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1/2" Spring-loaded Gibbs

Version A Version B Version C Version D Version E
Version A Version B Version C Version D Version E
 
Version F Version G Version H Version I Version J
Version F Version G Version H Version I Version J
 
Version K Version L Version M Version N
Version K Version L Version M Version N
 
Version O Version P Version Q #2 Version B
Version O Star Version P Version Q #2 Version B

Overview


Here is a quick summary of the versions in my collection (all have anodized aluminum shells unless otherwise noted):

  1. A. Two coil springs, uncoated cast cam.
    (#67)
  2. B. One coil spring, chain spring keeper, chain QR pin keeper attached to top of shell.
    (#262)
  3. C. Stainless steel shell, chain spring keeper, chain QR pin keeper attached to top of shell.
    (#2048)
  4. D. Chain QR pin keeper attached to middle of shell, uncoated cast cam.
    (#77, 261)
  5. E. Copper-plated chain
    (#2245)
  6. F. Wire spring riveted to shell, hard coated cam, tab for coil spring.
    (#75)
  7. G. Eliminated shell tab for coil spring.
    (#2235)
  8. H. Stainless steel shell, wire spring riveted to shell, tab for coil spring.
    (#1921)
  9. I. Stainless steel shell, cable keeper to teardrop riveted to top of shell, uncoated punched cam.
    (#1922)
  10. J. Stainless steel shell, cable keeper to teardrop riveted to top of shell with washer, uncoated forged cam.
    (#1923)
  11. K. Stainless steel shell, new hard-coated cam.
    (#1510)
  12. L. Cable keeper to teardrop riveted to middle of shell.
    (#263, 1509)
  13. M. Older hard-coated cam, plastic spring cover, cable keeper to teardrop riveted to cover.
    (#2254)
  14. N. Same as the previous one but without the shell markings.
    (#71)
  15. O. Older hard-coated cam, plastic spring cover, cord keeper to teardrop riveted to cover.
    (#1562)
  16. P. Older hard-coated cam, new plastic spring cover, cord keeper to teardrop riveted to top of shell.
    (#1563)
  17. Q. New plastic spring cover, web keeper to teardrop riveted to top of shell.
    (#1564)
  18. #2B. New cam, newer plastic spring cover, cable keeper to teardrop riveted to cover.
    (#206)

Version A
(#67, 2243)

Front Side
Front Side
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired in the early 1970s, but I don't have a record of where or from whom I acquired it. I acquired another in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

Version A is 104 mm. tall, 71 mm. wide, 57 mm. thick, and weighs 186 g.

The shell is made from 1/8" (3.2 mm.) aluminum alloy bent to form a 17 mm. wide U-shaped rope channel.

The cam is cast aluminum. The cam radius increases from 16 to 33 mm. over an angle of 85°, giving a 27° cam angle. There are nine teeth, and the cam toe is tapered so that the end teeth are narrower. A 7.8 mm. diameter quick release pin acts as the cam axle.

This ascender has two springs connected by a split ring. One spring runs from a machine screw set in the cam to the split ring. When the split ring is placed over a "hook" punched out of the shell, it pulls the cam closed. The second spring pulls the split ring upward, which is necessary to keep the split ring on the hook because the hook is not aimed in the proper direction to resist the pull from the cam.

This ascender uses a chain as the quick release pin keeper.

Each side of the shell is stamped with "GIBBS" with a double underline. The QR pin is stamped "AVIBANK PUSH" and "BLS5B 10S."

Comments

This is the earliest spring-loaded Gibbs in my collection. It is the ascender shown in the Gibbs Patent #4253218.


Version B
(#262)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired Version B used on eBay from Gene Clinger in 2008.

Version B is 104 mm. tall, 71 mm. wide, 57 mm. thick, and weighs 189 g.

The shell is made from 1/8" (3.2 mm.) aluminum alloy bent to form a 17 mm. wide U-shaped rope channel.

