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Paquette Ascender

Front Rear
Front Rear
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I made three Paquette ascenders in 2008.

Each ascender is 128 mm. tall, 95 mm. wide, and 40 mm. thick. Mine weigh 315 g each.

The shell is made from a 3" x 2-25/32" (76.2 mm. x 70.6 mm. ) piece of 1/8" (3.2 mm.) 304 stainless steel bent to form a 1/2" (12.7 mm.) semicircular rope channel on one side. The front plate is a 3/4" x 4-1/4" (19 mm. x 108 mm.) piece of 1/8" (3.2 mm.) 304 stainless steel. Two 1/4-20x7/8UNC hex-head bolts hold the front plate in place, passing through two 1/4" (6.35 mm.) i.d. x 3/8" (9.5 mm.) o.d. x 1/2" (12.7 mm.) long brass spacers separating the two plates. The cam is cut from a 2-21/32" x 1-3/8" (67.5 mm. x 34.9 mm.) piece of 1/2" (12.7 mm.) 6061-T6 aluminum. A 3/8"-16x7/8 UNC bolt serves as the cam axle. The safety latch is cut from a 1-7/8" x 1-1/2" (47.6 mm. x 38.1 mm.) piece of 1/2" (12.7 mm.) 6061-T6 aluminum, and pivots on the lower spacer. The safety catch has a small projection on the top that limits the cam motion when the catch is closed. A 1/4-20x7/8UNC thumb screw in the safety catch passes through a hole in the back plate to lock the safety in place.


Jim Paquette (NOT Don Paquette!) described this ascender and provided plans in the February 1969 NSS News (pp. 32-33). This was a special vertical caving issue that, among other things, described the Gibbs Ascender and introduced the world to Nevin Davis’ Motorized Ascending Device (MAD).

The open side on the Paquette ascender allows one to rig the ascender without disassembling it; however, the thumbscrew on the safety makes this a slower process than the one found on some later designs like the Bogibbs and Kantyú. The Paquette is also heavy, each one weighing more than than a pair of Gibbs from the same era. Jim emphasized that aluminum was not strong enough for making the shell; however, the aluminum shell on the Unknown "S" ascender could suggest otherwise.

As far as I know, the Paquette never saw commercial production, and I don't know if anyone other than Jim ever made any. When I made this pair, I tried to follow Jim’s plans closely. I did not have a bending tool available for making the back plate, so I used a hammer and a home-made jig. Unfortunately, this left some unsightly marks on the front of the rope channel.