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Asol

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 Asol from Kangjin Liao in 2017.

The Asol is 191 mm. tall, 89 mm. wide, 27 mm. thick, and weighs 205 g.

The shell is a tall irregular shaped stamping made from 3.9 mm. aluminum alloy sheet metal. The upper part of the shell has a stamped reinforcing ridge that extends down into the handle. A 16 mm. 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 5.5 mm. semi-tubular rivet. The cam and cam spring are mounted on this rivet. The handle below the cam has a soft black rubbery hand grip molded into place. The hand grip has four finger grooves. A 15.3 mm. sling attachment hole is punched below the handle opening and a smaller 10.6 mm. hole is punched outside the first. Neither hole is beveled. A 17.2 mm. hole through both sides of the rope channel provides an attachment point just above the cam. This hole is beveled.

The cam is a steel casting. The cam has number of small conical teeth, all of which have their axes approximately parallel to the upper surface of the cam. The cam radius increases from 36 to 53 mm. over an angle of 37°, giving a 31° cam angle. The tooth pattern is (2.4)(1S1.2S2)^2(1S1)(2.3). Like the other ascenders, the inner cam face radius reduces from top to bottom to accommodate various sized ropes. A spring-loaded manual safety tab 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. A knob on the safety bar assists in operating the safety mechanism.

The front of the ascender is screened with a hollow up-pointing arrow containing "UP" and "Max 4kn," "USE ROPE ¥8<Ø<13," the ASOL logo, "QSA01R," "CE 1019," and "EN 567." The rear is screened with "PICC."

Comments

The following ascenders are all of the same design:

Image Ascender Rope Size
Advanced Base Camp Asol 10<Ø<13
Climbing Technology Amelia NTR, Version B 8<Ø<12
Proverti CD 211L Proverti CD 211 & CD 212 9<Ø<13

The only differences are in the color of the anodizing and in the markings. I acquired the Asol and NTR, Version B as a pair, ordering them at the same time and from the same vendor in China. Interestingly, they were not priced the same. The Proverti CD 211 & CD 212 came to me from Poland, although I don't know that it was manufactured there (I suspect it is Chinese as well). Although these ascenders are essentially identical, the acceptable rope size ranges printed on the three varies from one to another.

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 have sharp edges that should be rounded with a file; even so, I would consider their small radius too sharp for directly attaching sling ropes. They are probably acceptable 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 ribbed handgrips are almost large enough to be comfortable for my large hands, provided I don't wear gloves. In any case, I don't climb by gripping ascenders at their handle. 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 cam is very well made. The cam stop is placed in a position where it will not touch the cam if the ascender is off rope. 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.

The tab on the safety is rather small and slopes downward, allowing one's thumb to slip off rather easily. The cam casting is designed so that it could be used with a plastic safety instead.

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

The outer attachment hole is too small for a normal carabiner. 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 that is too small for a normal carabiner. Some people like them, though.