The cam is hard anodized cast aluminum. The cam radius increases from 16 to 33 mm. over an angle of 85°, giving a 27° cam angle. There are nine teeth, and the cam toe is tapered so that the end teeth are narrower. A 7.8 mm. diameter quick release pin acts as the cam axle.

A coil spring attaches to the cam by a Phillips-head machine screw. The other end of the spring is attached to a split ring that can loop over a hook punched outward from the shell. One chain keeper attaches the quick release pin to the top of the shell, a second attaches the split ring to the midpoint of the shell (thereby indirectly attaching the cam), and a third chain acts as a pull for the split ring.

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

Comments

Gibbs turned the hook so that it would resist the pull from the spring to the cam. This eliminated the need for a second spring.

The cams on Versions A through G all have the same shape. Some of these have hard-coated cams. The hard cams wear much better than the unfinished cams.


Version C
(#2048)

Front Side
Front Side
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired Version C from CarolJo Rushin-Elron at the 2016 NSS Convention.

Version C is 104 mm. tall, 70 mm. wide, and 57 mm. thick, and weighs 293 g.

The shell is made from 2.7 mm. stainless steel bent to form a 17 mm. wide U-shaped rope channel.

The cam is hard anodized cast aluminum. The cam radius increases from 16 to 33 mm. over an angle of 85°, giving a 27° cam angle. There are nine teeth, and the cam toe is tapered so that the end teeth are narrower. A 7.8 mm. diameter quick release pin acts as the cam axle.

A coil spring attaches to the cam by a Phillips-head machine screw. The other end of the spring is attached to a split ring that can loop over a hook punched outward from the shell. One chain keeper attaches the quick release pin to the top of the shell, a second attaches the split ring to the midpoint of the shell (thereby indirectly attaching the cam), and a third chain acts as a pull for the split ring.

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

Comments

The stainless steel shell serves no useful purpose for normal caving, and adds unnecessary weight.


Version D
(#77, 261)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I don't have a record of where or from whom I acquired my first Version D, but I assume that it was in the 1970s. I acquired a second one used on eBay from Gene Clinger in 2008.

Version D is 104 mm. tall, 72 mm. wide, 57 mm. thick, and weighs 197 g.

The shell is made from 1/8" (3.2 mm.) aluminum alloy bent to form a 17 mm. wide U-shaped rope channel.

The cam is cast aluminum. The cam radius increases from 16 to 33 mm. over an angle of 85°, giving a 27° cam angle. There are nine teeth, and the cam toe is tapered so that the end teeth are narrower. A 7.8 mm. diameter quick release pin acts as the cam axle.

A coil spring attaches to the cam by a Phillips-head machine screw. The other end of the spring is attached to a split ring that can loop over a hook punched outward from the shell. One chain keeper attaches the quick release pin to the top of the shell, a second attaches the split ring to the midpoint of the shell (thereby indirectly attaching the cam), and a third chain acts as a pull for the split ring.

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

Comments

The chain keeper for the Quick Release pin is now hooked through the chain to the split ring.


Version E
(#2245)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

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

Version E is 103 mm. tall, 71 mm. wide, 57 mm. thick, and weighs 192 g.

Version E has a hard-coated cam and copper-plated keeper chains.

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

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
(#2253)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

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

Version F is 103 mm. tall, 72 mm. wide, 57 mm. thick, and weighs 179 g.

This version eliminates the coil spring and replaces it with a new design. A wire spring attaches to the cam by a Phillips-head machine screw. The other end of the spring wraps once around the QR pin and then is secured to the shell with a second phillips head machine screw and two star lock washers.

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

Comments

I like the new spring design better than the old one, but putting it on an old shell leaves a nonfunctional tab that tends to catch on things when it shouldn't. If I were to use this ascender regularly, I would flatten the tab.


Version G
(#75)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I don't have a record of where or from whom I acquired my first Version G.

Version G is 104 mm. tall, 70 mm. wide, 57 mm. thick, and weighs 182 g.

