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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 Vertical from Ice Rock in 2017.

The Vertical is 192 mm. tall, 94 mm. wide, 28 mm. thick, and weighs 208 g.

The shell is a tall irregular shaped stamping made from 4.0 mm. aluminum alloy sheet metal. A 16 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. The hand grip has a slight break to support the index finger. A 15.9 mm. sling attachment hole is punched below the handle opening, and a 10.3 mm. hole is punched below and outside the first. A 15.9 by 17.7 mm. oval hole punched through both sides of the rope channel provides an attachment point just above the cam. There is a cam stop punched beside this hole.

The cam is a plated skeletonized steel casting. The cam radius increases from 38 to 55 mm. over an angle of 32°, giving a 34° cam angle. The cam has number of small conical teeth. The teeth have their axes sloping downward. The tooth pattern is (3.4)(1S1.2S2)^2(1S1)^2(3) where the S stands for a single slot.

A "rubbery" spring-loaded manual safety 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, thus preventing opening the cam. If the safety 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 ascenders are screened with "Ø8-12," a rigging illustration, a logo, and "ΑΓ13." The rear is screened with the Vertical logo, "VERTICAL," and "1612."


These are well-made ascenders and perform much like the Petzl Ascension. All sharp edges have been removed. The attachment points are simple holes in the shell. They are not rounded but the owner could round them with a Swiss file.; 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 easy to use with one hand but rather painful, having a sharp point that effectively stabs the meat of the thumb. It reminds me of the one on a recent Petzl Ascension that was equally painful. Once agan, a file easily removes the problem.

The rubber handle grips are not particularly comfortable for me because the rib is spaced poorly for my large hands.

The cam is 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.