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1/2" Quick-release Pin Gibbs

Version A Version B Version C Version D
Version A Version B Version C Version D
 
Version E Version F Version G Version H Version I
Version E Version F Version G Version H Version I
Version J Version K Version L Version M #1
Version J Version K Version L Version M #1

Overview


The quick release (QR) pin models superceded the springwire models. Despite their being quicker, there were initial concerns about their behavior in muddy conditions; however, eventually cavers learned to accept them. Here is a quick summary of the versions in my collection (all have anodized aluminum shells unless otherwise noted):

  1. A. Cord cam keeper, chain QR pin keeper.
    (#209, 224, 1929, 2258)
  2. B. Braided webbing cam keeper screwed to top of cam, chain QR pin keeper.
    (#65, 286, 1543, 1930)
  3. C. Stainless steel shell designed for coil spring, washer on rivet holding chain to shell.
    (#2047)
  4. D. Large split ring on QR pin keeper
    (2246)
  5. E. Plain shell, washer on rivet holding chain to shell, plated chain.
    (#2045)
  6. F. Large split ring on QR pin keeper, copper-plated chain
    (2242)
  7. G. Plain shell, tubular webbing cam keeper
    (#2046)
  8. H. Stainless steel shell designed for coil spring, hard-coated cam, cable QR keeper attached to teardrop riveted to shell.
    (#1918)
  9. I. Stainless steel shell designed for coil spring, punched cam, cable QR keeper attached to teardrop riveted to shell.
    (#1918)
  10. J. Aluminum shell designed for wire spring, hard-coated cam, cable QR keeper attached to teardrop riveted to shell.
    (#66, 113)
  11. K. Like D but cam keeper sandwiched under teardrop.
    (#1916)
  12. L. New cam design, web cam keeper riveted to top of shell.
    (#1561)
  13. M. Web cam keeper riveted to middle of shell.
    (#1511)
  14. #1. New cam design, dented shell.
    (#205, 2247)

Version A
(#209, 224, 1929, 2258)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired one of Version A from Thomas Kopp in 2007, and two more from Richard Briggs a few months later, all used on eBay. I bought another pair at the 2012 NSS Convention Consignment Sales. I acquired another in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

The shell is bent from 3.2 mm. aluminum sheet and then anodized gold. The internal width is 16.6 mm. The shell has an 8.4 mm. through hole for the cam axle located 29 mm. from the inside of the shell groove. There is a 4.9 mm. through hole near the top of the shell. One side of the top through hole has a roll river that holds the cam and pin keepers.

The cam is cast aluminum. It has nine teeth on a spiral face that increases in radius from 14 to 33 mm. over about 89°, giving a cam angle of about 28°. The red cord cam keeper fits into a countersunk hole drilled in the top of the cam, and emerges from a hole in the side, where a knot secures it.

The cam axle is a 7.8 mm. quick release pain with a 25 mm. active length. The pin keeper is six links of flat chain attached to the pin by an 18.8 mm. split ring.

Each side of the shell is stamped with "GIBBS" with a double underline. The quick release pin is stamped "AVDEL PAT. PEND." and "PUSH BLS5B10S."

Comments

The early quick release pin Gibbs had some problems in muddy conditions, but a change to the quick release pin seems to have eliminated most of the complaints.


Version B
(#65, 286, 1543, 1930)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired a pair of Version B in the 1970s (probably 1975), another pair on eBay from Henderson L. Holman IV in 2009, one from Phillip Harris on eBay in 2010, and one donated by Barbara Anne Am Ende in 2012.

This version differs from Version A by having a braided keeper that is similar to a piece of flat boot lace. A round head screw fastens and washer hold the cam, and the other end of the web is riveted to the shell.

Each side of the shell is stamped with "GIBBS" with a double underline. The quick release pin is stamped "AVDEL PUSH" and "BLS5B10S."