The shell is made from 1/8" (3.2 mm.) aluminum alloy bent to form a 17 mm. wide U-shaped rope channel.

The cam is hard anodized cast aluminum. The cam radius increases from 16 to 33 mm. over an angle of 85°, giving a 27° cam angle. There are nine teeth, and the cam toe is tapered so that the end teeth are narrower. A 7.8 mm. diameter quick release pin acts as the cam axle. The pin retainer is a short chain secured to the shell with a phillips head machine screw and star lock washer.

A wire spring attaches to the cam by a Phillips-head machine screw. The other end of the spring wraps once around the QR pin and then is secured to the shell with a second phillips head machine screw and star lock washer.

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

Comments

The first big improvement in the spring-loaded Gibbs was the introduction of the wire spring. The early models did not have a housing, and it was easy to damage the spring in rough caving conditions. This ascender still uses a chain as a quick release pin retainer.


Version H
(#1921)

Front Side
Front Side
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

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

Version H is 104 mm. tall, 71 mm. wide, 57 mm. thick, and weighs 297 g.

The shell is made from 2.9 mm. stainless steel sheet bent to form a 16 mm. wide U-shaped rope channel.

The cam is hard anodized cast aluminum. The cam radius increases from 16 to 34 mm. over an angle of 86°, giving a 26° cam angle. There are nine teeth, and the cam toe is tapered so that the end teeth are narrower. A 7.8 mm. diameter quick release pin acts as the cam axle. The pin retainer is a short chain secured to the shell with a phillips head machine screw and star lock washer.

A wire spring attaches to the cam by a Phillips-head machine screw. The other end of the spring wraps once around the QR pin and then is secured to the shell with a second phillips head machine screw and star lock washer.

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

Comments

The stainless steel shell serves no useful purpose for normal caving, and adds unnecessary weight.


Version I
(#1922)

Front Side
Front Side
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Gibbs QR Spring Loaded, Version I from Speleoshoppe in 2012 as new old stock.

Version I is 104 mm. tall, 71 mm. wide, 63 mm. thick, and weighs 334 g. The rope channel is 17 mm. wide.

The cam is punched from 2024-T6 aluminum plate. The cam radius increases from 15 to 32 mm. over an angle of 82°, giving a 27° cam angle. There are nine teeth, and the cam toe is tapered so that the end teeth are narrower. A 9.5 mm. diameter quick release pin acts as the cam axle. 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.

A wire spring attaches to the cam by a Phillips-head machine screw. The other end of the spring wraps once around the QR pin and then is secured to the shell with a rivet and washer. A second rivet with two washers does not serve a clear purpose, but may be intended to help align the spring.

Each side of the shell is stamped with "UP," an up-pointing arrow, and "GIBBS" with a double underline. The QR pin is stamped "AVIBANK PUSH" and "BLS6B11S."The cam is screened with "HT2375A," CAM," "2024-T6," "C/F," and a small circle with "CF" and "11" inside.

Comments

The new cam does not have the hard coating that the cast cams had.

The stainless steel shell serves no useful purpose for normal caving, and adds unnecessary weight. The QR pin is larger as well.

I don't like the cable keeper since it is rather stiff and seems to resist aligning the quick release pin, but attached to the top of the shell, it is not as bad as on the versions where the attachment is closer to the QR pin.


Version J
(#1923)

Front Side
Front Side
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Gibbs QR Spring Loaded, Version J from Speleoshoppe in 2012 as new old stock.

Version J is 107 mm. tall, 71 mm. wide, 69 mm. thick, and weighs 337 g. The rope channel is 17 mm. wide.

Version J is essentially identical to Version I, except there is no washer holding the teardrop on.

Each side of the shell is stamped with "UP," an up-pointing arrow, and "GIBBS" with a double underline. The QR pin is stamped "AVIBANK PUSH" and "BLS6B11S."The cam is screened with "HT237" (likely "HT2375A," but the axle hole cuts off the lettering), "CAM," "2024-T6," "C/F," and a small circle with "CF" and "11" inside.

