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Trango

Version A Version B
Version A Version B

Overview


Version A
(#1991)

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 Trango from Jesse Albanese in 2015.

The Trango is 187 mm. tall, 72 mm. wide, 23 mm. thick, and weighs 246 g.

The frame is made by milling an aircraft alloy extrusion. The extrusion direction is oriented parallel to the vertical axis of the ascender. The frame contains two opposing channels. One channel is rounded and becomes the rope channel, the other is square and holds the cam. The rope channel is 16 mm. wide. Starting with a length of extrusion, everything that doesn't look like ascender frame is machined away. In particular, the rope channel is shortened, the handle hole is cut, two 15.6 mm. sling attachment holes are drilled at the bottom, a subtriangular hole is milled at the top, the unused lower portion of the cam channel is cut back, and all the sharp corners are rounded. My ascender has a blue anodized finish.

The cam is a skeletonized casting with a (3)(2S2.1S1)^4(1S1)(3) conical tooth count, where "S" indicates a single relief slot. The cam radius increases from 43 to 58 mm. over an angle of 43°, giving a 22° cam angle.The inner cam face radius reduces from top to bottom of the cam in order to match different diameter ropes. The cam pivot is a solid 6 mm. round head rivet. Steel washers separate the rivet heads from the aluminum alloy frame. The cam safety is an elbow shaped nylon(?) lever mounted on a roll pin in the cam. A single spring serves as cam spring and safety spring. Normally this spring holds the safety where it protrudes from both the top and bottom of the cam. The bottom protrusion interferes with the shell's cam channel and prevents opening the cam. When the top of the lever is pushed towards the cam teeth, the lower protrusion rotates into a recess in the cam, thus allowing the cam to open.

Below the safety is a hand grip assembly consisting of two blue plastic pieces pinned to the frame with two roll pins. The larger piece has three molded finger grooves, and a road shelf at the bottom to keep the little finger off the frame. The other piece is a spacer whose sole purpose appears to be so that the same hand grip molding could be used on both right and left hand ascenders

The name "TRANGO" is stamped on the front strap.

Comments

This ascender closely resembles the C.M.I. UltrAscender, but there are differences, both positive and negative.

The ascender can be operated with either hand. The safety improves the C.M.I. UltrAscender design by replacing the fragile ears with a solid post. Unfortunately, the safety spring is too weak for the cam hold-open feature to work reliably in the full-open position. As for the partially-open position, I do not like cam safeties which can hold a cam partially open. I can understand holding the cam full open while waiting for your turn on rope, for example, but partial hold-opens are next to useless. In fact, they present a potential hazard if the cam does not close completely when rigging in, particularly if the ascender is being used as a safety at the pit lip. My philosophy is simple: if an ascender is on rope, it should be capable of holding weight. Most situations where a hold-open are useful (e.g., rescue hauling systems) involve some form of ascender abuse.

The finger grooves on the hand grip are simply too small, and should be eliminated entirely. I have large hands and find them uncomfortable. The shelf at the base of the hand grip serves no essential function, and simply reduces the usable size of the handle. Even without the shelf, the hand grip would keep the rope from jamming in the cam groove as noted above. Fortunately, both the finger grooves and the shelf can easily be filed off.

The cam workmanship is good, but the teeth are short and blunt, making them rather susceptible to mud.


Version B
(#2025)

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 Trango, Version B from Climbing CZ sro in 2015. These were next to impossible to obtain directly in the USA, and so my friend Ondřej Belica acquired these for me in the Czech Republic.

The Trango, Version B is 194 mm. tall, 86 mm. wide, 27 mm. thick, and weighs 211 g.

The shell is a tall irregular shaped stamping made from 4.2 mm. aluminum alloy sheet metal. A 15 mm. wide 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 6 mm. semi-tubular 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. A 14.8 mm. sling attachment hole is punched below the handle opening, and a smaller 13.6 mm. hole is punched outside the first. A 20.3 by 15.8 mm.oval hole punched through both sides of the rope channel provides an attachment point just above the cam. There is a punched cam stop that contacts the top of the cam on the left ascender, but misses by 2 mm. on the right. A stamped reinforcing rip extends from the bottom of the shell, up the front strap, behind the cam, and partly down the back strap.

The cam is a plated skeletonized steel casting. The cam radius increases from 39 to 55 mm. over an angle of 36°, giving a 29° cam angle. The cam has number of small conical teeth. The upper teeth are parallel to the top of the cam, but the lower teeth have their axes sloping downward. The tooth pattern is (3.4)(1S1.2S2.(1S1)^2)(3.2.3), where the S stands for a central slot.

A spring-loaded plastic manual safety bar is riveted to the cam.The normal action of the safety 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 printed with "max 4kN," an up pointing arrow, a Sieg Heil icon with an "L" (respectively "R "for the right ascender) on it's chest, "ROPE", "min ø8," and "max ø13." The rear is printed with "Made in Korea," "0147" ("0142" on the right), "TRANGO inside an ellipse, "Ascender-L" (respectively "-R" on the right), CE0120, and "EN 567."

Comments

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, and operates very smoothly.

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. Some people like them, though.

If you are looking for a stamped-frame handled ascender, this one would make an excellent choice, but I found it nearly impossible to obtain in the USA.