|Front View: Closed||Rear View: Closed|
|Front View: Open for Rigging||Rear View: Open for Rigging|
Ondřej Belica of Climbing CZ sro sent me a Rock Empire ascender in 2017.
The ascender is left-handed, as are most chest ascenders I have seen. The ascender is 118 mm. tall, 78 mm. wide, 33 mm. thick, and weighs 163 g. The ascender shell is subtriangular blue anodized shape bent from 4 mm. aluminum sheet. The rope channel is formed by bending the right side of the ascender into a U. The rope channel is 17 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 ovals distorted by the stamping operation. The lower attachment point measures 22.4 by 20.0 mm. and the upper 16.6 by 15.8 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 pivot is centered 48 mm. from the inside of the rope groove.
The cam is a stainless steel casting. The cam radius increases from 38 to 57 mm. over an angle of 44°, giving a 28° cam angle.. The cam has number of small conical teeth, all of which have their axes approximately aligned with the cam axle. The tooth pattern is (3)^3(1S1)^5(3)^2. 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.
The front of the ascender is screened the Rock Empire logo, a book-with-an-"i" icon, "CE1019," "EN 567," "4kN," "032" and "N045/15." The omsode os screened with a hollow up-pointing arrow labeled "UP," "ROPE: Ø 8-13mm," and a second hollow up-pointing arrow labeled "UP."
The following ascenders are closely related, with some minor differences as indicated:
|CIC||Symmetrical||Aluminum /w Tab|
|Climb Tech||Symmetrical||Aluminum /w Tab|
|Epic Peak||Symmetrical||Aluminum /w Tab|
|GM Climbing||Symmetrical||Plastic-covered Aluminum|
|NTR, Version A||Symmetrical||Aluminum /w Tab|
|Rock Empire||Symmetrical||Plastic-covered Aluminum|
|Xinda||Symmetrical||Aluminum /w Tab|
|Yoke||Asymmetrical||Aluminum /w Tab|
I obtained most of them from China, and believe that the others were made in China as well. These are all well-made ascenders and the prices that I paid, even with shipping, were far below those of the European equivalents. One potential concern is that we don't have the experience with Chinese metallurgy and quality control that we have with American and European devices, but I have no evidence suggesting that the metallurgy is unacceptable and the quality certainly appears to be fine. I'm not making any recommendation on this point one way or the other.
All sharp edges have been removed, except for those on the inside of the attachment holes. The user should round the attachment holes with a Swiss file.
The cams are all very well made. The Yoke has a different cam, with the rear of the cam face being sloped rather than parallel to the cam axle. This has no practical significance. A second, minor difference is that the cam rivet on the Yoke has a smaller head than the ones on the others.
All of these have aluminum tab cam safeties, but the ones on the GM Climbing and Rock Empire are plastic-covered. I don't find a particular advantage or disadvantage to the plastic tab, but one may have a personal preference. Mine is to save weight by choosing one without the plastic cover.