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Russian

Version A Version B Version C
Version A Version B Version C

Overview


Version A
(#104, 2286)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Top Open for Rigging
Top Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Russian, Version A from John E. Weinel, Inc. in 1990. I acquired another pair in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

Version A is 49 mm. tall, 80 mm. wide, 26 mm. thick, and weighs 101 g.

This Russian ascender consists of a pivoting lever and two posts mounted between two side plates. One side plate is stationary, while the other pivots on the lever axle so that it may be opened to admit the rope. The lever is spring-loaded so that the tag side closes against a knurled post (seen on the lower left). The remaining post does not appear to be actively involved in the functioning of the ascender.

There are no markings on this ascender.

Comments

To rig this ascender, bring the standing rope down to the right (as shown) of the lever, then pass it under the lever and over the knurled post. Close the swinging side gate, and insert a carabiner through the holes. When load is applied to the carabiner, the rope exerts a counter-clockwise torque on the lever, and the left side of the lever squeezes the rope against the knurled post.

This is an interesting design, but the implementation has one serious problem: the right end of the lever is sharp instead of rounded. I tend to refer to this ascender as the "rope cuter" for this reason, but a few minutes with a file solves the problem.

This ascender can be used on ropes up to about 13 mm. diameter, but for ropes over 8 mm. the bend in the side plates causes the rope to drag when the ascender is raised. Since the ascender rotates when loaded, there is a fair amount of lost motion in each cycle.


Version B
(#185)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Top Open for Rigging
Top Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Russian, Version B from A. Short in 2005.

Version B is 49 mm. tall, 81 mm. wide, 28 mm. thick, and weighs 103 g.

There are no markings on this ascender.

Comments

Except for the two extra small holes in the the front plate, Version B is identical to Version A. The front plate holes line up with the back plate holes, so I suspect that the front plate on Version B was made from a back plate


Version C
(#200)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Top Open for Rigging
Top Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired this ascender from Robert Allen Steed in 2006.

The front and rear plates are made from 2 mm. anodized aluminum plate cut. A 5 mm. steel pin extends through the front plate, a pivoting lever, the rear plate, and a washer, and is then riveted in place. The head of the pin is riveted to the front plate with two small (3 mm.) rivets.

Two 5 mm. screws hold a 12 mm. thick, 32 mm. high, 52 mm. wide black-anodized aluminum block on the inside of the rear plate. The outer end of the block sticks out beyond the side plates. A round-head pin pressed into this block forms a slot to capture the pivoting front plate when closed. The inner end of the block has a threaded hole that accepts a 12 mm thick anvil with a 10 mm. threaded stud. The side of the anvil opposite the stub has a 4 mm. deep U-shaped rope groove. A 5 mm. screw fits through a slot in the rear plate and into a threaded hole in the anvil, keeping it from rotating. 13.5 mm diameter holes in the front plate, black block and rear plate align to provide a carabiner attachment point.

The pivoting lever is rounded at each end. It has three projections on the inner side, one at each end and one near the center. Each projection has a U-shaped groove in it.

There are no manufacturer markings on this ascender

Comments

The top-bottom symmetry makes this a truly ambidextrous ascender.

The user can change the anvil to lever distance by removing the three 5 mm. screws, turning the anvil, and then bolting the anvil and black block back into place. Although designed to allow adjusting for different rope diameters, the adjustment must be done prior to rigging. It will hold well if adjusted well, and won't if it isn't.

The ascender rotates under load to create the rope bend required to keep it from slipping. This lost motion is a considerable efficiency loss when climbing.

The attachment hole is too small for many carabiners. The ascender will not come off the rope when an attachment carabiner is in place (unless, of course, you take the ascender to an end of the rope).