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Gossett Blocks

Version A Version A (Modified) Version <B>A</B>
Version A Version A (Modified) Version B
 
Version C Version D Version E Version F
Version C Version D Version E Version F
 
Version G Version H Version I
Version G Version H Version I

Overview


Here is a summary of the different versions in my collection:

Version Shell
Corners
Mount Roller Retaining
Washers
Knob Knurl
A
(#633, 2655, 2747)
Square Slots Nylon,
Cylindrical
Plastic Narrow Male
B
(#2707)
Rounded
C
(#1611, 2878)
Square Brass Wide Female
D
(#2841)
Male
E
(#1784, 2684, 3763)
Delrin,
U-Groove
F
(#2708)
Hermaphrodite
G
(#1833)
Female
H
(#634, 2601)
Rounded
I
(#2709)
Square Screw
Holes

Darrell Tomer made quite a few custom variations. I was able to acquire the Gossett Block tooling and the remaining inventory of unassembled components, so I continue his tradition of making additional variations when time permits and the spirit moves me.


Version A
(#2655, 2747)

Front View Rear View
Front View Rear View
 
Open for Rigging Top View
Open for Rigging Top View

Technical Details

I acquired my first Gossett Block, Version A in 1978, but I modified it as described below. I acquired another in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun’s collection, and a third from Rick Banning at the 2019 NSS Convention.

Version A is 84 mm. wide, 64 mm. high, 41 mm. thick, and weighs 328 g. The Gossett Block is made out of an aluminum extrusion, with two rollers on each side. The rollers are attached to pins set into knurled brass knobs which screw into the extrusion. The block has two 48 mm. tall angled vertical slots for attaching the box to a chest harness.

There are no markings on this box.

Comments

The Gossett Block was a state-of-the-art box in the late 1970s, but was soon replaced by other designs that were much lighter. I liked it, and continued using a modified version (Darrell Tomer’s #12) for some time.

Even with two rollers (perhaps an unnecessary redundancy, see, for example, the variations), releasing the rope is easier than on, say, the contemporaneous BlueWater box.

The instructions show the Gossett Block being used as part of the Gossett System. Due to safety issues, that system never became popular.

Warning:
There have been some incidents and rescues with the Gossett System, so just avoid it.
 
Instructions Instructions Instructions Instructions

Version A, Modified
(#633)

Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View
Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View

Technical Details

I acquired this Gossett Block, Version A in 1978, but I don't have a record of from whom. I may have bought it directly from Darrell Tomer.

This version A is 84 mm. wide, 64 mm. high, 41 mm. thick, and weighs 328 g. The Gossett Block is made out of an aluminum extrusion, with two rollers on each side. The rollers are attached to pins set into knurled brass knobs which screw into the extrusion. The block has two 48 mm. tall angled vertical slots for attaching the box to a chest harness.

There are no markings on this box.

Comments

I drilled the holes in the back of my box so that it could be mounted on a Gossett Plate for climbing with the Gossett System, an interesting perversion where the box is mounted at belt level, and each foot has an ascender on a long foot sling passing through the box. This places the box near the caver’s center of gravity, making it easy to flip upside-down.

Warning:
There have been some incidents and rescues with the Gossett System, so just avoid it.
 
Instructions Instructions Instructions Instructions

Version B
(#2707)

Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View
Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View

Technical Details

I acquired my Version B block from Bill Liebman at the 2017 Old Timers Reunion.

My Gossett, Version B is 86 mm. wide, 64 mm. high, 41 mm. thick, and weighs 328 g. It is made out of an aluminum extrusion, with two rollers on each side. The rollers are attached to pins set into knurled brass knobs which screw into the extrusion. The knobs have a male knurl. The block has two 48 mm. tall angled vertical slots for attaching the box to a chest harness.

There are no markings on this box.

Comments

The corners are rounded, making the block more comfortable to handle.

This was one of Darrell Tomer’s blocks, and he engraved "D. W. Tomer" on the back.


Version C
(#1611, 2878)

Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View
Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View

Technical Details

I acquired Version C used on eBay from Gene Clinger in 2008. On Rope 1 donated another in 2021.

Version C is 85 mm. wide, 64 mm. high, 41 mm. thick, and weighs 368 g. The block has two 48 mm. tall, angled vertical slots for attaching the box to a chest harness. The knobs on Version C are wider than those on Version A, and the knurl was changed from a male to a female diamond knurl.

There are no markings on this box.

Comments

The larger knurls are easier to grip.

Instructions Instructions Instructions Instructions
 
Warning:
There have been some incidents and rescues with the Gossett System, so just avoid it.

