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Petzl Croll

Version A Version B Version C
Version A Version B Version C
 
Version D Version E Version F Version G
Version D Version E Version F Version G
 
Version H Version I Version J Version K
Version H Version I Version J Version K

Overview


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

  1. Cam with down-climbing flat, knob on safety
  2. Anodized shell, pin on safety
  3. New cam without flat, cam new safety
  4. Cam slot, D-shaped cam safety with auxiliary hole
  5. D-shaped cam safety without auxiliary hole.
  6. Adds CE certification
  7. Anodized cam safety
  8. New shell design, new cam, plastic safety
  9. Printed markings
  10. New extended shell design
  11. Complete redesign, much smaller

Version A
(#1960)

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

Technical Details

I acquired my this ascender from Bob Thrun at the 2013 Old Timers Reunion.

The ascender is left-handed, as are all Crolls I have seen. The ascender is 117 mm. high, 75 mm. wide, 36 mm. thick, and weighs 135 grams. The ascender shell is subtriangular shape bent from 4.2 mm. aluminum sheet and clear anodized. The rope channel is formed by bending the right side of the ascender into a U. The rope channel is 15 mm. in diameter. The main sling attachment point is located below the cam and behind the rope channel. A second attachment point is located above the cam, also behind the rope channel. The shell is bent backwards at both points to provide clearance between the attachment slings and the main rope. This accounts for the rather large thickness of this ascender. The attachment points appear to be circles distorted by the stamping operation. The lower attachment point measures 16.5 by 13.8 mm. and the upper 16.8 by 13.2 mm. The left side of the shell is bent on an inclined axis to form another U. A hole drilled through both sides of the U accepts a semi-tubular rivet. The cam and cam spring are mounted on this rivet. The head of the rivet sits in a stamped depression on the back of the cam, while the roll is exposed on the open side. The pivot is centered 49 mm. from the inside of the rope groove.

The cam is a plated skeletonized steel casting. The cam radius, measured from the pivot, increases from 38 to 51 mm. over an angle of 36°, giving a 25° cam angle. The cam has number of small conical teeth, all of which have their axes approximately parallel to the lower surface of the cam. The tooth pattern is ((F)(3.4)^3(3.2)^2(1). The F stands for a short flat area designed to allow the user to cant the ascender and slide it down the rope without opening the cam. A spring-loaded manual safety bar is mounted on the bottom of the cam with a steel semi-tubular rivet. The normal action of the spring holds the safety against the cam. When the cam is opened, the shell interferes with the safety bar, thus preventing opening the cam. If the safety bar is moved away from the cam (opposing the spring), it will clear the shell and the cam will open. At full open the safety can be released and the spring will hold the safety against the back of the shell. This provides a means of locking the cam open. A knob on the safety bar assists in operating the safety mechanism.

The back of the shell is stamped with the logo "F.PETZL" inside an oval and "FRANCE."

Comments

The Croll can be used in almost any situation where other handleless eccentric cam ascenders are used. The Croll was designed as a chest ascender for the Frog System, and is particularly applicable to that system. It serves very well as a floating knee ascender in ropewalking rigs. The teeth are oriented more steeply than on the CMI Shorti III or the Kong-Bonaiti Cam-Clean, so the advantages of inclined teeth discussed there are even more applicable here.

The flat area on the cam caused some confusion. Some cavers thought it was a design defect, but actually it was provided as a feature. The flat area allows one to cant the ascender then slide it down the rope without opening the cam. This feature was later abandoned.

Single-handed operation of the Croll is rather difficult. Right-handed operation of this left-handed ascender is particularly difficult. When used in frog system (for which the Croll is designed), these comments don't really matter since the harness serves the purpose of a second hand. Closing a locked open ascender is much easier than opening, since the strong cam spring assists the user.

In general I feel that this is a well made ascender. All sharp edges have been removed. The cam teeth are very well done. The attachment points are simply holes in the shell, and although well rounded I consider their small radius too sharp for directly attaching sling ropes. They are probably acceptably rounded for webbing, but considering the proximity of the attachment points to the main rope, I recommend using a maillon for the lower attachment in order to reduce the risk of sling abrasion. In the Frog System, one would do that anyhow.


