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Advanced Base Camp

Version A Version B Version C
Version A Version B Version C

Overview


Version A
(#225, 2137)

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 Advanced Base Camp from On Rope 1 at the 2007 NSS Convention. I acquired another in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

Like most chest ascenders, the Advanced Base Camp ascender is left-handed. The ascender is 103 mm. high, 75 mm. wide, 37 mm. thick, and weighs 141 grams.

The ascender shell is subtriangular gold anodized shape bent from 3.9 mm. aluminum sheet. The rope channel is formed by bending the right side of the ascender into a U. The rope channel is 15.3 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 lower attachment point is a pear-shaped opening that measures 19.7 mm. high by 23.7 mm. wide. The upper is shaped like a rectangle with semicircular ends; it is 14.4 mm. high by 24.4 mm. wide. 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 is on the front while the roll sits into a stamped depression on the back of the shell. The pivot is centered 49 mm. from the inside of the rope groove. There is a stamped cam stop near the cam pivot.

The cam is a plated skeletonized steel casting. The cam radius, measured from the pivot, increases from 41 to 57 mm. over an angle of 40°, giving a 26° 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 (2.4)(1H1.2)^3(1.2.2). The H stands for a 4 mm. wide, 6 mm. wide inverted subtriangular hole. A spring-loaded manual safety is mounted mounted on an axle riveted to the center of the cam. The normal action of the spring holds the safety against the cam. The safety has a large D-shaped finger opening. The end of the safety is bent over to form a tab. When the cam is opened, the shell interferes with the safety tab, thus preventing opening the cam. If the safety is moved away from the cam (opposing the spring), the tab will clear the shell and the cam will open. At full open the safety can be released and the spring will hold the tab against the back of the shell, locking the cam open. A 7 mm. tall, 8 mm. diameter pin mounted on the safety contacts the side of the shell rope channel when the cam is closed.

The front of the ascender has a screened rigging illustration and "ROPE 8<Ø<13 mm." The rear has book icon with an included "i," "Made in EEC 0206," a Climbing Technology logo, "Patented," the Advanced Base Camp logo, "CE0639," "EN 567," and the UIAA logo. The cam has "L2" cast into it, behind the safety.

Comments

The Advanced Base Camp is well-made and a number of Frog climbers have told me that they like how smoothly it functions. My limited testing supports their experience. The cam closing stop contacts the cam at the same time that the cam face contacts the inside of the rope groove. In any case, the stop only functions when the ascender is off rope, so I consider it to be superfluous. The holes in the cam are intended to reduce the risk of ascender slippage due to mud-caked cam teeth. The design appears superior to some, but most ropes muddy enough to stop other ascenders will stop the this one as well.

The small pin on the cam safety performs an interesting function: pushing down on the "D" causes the safety tab to lever the cam open, but not enough to let the rope free. This provides an alternate way to "thumb" the ascender.


Version B
(#244, 2138)

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 Advanced Base Camp, Version B from On Rope 1 at the 2008 NSS Convention. I acquired another in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

Version B is 102 mm. tall, 75 mm. wide, 38 mm. thick, and weighs 143 g. The shell and cam are essentially identical to those on Version A, but the cam safety is different. Instead of the large D-shaped finger opening found on Version A, Version B has a 12 mm. tall, 10 mm. diameter pin mounted on a smaller safety latch. A 7 mm. tall, 8 mm. diameter pin mounted on the safety contacts the side of the shell rope channel when the cam is closed.

The front of the ascender has a screened rigging illustration and "ROPE 8<Ø<13 mm." The rear has a book-with-an-"i" icon, "Made in EEC 0207," a Climbing Technology logo, "Patented," the Advanced Base Camp logo, "CE0639," "EN 567," and the UIAA logo. The cam has "L2" cast into it, behind the safety.

Comments

The new cam safety pin is not as bulky as the D-shaped finger opening found on Version A, but some people may not like it because it is harder to operate. With practice, though, the new design works well.

The instruction sheet that came with my Version B still showed pictures of Version A.

The Repetto (C.T.) Cirano is an intermediate design between Version A and B.


Version C
(#278, 2139)

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 Advanced Base Camp, Version B from On Rope 1 in 2009. I acquired another in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

Version B is 101 mm. tall, 74 mm. wide, 38 mm. thick, and weighs 143 g. The shell and cam are essentially identical to those on Version A, but the cam safety is different. Instead of the large D-shaped finger opening found on Version A, Version C has a small D-shaped finger opening.

The front of the ascender has a screened rigging illustration and "ROPE 8 <Ø<13 mm." The rear has a book-with-an-"i" icon, "Made in EEC 0207," the Climbing Technology logo, "Patented," the Advanced Base Camp logo, "CE0639," and "EN 567." The cam has "L2" cast into it, behind the safety.

Comments

Version C is essentially identical to the Repetto (C.T.) Cirano. The smaller D-shaped finger opening is not as bulky as the one on Version A, but some people may not like it because it is harder to operate. I find that my fingers tend to slip off the safety. The end of the safety that locks the cam open is longer than on Versions A and B, making the lock-open more secure but also more difficult to engage or release. The shape interferes so Version C does not have the smooth opening characteristics that the Versions A and B have. It also keeps Version C from opening as far when sliding the ascender up rope. Overall, I prefer the other versions, but John Harman, who has used these more than I have, has a different view. John writes:

"The "new" ABC design is much better than the old. The old design seemed to come off rope almost too easy. I never had it inadvertently come off but it never felt as secure as the Petzl. The new design has a much larger tongue that fits up inside the body and makes it much more difficult to come off rope unintentionally."

Neither of us has seen if come off accidentally, but John makes a good point about the relative security of the designs.

I notice that my Version B, my Version C and my Repetto (C.T.) Cirano were all made at essentially the same time.