tibloc B01B is 54 mm. tall, 39 mm. wide, 22 mm. thick, and weighs 34 g.
The design uses a U-shaped plated steel shell with a diagonal slot. A carabiner fits into the slot, and when the climber’s weight is applied, the carabiner slides downward with respect to the shell, wedging the rope and providing enough friction to support the climber’s weight. The inside of the Tibloc has numerous down-sloping conical teeth in a (3.2)^2(1S1)^2(2)^2(1S1)^3 pattern to ensure that the shell does not slide downward when weight is applied. There is a plastic sleeve pinned to the top of the steel shell.
One side of the Tibloc shell is impressed with "TIBLOC" and the other with "ROPE8≤Ø≤11." The spine is printed with a scanner code, "EAC," and a serial number ("17H0095293383" and "17I0100827919" respectively on my two). The sleeve is printed with the Petzl logo on one side. The sleeve has an up-pointing arrow with "UP" inside molded into that side and "CE0082," "PAT. PEND," "EN567," "UIAA," a book-with-an-"I" icon, and an up-pointing arrow with "UP" inside molded into the other.
The shell of the B01B is slightly smaller than the B01 shell. The teeth are larger and better formed, making them more aggressive.
The plastic sleeve is thin and tends to pull away from the shell. I imagine that it will break off under hard use. I am not sure what purpose the plastic sleeve serves. It limits the carabiner movement, but that could have been accomplished by designing the shell accordingly. The sleeve also forced Petzl to relocate the accessory cord hole lower on the spine, where an attached cord is no longer effective in lifting the ascender. The upper slot is very short and now opens into the accessory cord hole, making it completely ineffective. The lower slot is also shorter than the one on the B01.
I acquired two Petzl Tibloc B01B samples from On Rope 1 in at the 2018 NSS Convention.
The Petzl Tibloc B01B Sample is 54 mm. tall, 39 mm. wide, 22 mm. thick, and weighs 34 g.
The B01B Sample is identical to the B01B except for minor changes to the markings. Obviously the serial numbers are different ("17EECH0020697" and "17EECH0020698" respectively). The spine is missing the "EAC" marking found on the B01B. The spine is printed with "Sample not for sale."
Functionally identical to the B01B, the B01B Sample is more interesting only as a collector’s item.
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