Version B
(#10)

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

Technical Details

I obtained this Petzl Croll ascender from Speleoshoppe in about 1979.

This version is 117 mm. tall, 76 mm. wide, 38 mm. thick, and weighs 137 g. The rope channel is 15 mm. wide. The cam radius increases from 38 to 51 mm. over an angle of 36°, giving a 25° cam angle. The tooth pattern is (F)(3.4)^3(3.2)^2(1). A cam safety pin replaces the knob on the previous version, the shell is gold anodized, and the markings differ; otherwise, the two are essentially identical.

The back of the shell is stamped with the logo "PETZL" inside an oval, "MAXI 400 KG," "BREVETE," and "FRANCE."

Comments

The anodized shell is a cosmetic improvement.


Version C
(#295)

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

Technical Details

I acquired this version used on eBay in 2009.

Version C is 119 mm. tall, 76 mm. wide, 37 mm. thick, and weighs 136 g. The shell is similar to the one on the previous version, but the cam design is new. The tooth pattern is (3.4)^2(3.2)^2(1.2), eliminating the flat area above the teeth. The safety has a new shape as well.

The rear of the shell is stamped with "PETZL" inside an oval, "MAXI 400KG, "BREVETE," and "FRANCE." The word "PETZL" is cast into both sides of the cam. Both sides of the safety are stamped with "OIL" and an arrow pointing at the safety pivot.

Comments

The normal rigging for a chest ascender does not allow tilting it for down-climbing, so eliminating the flat area on the cam shouldn't affect operation.


Version D
(#11)

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

Technical Details

I acquired this Petzl Croll ascender from Bob & Bob at the 1988 NSS convention.

The ascender is left-handed, as are all Crolls I have seen. The ascender is 119 mm. high, 76 mm. wide, 39 mm. thick, and weighs 138 grams. This ascender has only minor shell variations over the previous versions. The lower attachment point measures 21 by 19.5 mm. and the upper 15.5 by 13 mm. A small cylinder riveted to the shell acts as a cam closing stop.

The cam is a revised skeletonized casting, plated as before. The cam radius, measured from the pivot, increases from 40 to 53 mm. over an angle of 37 degrees. The cam has number of small conical teeth, all of which have their axes approximately parallel to the upper surface of the cam. The cam has number of small conical teeth, all of which have their axes approximately parallel to the lower surface of the cam. The tooth pattern is (2.3)(2S2.1S1)^2(1S1)^3(1.2), where the "S"s stand for a single longitudinal slot designed for mud removal. The spring-loaded manual safety bar has been enlarged to a 36 mm. semicircle.

The back of the shell is stamped "PETZL," "MAXI 400 KG," "BREVETE FRANCE," "CORDE," "ROPE," "Ø mm. " and "10 m/m." A Sieg Heil icon is stamped onto the front. The word "PETZL" is cast into both sides of the cam.

Comments

This Croll can be used in the same situations as Version B. The enlargement of the lower attachment hole is an improvement, but the reduction of the upper is not. The enlarged safety is too big for my taste, and the ascender is still difficult to operate one-handed. The human figure shows which way is up for certain uses, but anyone who needs this assistance shouldn't be using the ascender anyhow. Petzl's literature shows their ascenders being used in hauling systems, in which case the figure is upside down.

The workmanship of the cam does not appear to be as good as on Version B, but is certainly adequate. The cam closing stop is nonfunctional since the cam face hits the rope channel before the top of the cam hits the stop. The slot in the cam is intended to reduce the risk of ascender slippage due to mud-caked cam teeth. The design appears superior to the holes on the Kong-Bonaiti Cam-Clean, but the slot is too small and it is obstructed by a reinforcing rib. Like the Kong-Bonaiti, I believe that most ropes muddy enough to stop other ascenders will stop the this one too. Although I have not tried this ascender in the appropriate conditions, I suspect that the slot will not eliminate the icing problems common to other toothed cam ascenders.


Version E
(#214)

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

Technical Details

I acquired this Petzl Croll ascender used from Andy Dopson in 2007. It dates from 1994 or 1995.