Comments

I don't like the web as much as the cord. Although I've broken cords, the web feels awkward, probably only because it is shorter than I would like.

One of my Version B ascenders has a cylindrical depression cast in the side of the cam, but this might only indicate that the mold was not filled properly.


Version C
(#2047)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Gibbs QR, Version C Gibbs from CarolJo Rushin-Elron at the 2016 NSS Convention.

Version C is 104 mm. tall, 58 mm. wide, and 57 mm. thick, and weighs 175 g. The shell is made from 3.1 mm. stainless steel. A small tab is punched out near the base of one side. This tab serves no useful function on this model, but allows parts commonality with certain spring-loaded models with coil springs.

The cam is hard anodized. It has nine teeth on a spiral face that increases in radius from 16 to 33 mm. over about 84°, giving a cam angle of about 28°.

The cam keeper is 100 mm. piece of 11 mm. braided webbing screwed to the cam and riveted to the shell.

The cam axle is a 7.8 mm. quick release pain with a 25 mm. active length. The pin keeper is six links of flat chain attached to the pin by an 11 mm. split ring.

Each side of the shell is stamped with "UP," an up-pointing arrow, and "GIBBS" with a double underline. The quick release pin is stamped "AVIBANK PUSH" and "BL5B105."

Comments

The stainless steel shell serves no useful purpose for normal caving, and adds unnecessary weight. The nonfunctional tab tends to catch on things when it shouldn't. If I were to use this ascender regularly, I would flatten the tab.


Version D
(#2246)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Gibbs QR, Version D in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

Version D is 104 mm. tall, 59 mm. wide, 57 mm. thick, and weighs 179 g.

The pin keeper is attached to the pin by an 18.8 mm. split ring.

Each side of the shell is stamped with "UP," an up-pointing arrow, and "GIBBS" with a double underline. The quick release pin is stamped "AVIBANK PUSH" and "BLS5B10S."

Comments

The anodizing on the cam is black instead of bronze-colored, and the split ring is larger than the one on Version C. Neither change affects performance.


Version E
(#2045)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Gibbs QR, Version C Gibbs from CarolJo Rushin-Elron at the 2016 NSS Convention.

Version C is 103 mm. tall, 58 mm. wide, and 57 mm. thick, and weighs 289 g.

Each side of the shell is stamped with "UP," an up-pointing arrow, and "GIBBS" with a double underline. The quick release pin is stamped "AVIBANK" and "55207."

Comments

Gibbs ascenders start to slip when the cam wears down to about the seventh tooth. The hard coated cam will last much longer than the uncoated cams. I still prefer to cut the two largest teeth (#1 and #2) off my Gibbs because they do create noticeable drag, especially on a foot cam at the bottom of a pit. I don't climb on oversize ropes, and these teeth serve no useful purpose on thinner ones.


Version F
(#2242)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Gibbs QR, Version F in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

Version D is 104 mm. tall, 59 mm. wide, 57 mm. thick, and weighs 179 g.

The pin keeper is six links of flat copper-plated chain attached to the pin by an 18.8 mm. split ring.

Each side of the shell is stamped with "UP," an up-pointing arrow, and "GIBBS" with a double underline. The quick release pin is stamped "AVIBANK PUSH" and "BLS5B10S."

Comments

The anodizing on the cam is black instead of bronze-colored, the chain has a copper plating, and the split ring is larger than the one on Version E. None of these changes affects performance.


Version G
(#2046)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Gibbs QR, Version G Gibbs from CarolJo Rushin-Elron at the 2016 NSS Convention.

Version G #3 is 103 mm. tall, 58 mm. wide, and 57 mm. thick, and weighs 173 g.

Each side of the shell is stamped with "UP," an up-pointing arrow, and "GIBBS" with a double underline. The quick release pin is stamped "AVIBANK" and "55207."

Comments

I like the web keeper more than the "shoe string" of Version A or the "boot lace" of Version B.


