|Front View||Rear View|
|Top of Grippers||Bottom of Grippers||Grippers Rope Channel|
I made this Storrick – Sashenka ascender in 2023.
My Sashenka is 235 mm. tall, 135 mm. wide, 43 mm. thick, and weighs 382 g.
My Sashenka consists of a stack of three 6061-T6 aluminum grippers that pivot on a 6061-T6 aluminum frame. My grippers are each 75 mm. long, 25 mm. wide and 12.7 mm. thick. Each gripper has a 12.7 mm. hole drilled perpendicular to the top and bottom gripper faces, and a 12.7mm slot milled at 45° on the front edge. Each gripper pivots on a 3.2 mm. stainless steel rod. The outer ends of each gripper are connected to 48 × 9.4 × 3.2 mm. 6061-T6 links on the front and rear by similar rods. These keep the grippes parallel as they rotate. An L-shaped safety is mounted by another rod hear the top of the frame front strap. All seven rods are tapped for #6-32UNC lock nuts. Springs made from 1.27 mm. music wire rotate the grippers safety upward. A PVC hand grip is attached to the frame with machine screws, washers, and lock nuts.
I stamped my logo on the frame after taking the photos.
I based these on an ascender made by Alexander Efimov (Александр Ефимов) from the Novosibirsk speleoclub "Siberia (Сибирь)". They were called "Sashenka (Сашенька)," a diminutive form of Alexander. Efimov moved to the USA in the 1990s.
Artyom Babin (Артём Бабин) sent me pictures of three handled ascenders and one chest ascender using similar grippers, all produced by Efimov. I was curious about how well they would perform. Not having any of the originals, I did what American guys do – I made a copy for myself.
Does it work? Yes, better than you might think. I have not had a chance to test it in cave mud, but there are no fine teeth to clog so it might work better than toothed eccentric cam ascenders do. This remains to be confirmed. Mine will accommodate and hold on 12 mm. rope, and I've managed to get it to hold on 7 mm. line, but the latter is marginal. I feel comfortable using mine on 8 to 12 mm. rope. Of course, changing the gripper geometry will change the size line that works with an ascender of this design.
The massive grippers make this a rather heavy (380 g) ascender. Mine is rather large. A more compact design could address each of these issues.