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Advanced Base Camp
(#211, 2205)

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 The Outdoor Store in February 2007. I acquired another pair in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

The shell is a tall irregular shaped stamping made from 4.0 mm. aluminum alloy sheet metal. 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. 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. A 14.8 mm. sling attachment hole is punched below the handle opening, and a 9.8 mm. hole is punched outside the first. A 15.7 by 18.7 mm. pear shaped hole through both sides of the rope channel provides an attachment point just above the cam. There is a punched cam stop just above the cam.

The cam is a plated skeletonized steel casting. The cam has number of small conical teeth, all of which have their axes sloping downward. The tooth pattern is (2.4)(1H1.2)^3( where the H stands for a subtriangular hole. A spring-loaded manual safety bar is riveted to the cam. 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. A second pin rests against the rope groove when the cam is closed. Depressing the first cam pin allows one to "thumb" the cam for down climbing without allowing the cam to open fully.

The front of ascenders are screened with an icon showing the ascender on rope, an arrow pointing up, and "ROPE 8<Ø<13mm." The back is printed with "CT Made in EEC 0205," a book-with-an-"i" icon, the Advanced Base Camp ABC logo, "CE0639," "EN 567," the UIAA logo, and "Patented." The cam on the left ascender has "L1" in raised letters, while the right-hand ascender cam has "L2."


The following ascenders are all variations of the same basic design:

Image Ascender Manufactured Hand Grip Cam Safety Pin
Advanced Base Camp Advanced Base Camp 03/2005 Plain Smooth
Climbing Technology Amelia Climbing Technology Amelia 03/2008 Textured Smooth
Climbing Technology Quick'Up, Version A Climbing Technology Quick'Up, Version A 03/2014
  • Textured
  • Molded markings
Climbing Technology Quick'Up, Version B Climbing Technology Quick'Up, Version B 01/2015
  • Textured
  • Index finger support
  • Molded markings
Edelrid Elevator Edelrid Elevator 03/2005 Plain Smooth
Singing Rock Lift Singing Rock Lift 05/2010 (L)
01/2012 (R)
Plain Smooth

Climbing Technology also made a version of the Amelia for Repetto Sport, but I never acquired that version.

These are well-made ascenders and perform much like the Petzl Ascension. All sharp edges have been removed. The attachment points are simple yet well-rounded holes in the shell; even so, I would 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 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 one of the easiest to use with one hand. It reminds me of the one on the Hugh Banner and the PMI Cat, but the ones on these are smoother. The "thumbing" feature is clever but does not work well on ropes larger than about 11 mm: the cam does not open enough for the down-sloping teeth to reliably miss catching on the rope sheath. I think it is better to simply grasp the ascender from above and lift the ascender in the traditional manner (unless, of course, you are one of those who prefers to climb Frog). The ribbed handle is comfortable enough for my large hands, but I don't climb by gripping ascenders at their handle.

The rubber handle grips have evolved with time. They are not particularly comfortable for me because the ribs are spaced poorly for my large hands. In addition, the handle on the older models is "too square" for my taste. A file can eliminate both objections, but I suspect that few people will find a need to modify theirs.

The cam is very well made. The cam stop is placed in a position where it will actually touch the cam if the ascender is off rope. Many manufacturers put cam stops in odd places where they can never touch the cam. I don't see much need for cam stops, most active cavers don't weight enough to bend their ascenders to failure by cam pull-through, and there is no need to shock load one's ascenders.

This ascender has the same pit lip disadvantage as the Clog and other stamped frame ascenders, although the reinforcing will help prevent bending.

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, especially ones that are too small for a normal carabiner. Some people like them, though.

If you are looking for a stamped-frame handled ascender, this one (or any of the near-equivalents in the table) would make a good choice.