Version H
(#1918)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Gibbs QR, Version H from Speleoshoppe in 2012 as new old stock

Version H is 103 mm. tall, 59 mm. wide, 57 mm. thick, and weighs 284 g. The rope channel is 19 mm. wide. The shell is made from 3.1 mm. stainless steel. A small tab is punched out near the base of one side. This tab serves no useful function on this model, but allows parts commonality with certain spring-loaded models with coil springs.

The cam is hard anodized. It has nine teeth on a spiral face that increases in radius from 16 to 33 mm. over about 84°, giving a cam angle of about 28°.

The cam keeper is 120 mm. piece of 12.8 mm. tubular webbing screwed to the cam and riveted to the shell. The pin keeper is a piece of 1.6 mm. steel cable with eye loops crimped at each end and a short (13 mm.) plastic covered central section. One eye passes through a hole in the pin, the other attaches to a teardrop shaped aluminum tab riveted to the shell with the cam keeper sandwiched in between.

Each side of the shell is stamped with "UP," an up-pointing arrow, and "GIBBS" with a double underline. The quick release pin is stamped "AVIBANK PUSH" and "55207-1."

Comments

I don't like the pin keeper because it is stiff enough to sometimes impede setting the pin, but this is a very minor nit-pick rather than a serious criticism.

The "teardrop" adds another part that can snag on other pieces of equipment (another minor nit-pick).

My previous comments on the stainless steel shell apply to this one as well.


Version I
(#2317)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Gibbs #4S, Version B from On Rope 1 in 2009.

The Gibbs QR, Version I is 104 mm. tall, 71 mm. wide, 63 mm. thick, and weighs 313 g. The rope channel is 18 mm. wide. The shell is made from 3.1 mm. stainless steel. A small tab is punched out near the base of one side. This tab serves no useful function on this model, but allows parts commonality with certain spring-loaded models with coil springs.

The cam is punched from 2024-T6 aluminum alloy plate and then machined. It has nine teeth on a spiral face that increases in radius from 15 to 32 mm. over about 84°, giving a cam angle of about 27°.

The cam keeper is 120 mm. piece of 12.8 mm. tubular webbing screwed to the cam and riveted to the shell. The pin keeper is a piece of 1.6 mm. steel cable with eye loops crimped at each end and a short (13 mm.) plastic covered central section. One eye passes through a hole in the pin, the other attaches to a teardrop shaped aluminum tab riveted to the shell with the cam keeper sandwiched in between.

Each side of the shell is stamped with "UP," an up-pointing arrow, and "GIBBS" with a double underline. The quick release pin is stamped "AVIBANK PUSH" and "BLS6B11S."

Comments

This Gibbs has a new cam design. At first glance it appears to be milled from plate, but closer inspection shows a parting line in the middle. My guess is that it is punched, and then the eye and pivot holes are drilled. If so, it may be stronger than the cast cams. More important, it seems to work as well as they do.


Version J
(#66, 113)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I have two of Version J. I don't have records of where I acquired the first one. Geary Schindel gave me the second one in 1992. It was still a current model at that time.

The shell is similar to the shell on Version A, but it has two extra holes. These have no effect on this ascender, but allow using the same shell for this model and spring loaded Version L. The inner width is slightly larger (17.5 mm.) and the axle hole sits slightly farther out in the groove (31 mm.).

The cam keeper is 120 mm. piece of 12.8 mm. tubular webbing screwed to the cam and riveted to the shell. The pin keeper is a piece of 1.6 mm. steel cable with eye loops crimped at each end and a short (13 mm.) plastic covered central section. One eye passes through a hole in the pin, the other attaches to a teardrop shaped aluminum tab riveted between the shell and cam keeper.

Each side of the shell is stamped with "UP," an up-pointing arrow, and "GIBBS" with a double underline. The quick release pin is stamped "AVDEL PUSH" and "55207-1."

Comments

The differences in cam and shell dimensions between this and Version A are insignificant.