This ascender is 119 mm. high, 77 mm. wide, 37 mm. thick, and weighs 142 grams. This ascender a larger upper hole than in earlier versions. This hole is a 23.1 mm. long, 15.8 mm. wide inclined oval. The remainder of the shell is essentially identical to the Version C shell.

The cam is essentially identical to the previous version cam, but the cam safety omits the small hole.

The back of the shell is stamped with "09495A," the PETZL logo, and the UIAA logo. A Sieg Heil icon is stamped onto the front. The word "PETZL" is cast into both sides of the cam.

Comments

Version E and Version F are essentially the same, except for their markings. Version E does not claim to have CE approval.

The enlargement of the upper attachment hole is an improvement over earlier versions. Omitting the small hole in the cam safety has no practical significance. The cam closing stop is now almost functional, since the the top of the cam hits the stop at the same time that the cam face hits the rope channel.


Version F
(#215)

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

Technical Details

I acquired this Petzl Croll ascender used from Andy Dopson in 2007. It dates from 1996.

This ascender is 119 mm. high, 78 mm. wide, 38 mm. thick, and weighs 142 grams. It is essentially identical to Version E except for the markings on the back of the shell.

The back of the shell is stamped with "96026A," the UIAA logo, "ROPES Ø8-13mm," the PETZL logo, "BREVETE FRANCE," and "CE950082." A Sieg Heil icon is stamped onto the front. The word "PETZL" is cast into both sides of the cam.

Comments

Version E and Version F are essentially the same, except for their markings. Version F has CE approval.

The enlargement of the lower attachment hole is an improvement, but the reduction of the upper is not. The enlarged safety is too big for my taste, and the ascender is still difficult to operate one-handed. The human figure shows which way is up for certain uses, but anyone who needs this assistance shouldn't be using the ascender anyhow. Petzl's literature shows their ascenders being used in hauling systems, in which case the figure is upside down.

The workmanship of the cam does not appear to be as good as on some preceding versions, but is certainly adequate. The cam closing stop is nonfunctional since the cam face hits the rope channel before the top of the cam hits the stop. The slot in the cam is intended to reduce the risk of ascender slippage due to mud-caked cam teeth. The design appears superior to the holes on the Kong-Bonaiti Cam-Clean, but the slot is too small and it is obstructed by a reinforcing rib. Like the Kong-Bonaiti, I believe that most ropes muddy enough to stop other ascenders will stop the this one too. Although I have not tried this ascender in the appropriate conditions, I suspect that the slot will not eliminate the icing problems common to other toothed cam ascenders.


Version G
(#237)

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

Technical Details

I acquired this Petzl Croll ascender used on eBay from Ross Strother in 2008. It dates from 1997.

This ascender is 119 mm. high, 81 mm. wide, 38 mm. thick, and weighs 144 grams. It is essentially identical to Version E and Version F except for the anodized safety and, of course, the markings on the back of the shell.

The back of the shell is stamped with "97196C," the UIAA logo, "ROPES Ø8-13mm," the PETZL logo, "BREVETE FRANCE," and "CE950082." A Sieg Heil icon is stamped onto the front. The word "PETZL" is cast into both sides of the cam.

Comments

The anodized safety is a cosmetic improvement.


Version H (#126)

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

Technical Details

I acquired this Petzl Croll ascender from Bob & Bob at the 1988 NSS convention.

The frame is shorter than on the previous models. There is a stamped cam closing stop. The cam uses a new tooth pattern, (3.4)(1S1.2S1)^2(1S1.2.3), and a steeper cam angle (32° vs. 25°). The cam safety is now made of plastic.

The back of the shell is stamped with "98110A," "CE0197 EN567," the Reading is Dangerous icon, the UIAA logo, and the Petzl logo. The front is stamped with a Sieg Heil icon and "ROPE¥8Ø13" where the ¥ indicates two concentric circles. The Petzl logo is cast into the cam.

Comments

This version uses a new cam design with some nicely-made teeth and a thin, redesigned mud groove that has more clearance, but still seems to be ineffective except in ideal situations.

