|Front View: Closed||Rear View: Closed|
|Front View: Open for Rigging||Rear View: Open for Rigging|
I acquired my Blanzo ascenders from Kangjin Liao in 2017.
The Blanzo is 201 mm. tall, 98 mm. wide, 33 mm. thick, and weighs 217 g.
The shell is a tall irregular shaped stamping made from 3.4 mm. aluminum alloy sheet metal. The stamping has a number of reinforcing ribs. A 14 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 shoulder pin which enters from the rear and is expanded in front. The cam, cam spring and a spacing washer are mounted on this pin. The handle below the cam has a "rubber" plastic hand grip molded into place. The hand grip has shallow index and ring finger grooves. A 15.6 mm. sling attachment hole is punched below the handle opening. A 14 by 18 mm. oval hole through both sides of the rope channel provides an attachment point just above the cam. An arc-shaped slot is punched below and concentric with the cam pivot. This slot is enlarged at both ends and narrow in the center. The cam safety rides in this slot.
The cam is a skeletonized steel casting. The cam radius increases from 31 to 50 mm. over an angle of 42°, giving a 34° cam angle. The cam has seventeen small conical teeth, all of which have their axes approximately parallel to each other. The central teeth have their axes in line with the cam pivot. The tooth pattern is (1.2)(3.2)^4(1). Unlike some other ascenders, the inner cam face radius appears to be constant. A spring-loaded manual safety passes through the cam and the arc-shaped slot in the shell. The head of the safety forms a 15 mm. diameter round-headed button. The safety shaft is 11.8 mm. in diameter, then narrows to 4 mm. inside the cam, then increases to 7.5 mm. where it passes through the shell, and finally to 11 mm. Normally a spring pushes the safety toward the front of the ascender, and the enlarged 7.5 mm. portion fits into one of the large areas of the slot. Depending on which end of the slot it is in, this either keeps the cam from opening enough to release the main rope or keeps the cam from closing. Pushing the head of the safety aligns the 4 mm. shaft with the shell, allowing the cam to move through it's full range of motion.
The right ascender is anodized blue and the left one red. The front is screened with the the Blanzo Logo, "Max 100 kg," "Made in CHINA,""CE 1282," "¥8≤Ø≤13" (where ¥ represents two concentric circles), "EN 363:2008,"¥10≤Ø≤13" (where ¥ represents two concentric circles), a "Sieg Heil" icon with a circle-and-slash head, and a mirror image "L" on the left ascender and a normal "R" on the right. The frame is stamped with the the Reading-Is-Dangerous icon.
Apparently the Chinese copied the Italian Camp Pilot, since the two are essentially identical. The SUT is another apparent copy featuring a different handgrip. I do not know whether these copies were licensed.
I feel that this is a well made ascender. All sharp edges have been removed. The attachment points are simply holes in the shell, but the "rubber" handgrip encircles the holes. This provides some rounding but since the metal edges do not appear to be beveled, I would prefer not to tie directly into them. 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 cam is very well made and the cam teeth are very well done. When I first encountered the design on the Camp Pilot, I found the safety took a few minutes to get used to. After minimal practice I decided that this is one of the easier safety designs to operate for stamped-frame handled eccentric cam ascenders. Single-handed operation of this ascender is fairly easy with the either hand. Closing an locked open ascender is accomplished with a simple push on the button.
The shell is thinner that the one on the Camp Pilot, and both are thinner than those on the Kong-Bonaiti, Petzl Ascension or the VauDe Anthron, but I like the location of the reinforcing better on the Camp than the Kong-Bonaiti or Petzl Ascension (The VauDe Anthron isn't reinforced). Accidental bending at the pit lip is a concern, even more so than for the others.