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Howell-N-Mann U-Frame Racks

Mini Mt. Sira
Mini Star Star Mt. Sira Star Star
 
Version A Version B Version C
Version A Version B Version C

Overview


Note: Sam Howell and Larry Howell are the same person. He answers to Sam now.


Mini
(#391)

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

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from Larry Howell of Howell-N-Man in 1993.

My Howell-N-Mann Mini rack is 195 mm. tall, 74 mm. wide, 19 mm. thick, and weighs 184 g. The frame is made from 6.5 mm. ASTM grade 6 6Al/4V titanium alloy bent into a U, with an internal width of 24 mm. There are three 19 mm. diameter brake bars made from 6Al/4V titanium tubing with hollow 6061-T6 aluminum inserts. The top double hyperbar is 74 mm. long and the other bars are 42 mm.

This rack is marked with "prototype #0001."

Comments

The Mini was a prototype that never went into production. The bars are titanium tubing (same type) with hollow aluminum inserts to absorb and dissipate heat. The frame is only 1/4 inch (6.35 mm.) in diameter instead of the typical 3/8 inch (9.5 mm.) used on the other racks. The narrow frame keeps the bar weight down as well. With only three bars, the hyperbar is essential. None of the bars pivot, so the frame opens on the side much like the Titan I and II. When Larry went to normal pivoting bars, this design became obsolete.

Despite the fact that this rack weighs only 181 g. - about the same as a typical figure 8 - it is one of the strongest devices in my collection.


StarStarMt. SiraStarStar
(#392)

Front View Rear View
Front View Rear View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from Ed Sira at the 1994 NSS Convention.

My Howell-N-Mann Mt. Sira rack is 213 mm. tall, 62 mm. wide, 20 mm. thick, and weighs 281 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. ASTM grade 6 6Al/4V titanium alloy bent into a U, with an internal width of 21 mm. There are four 19 mm. diameter brake bars made from 6Al/4V titanium tubing with hollow 6061-T6 aluminum inserts. The top hyperbar is 97 mm. long, the next two bars are 51 mm., and the bottom bar is 76 mm. long. Allowing 35 mm. for the rope leaves 73 mm. for spreading the bars. Two lock nuts secure the bars.

There are no markings on this rack.

Comments

The Mt. Sira was named after my friend Ed Sira, who asked Larry Howell to produce a small U-frame rack for him to sell. This rack is what I normally use as my short-drop device, since it is the best device of its size and weight that I own. The titanium tubing gives the bars good wear resistance and the hollow aluminum inserts help to absorb and dissipate heat. The long fourth bar makes bar control easier. Thanks to the hyperbar, I've been able to use this rack on a wet 9 mm. rope that was so fast that my friends using eights had to pass the rope through twice in order to maintain control.

This rack is fantastic - there is no need to use a figure 8 caving any more. I give it four starsStarStarStarStar.


Version A
(#1293)

Front View Rear View
Front View Rear View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from Sam (Larry) Howell at the 2011 NSS Convention.

This rack is 277 mm. tall, 115 mm. wide, 19 mm. thick, and weighs 488 g. The frame is made from 6.5 mm. ASTM grade 6 6Al/4V titanium alloy bent into a U, with an internal width of 43 mm. There are 6 brake bars. The bars are 19 mm. in diameter and 115 and 72 mm. long. Allowing 35 mm. for the rope leaves 82 mm. for spreading the bars.

There are no markings on this rack.

Comments

Although light for a rack of this size, I much prefer J-frame racks because they allow adding or removing single bars while on rappel. I find the dual hyperbar superfluous for my needs, since the rack frame alone provides a natural way to tie off.


Version B
(#1379)

Front View Rear View
Front View Rear View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from Ed Sira at the 2012 NSS Convention.

Version B rack is 242 mm. tall, 90 mm. wide, 19 mm. thick, and weighs 500 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. stainless steel bent into a U, with an internal width of 20 mm. There are four stainless steel brake bars. The top bar is made from 19 mm. tubing and is 80 mm. long. It has a shallow dent to act as a rope centering guide. The bar ends are filled with epoxy (or Bondo™?). There is a single hyperbar on this bar. The second and third bars are 19 mm. in diameter and 53 mm. long. The bottom bar is the same diameter and 86 mm. long.

There are no markings on this rack.

Comments

I cannot tell if the top bar is positively secured by pins inside the bar, or if it relies solely on the epoxy. If the latter, it would scare me immensely.


Version C
(#1380)

Front View Rear View
Front View Rear View

Technical Details

I acquired this rack from Ed Sira at the 2012 NSS Convention.

Version C rack is 199 mm. tall, 88 mm. wide, 21 mm. thick, and weighs 291 g. The frame is made from 9.5 mm. ASTM grade 6 6Al/4V titanium alloy bent into a U, with an internal width of 19 mm. There are four brake bars made from ASTM grade 6 6Al/4V titanium alloy and aluminum alloy inserts. The bars are 19 mm. in diameter. From top to bottom, the bars are 85, 54, 54, and 74 mm. long, respectively. The top bar has a carabiner hole at one end and a hyperbar post at the other. The bottom bar has two posts to facilitate using one’s fingers to rotate the bar on the frame to increase friction.

There are no markings on this rack.

Comments

Version C is a variation of the Mt. Sira model. I have no need for the hole in the top bar, and would prefer a second hyperbar instead. I do not like the idea of rotating the lower bar to control friction. First, it is a bit tiring, and second, if the bar slips out of the fingers, the rack loses a significant fraction of its friction immediately.

Allowing 35 mm. for the rope leaves 60 mm. for spreading the bars.