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Lucky AL-10 & AL-15

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 pair of ascenders from Barrabes.com in February, 2003. The AD-10 is the left-handed ascender and the AL-15 is the right-handed one. The Lucky ascenders are produced by Anthron.

The shell is a tall irregular shaped stamping made from 4.2 mm. aluminum alloy sheet metal. The stamping has one reinforcing rib behind the cam, but none along the sides of the hand opening. A rope channel is formed in the upper portion of one side and a smaller cam channel lies opposite the first. A hole drilled through both sides of the cam channel accepts a 5 mm. roll rivet. The cam and cam spring are mounted on this rivet. The handle below the cam has a soft "rubbery" hand grip molded into place. The hand grip has four shallow finger grooves. The front and back of the grip are not the same; however, the right and left ascender use the same grip so the pair has an odd, asymmetrical appearance. A 15.8 mm. sling attachment hole is punched below the handle opening, and an 11 mm. hole is punched below and outside the first. A 14.3 by 19.8 mm. oval hole through both sides of the rope channel provides an attachment point just above the cam, and a 15.8 mm. hole is punched through the rear of the shell beside it. There is no cam stop.

The cam is a plated skeletonized steel casting. The cam has number of small conical teeth, all of which have their axes approximately in line with the corresponding radius from the cam pivot. The tooth pattern is (3.2)^2(1.2)^2(B) where "B" indicates a bar. There are two notches on each side of the cam face, presumable for mud relief. Unlike some other ascenders, the inner cam face radius appears to be constant. A spring-loaded manual safety bar is mounted on the bottom of the cam with a small 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 pin on the safety assists in operating the safety mechanism.

The front of the left ascender has a "AL-15," a triangle and double arrow logo, "ROPES" and "ø8-13mm" stamped on the rope channel. "lucKY" is stamped onto the front strap. The rear is stamped with "CE0123." "0502-A" is stamped behind the cam. The right ascender has similar markings with "AL-10" replacing "AL-15."

Comments

These are identical to Anthron ascenders, being made by the same company. They are well-made ascenders and perform much like the Petzl Ascension. All sharp edges have been removed. The attachment points are simply holes in the shell, and although rounded they should have been beveled more; even so, I would consider their small radius too sharp for directly attaching sling ropes. They are probably acceptably rounded for webbing (or could be made so), but considering the proximity of the attachment points to the main rope, I would recommend using a small maillon for most attachments in order to reduce the risk of sling abrasion. The lower attachment hole could theoretically have the same safety problems as the one on Clog Version A. The upper rope attachment hole is located very close to the main rope. A carabiner through the upper attachment hole will probably drag on the main line. Note that such a carabiner will prevent putting the ascender on or off rope, so one's climbing system must be designed accordingly.

The safety is awkward to use with one hand (like the Petzl). The ribbed handle is not comfortable for me because the ribs are spaced poorly for my hand. The cam is very well made. The notches don't seem to provide much help in muddy conditions - but nobody else's similar ascender works well either. I'm not sure what purpose the bar serves - several people have sent me emails telling me that the bar keeps the cam from closing and touching the shell. I agree, it does, but so what? Putting the ascender on rope does the same thing. Initially I wondered if the bar would interfere with using the ascender. It does not appear that it will, at least on 9 mm. and larger ropes.

This ascender has the same pit lip disadvantage as the Clog and other stamped frame ascenders. The shell is thicker that the one on the Camp Pilot, Kong-Bonaiti, and Petzl Ascension but it isn't reinforced as it is on those.

I'm not sure the extra holes are needed at the base - except for the Petzl Pompe, I've never found a real need for a second hole. Some people like them, though.

If you are looking for a stamped-frame handled ascender, the Lucky is yet another a reasonable choice to consider.