Version D
(#2841)

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

Technical Details

My Gossett Block, Version D has an interesting history that I’ll discuss in the comments.

Version D is 85 mm. wide, 65 mm. high, 41 mm. thick, and weighs 365 g. It has the wider knobs of Version C but with a male knurl.

There are no markings on this box.

Comments

When they decided to discontinue producing the Gossett Block, Jim Gossett and Darrell Tomer sold the tooling and remaining components to Bob Liebman of Bob & Bob Enterprises. After Bob passed in 2017, I acquired these from his brother Bill. Soon after, my new job had me living away from home for a couple years.

It wasn't until 2021 that I started looking at the tooling in detail. Darrell left detailed instructions, but more to the point, he left a partially completed block in each of the jigs. Assembling the rollers was the last step in the process, and this block was used to illustrate the jig used to hold the block while press-fitting the knobs on the rollers. Three of the rollers were complete, and the final roller was started.

I finished pressing the knob onto the final roller, completing this block on May 9, 2021. So, in some sense and despite the early white nylon rollers, this is the last Gossett Block that Darrell made.


Version E
(#1784, 2684, 3763)

Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View
Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View

Technical Details

I acquired my first Gossett Block, Version E box from Charlotte Phillips in 2012, four more from Bob & Bob in 2017, and six more from Carol Veseley in 2022.

Version E is 86 mm. wide, 65 mm. high, 41 mm. thick, and weighs 370 g. The roller material was changed from nylon to Delrin, and the rollers were shaped with an 11.8 mm. wide U-shape groove that reduces the 15.3 mm. diameter roller to a 13.6 mm. central diameter. The knobs have a male knurl.

There are no markings on this box.

Comments

The minor U-shaped groove in the rollers is not sufficient keep the rope centered; good technique is still required.

Instructions Instructions Instructions Instructions
 
Warning:
There have been some incidents and rescues with the Gossett System, so just avoid it.

Version F
(#2708)

Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View
Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View

Technical Details

I acquired my Version F block from Bill Liebman at the 2017 Old Timers Reunion.

Version F is 86 mm. wide, 66 mm. high, 41 mm. thick, and weighs 372 g. It is made out of an aluminum extrusion, with two rollers on each side. The rollers are attached to pins set into knurled brass knobs which screw into the extrusion. The block has two 48 mm. tall angled vertical slots for attaching the box to a chest harness.

There are no markings on this box.

Comments

This one is interesting because the knobs on one side have male knurls and the knobs on the other have female knurls.

One knob was overdrilled for a good press fit, so it tends to fall off when the box is open. I need to stake it in place someday.

This was one of Darrell Tomer’s blocks, and he engraved "D. W. Tomer" on the back.


Version G
(#1833)

Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View
Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View

Technical Details

I acquired two Gossett, Version G blocks from James Thompson in 2014.

Version G is 85 mm. wide, 65 mm. high, 41 mm. thick, and weighs 376 g. It is a double channel chest box made out of an aluminum extrusion, with two rollers on each side. The rollers are attached to pins set into female-knurled brass knobs which screw into the extrusion. The block has two 52 mm. tall angled vertical slots for attaching the box to a chest harness.

There are no markings on this box.

Comments

This is probably the "normal" final form of the Gossett block.


Version H
(#634, 2601)

Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View
Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View

Technical Details

I acquired my Gossett Block, Version H from Speleoshoppe in 1982. I acquired another in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun’s collection.

Version H is 84 mm. wide, 64 mm. high, 41 mm. thick, and weighs 367 g. The block has two 48 mm. tall, angled vertical slots for attaching the box to a chest harness. The corners of the frame were rounded. The knobs have a female knurl.

There are no markings on this box.

Comments

The rounded corners were an improvement, but in my mind, one of the variations that never made it into production was superior.

Instructions Instructions Instructions Instructions
 
Warning:
There have been some incidents and rescues with the Gossett System, so just avoid it.

Version I
(#2709)

Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View
Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View

Technical Details

I acquired my Version H block from Bill Liebman at the 2017 Old Timers Reunion.

My Gossett, Version H is 86 mm. wide, 66 mm. high, 41 mm. thick, and weighs 399 g. It is made out of an aluminum extrusion, with two rollers on each side. The rollers are attached to pins set into knurled brass knobs which screw into the extrusion. This block has four 5.6 mm. holes (one in each corner) instead of the usual angled slot.

There are no markings on this box.

Comments

The four holes are for attaching the block to a Gossett Plate for climbing with the Gossett System described earlier.

Warning:
There have been some incidents and rescues with the Gossett System, so just avoid it.