Version K
(#1916)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Gibbs QR, Version K from Hawill's Ltd. in 2012 as new old stock.

Version K is 104 mm. tall, 57 mm. wide, 57 mm. thick, and weighs 192 g. The rope channel is 19 mm. wide. The shell is the same as the Version J shell. The QR pin is attached to a teardrop-shaped tab by a crimped 1.75 mm. stainless steel cable. The tab is riveted to the upper shell, with a flat washer to protect the tab and a piece of 13 mm. tubular webbing sandwiched between the tab and the shell. The other end of the webbing is screwed to the top of the cam. The cast, hard-coated cam is similar to the Version J cam. The cam radius increases from 16 to 34 mm. over an angle of 81°, giving a 28° cam angle.

Each side of the shell is stamped with "UP," an up-pointing arrow, and "GIBBS" with a double underline. The quick release pin is stamped "AVIBANK PUSH" and "55207-1."

Comments

The two holes on one side of the cam, near the QR pin, are for parts commonality. On the spring-loaded models with wire springs, these holes are used for mounting the spring housing. They serve no function on the plain model, and it is interesting that the cam is not drilled as it is on those models or on Version L.


Version L
(#1561)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Gibbs QR, Version L from Robert Bowman in 2012.

Version L is 104 mm. tall, 58 mm. wide, 57 mm. thick, and weighs 163 g. The shell is the same as the Version J shell, and the cam and QR pins are attached to the shell with a single piece of 12.7 mm. tubular webbing riveted to the shell. The cast, hard-coated cam is similar to the Version H cam. It also has a small hole drilled above the eye; this allows using the same cam design for spring-loaded models with wire springs.

Each side of the shell is stamped with "UP," an up-pointing arrow, and "GIBBS" with a double underline. The quick release pin is stamped "AVIBANK PUSH" and "55207XX."

Comments

My complaint is with the webbing keepers.


StarVersion M
(#1511)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired two Gibbs QR, Version M ascenders from Ben North in 2009.

Version M is 104 mm. tall, 58 mm. wide, and 57 mm. thick, and weighs 167 g. The shell is the same as the Version J shell, and the cam and QR pins are attached to the shell with 12.7 mm. tubular webbing riveted to the shell. The cast, hard-coated cam is similar to the Version J cam, but has a slightly different shape. It also has a small hole drilled above the eye; this allows using the same cam design for spring-loaded models with wire springs.

Each side of the shell is stamped with "UP," an up-pointing arrow, and "GIBBS" with a double underline. The quick release pin is stamped "AVK 55207."

Comments

My complaint is with the webbing keepers. Gibbs Products never found a good solution to the keeper problem. Cord and webbing keepers wear out, and stiff cable keepers are awkward to use.


#1
(#205, 2247)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired this Gibbs from Inner Mountain Outfitters in 2006. I acquired another in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

This Gibbs has a new cam design (the same as the one on the Gibbs #2 Version J). At first glance it appears to be milled from plate, but closer inspection shows a parting line in the middle. My guess is that it is punched, and then the eye and pivot holes are drilled. The edges of the eye are sharp. The cam is hard anodized. It has nine teeth on a spiral face that increases in radius from 15 to 33 mm. over about 97°, giving a cam angle of about 27°.

The shell has the dimples introduced on Gibbs #2 Version B. That version is a much larger ascender so it does not belong on this page.

The quick release pin diameter was increased to 9.3 mm.

One side of the shell is stamped with an arrow pointing up and "UP," "GIBBS" with a double underline, and "NOT FOR SELF BELAY." The other side is stamped with an arrow pointing up and "UP," "GIBBS" with a double underline, and "USE ONLY ON NON-METAL ROPE FROM 7/16 TO 1/2."

Comments

Overall, I think Version M was better designed and better made. I suspect the changes were made to better fit the more lucrative and bureaucratically controlled industrial market rather than the caving market where Gibbs Products planted their roots.