A cam stop is useless since the cam face hits the rope channel before the top of the cam hits the stop, and mine doesn't. I measured the gap to be 2.0 mm. (0.075 in.). This lack of attention to detail makes me wonder about the things that I cannot see.

The Croll remains difficult to use one-handed, but this is more because the ascender is small than a criticism of the safety. When used in frog system (for which the Croll is designed), this comment doesn't really matter since the harness serves the purpose of a second hand. All in all, this is still a nice ascender.


Version I (#2080)

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

Technical Details

I acquired this Petzl Croll ascender in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

Version I is 109 mm. tall, 75 mm. wide, 37 mm. thick, and weighs 132 g. The rope channel is 14 mm. wide.

The front is stamped with the Petzl logo, an up-pointing arrow labeled "UP," "CROLL," and a book-with-an-"I" icon. The back of the cam is printed with "09020F s7740," a scanner code, "CE0197," "EN567:1997," "¥  8Ø13mm" where the ¥ indicates two concentric circles, "EN12841:2006B," "¥  10Ø13mm" where the ¥ indicates two concentric circles, "100kg," the UIAA logo, and "Made in France."

Comments

Aside from the markings, and in particular, printed instead of stamped markings on the rear, Version I is essentially the same as Version H.

Warning:
The weight ("100kg") screened on the SHELL can easily be
less than the weight of a fully loaded caver.

Version J
(#193, 2081)

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

Technical Details

I acquired one ascender from On Rope 1 in 2005. I acquired another in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

The primary difference between Version H and Version J is that the former has a larger top hole, and as a result, is a taller ascender. The cam is essentially the same except that Version H has three tiny, almost superfluous teeth on the outer (front) cam margin.

The back of the shell is stamped with "98110A," "CE0197 EN567," the Reading is Dangerous icon, the UIAA logo, and the Petzl logo. The front is stamped with a Sieg Heil icon and "ROPE¥8Ø13" where the ¥ indicates two concentric circles. The Petzl logo is cast into the cam.

Comments

With many chest harness designs, the upper shell design with the enlarged hole is an improvement.


Version K
(#1965)

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

Technical Details

I acquired my Petzl Croll, Version K from On Rope 1 in 2013.

This version is 97 mm. tall, 58 mm. wide, 30 mm. thick, and weighs 83 g. The rope channel is 13 mm. wide. The shell was completely redesigned to be considerably smaller than in previous versions. It is stamped from 2.9 mm. aluminum. The back is not flat; instead, the upper and lower portions of the shell bend backward. The upper attachment hole is 23.2 mm. wide and 14.3 mm. high. The lower attachment hole is 21.5 mm. wide and 21.1 mm. high. The front inside of the rope channel is lined with a wear guard stamped from 1.1 mm. stainless steel and attached to the front of the rope channel with two rivets.

The cam is also new, and smaller than on previous models. The cam axle is only 34 mm. from the inside of the rope channel, as opposed to 47-50 mm. on earlier versions. The cam is cast from stainless steel with a web design. The cam radius increases from 24 to 45 mm. over an angle of 47°, giving a 38° cam angle. The tooth pattern is (3.4)((1S1)^2.2S2)^2(3.4.3). The injection-molded plastic cam safety has a new shape as well, and is correspondingly smaller. Like on other versions of the Croll, the cam safety can hook over the cam channel to hold the cam open.

The front of the shell is stamped with an up-pointing arrow labeled "UP," "CROLL" and "Pat." The inside of the shell has a stamped book-with-an-"i" icon. The rear is screened with "CE0082," EN567"1997¤Ø8-11mm," " EN12841:2006B¤Ø10-11mm140kg," the UIAA logo, a digital scanner code, and"Made in France." The Petzl logo is cast into the cam.

Comments

This version is considerable smaller and lighter than previous versions. This makes it somewhat more difficult to operate, particularly if I am wearing gloves.

There have been discussions on the UK caving board and on Facebook about the shell liner wearing quickly and in an unpredictable manner, leading to rope damage. I have not used mine enough to assess the seriousness of this concern. If you choose this ascender for your rig, you should find the relevant posts, evaluate the concern posted there, and then take any appropriate precautions.