Comments

Still no hard coating, and still too heavy for my taste.

I don't like the cable keeper since it is rather stiff and seems to resist aligning the quick release pin, but attached to the top of the shell, it is not as bad as on the versions where the attachment is closer to the QR pin.


Version K
(#1510)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired this Gibbs from Sheryle Bauer in 2009.

Version K is 103 mm. tall, 72 mm. wide, 63 mm. thick, and weighs 337 g.

The shell is made from 1/8" (3.2 mm.) stainless steel bent to form a 17 mm. wide U-shaped rope channel.

The cam is hard anodized cast aluminum. The cam radius increases from 16 to 33 mm. over an angle of 85°, giving a 27° cam angle. There are nine teeth, and the cam toe is tapered so that the end teeth are narrower. A 9.4 mm. diameter quick release pin acts as the cam axle. The quick release pin keeper was changed to a 1.7 mm. stainless steel cable attached to a teardrop-shaped plate riveted to the shell. The plate did not quite fit, so the lower end needed to be sheared off.

A wire spring attaches to the cam by a Phillips-head machine screw. The other end of the spring wraps once around the QR pin and then is secured to the shell with a rivet and flat washer.

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

Comments

Version K has a stainless steel shell that accounts for the excessive weight. The QR pin is larger as well.

I don't like the cable keeper since it is rather stiff and seems to resist aligning the quick release pin.


Version L
(#263, 1509)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired two Version L ascenders used on eBay, one from Ronald Krieger in 2008 and another from Sheryle Bauer in 2009.

Version L is 104 mm. tall, 70 mm. wide, 57 mm. thick, and weighs 180 g.

The shell is made from 1/8" (3.2 mm.) aluminum alloy bent to form a 17 mm. wide U-shaped rope channel.

The cam is hard anodized cast aluminum. The cam radius increases from 16 to 33 mm. over an angle of 85°, giving a 27° cam angle. There are nine teeth, and the cam toe is tapered so that the end teeth are narrower. A 7.8 mm. diameter quick release pin acts as the cam axle. The quick release pin keeper was changed to a 1.7 mm. stainless steel cable attached to a teardrop-shaped plate riveted to the shell. The plate did not quite fit, so the lower end needed to be sheared off.

A wire spring attaches to the cam by a Phillips-head machine screw. The other end of the spring wraps once around the QR pin and then is secured to the shell with a rivet and flat washer.

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

Comments

I don't like the cable keeper since it is rather stiff and seems to resist aligning the quick release pin.


Version M
(#71)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired this Gibbs from John E. Weinel, Inc. in 1991.

Version N is 104 mm. tall, 72 mm. wide, 65 mm. thick, and weighs 187 g.

The shell is made from 1/8" (3.2 mm.) aluminum alloy bent to form a 17 mm. wide U-shaped rope channel. The rope channel is 17 mm. wide.

The cam is hard anodized cast aluminum. The cam radius increases from 16 to 33 mm. over an angle of 85°, giving a 27° cam angle. There are nine teeth, and the cam toe is tapered so that the end teeth are narrower. A 7.8 mm. diameter quick release pin acts as the cam axle. The quick release pin keeper is a 1.7 mm. stainless steel cable attached to a teardrop-shaped plate riveted to the spring cover.

A wire spring attaches to the cam by a Phillips-head machine screw. The other end of the spring goes under a black plastic spring housing riveted to the shell, wraps once around the QR pin and then hooks over one of the rivets holding the spring housing in place.

Each side of the shell is stamped with "UP," an up-pointing arrow, and "GIBBS" with a double underline. The QR pin is stamped "AVIBANK PUSH" and "BLS5B13S."

Comments

Gibbs added the plastic housing to protect the spring wire.


Version N
(#2254)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

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

Version M is 103 mm. tall, 72 mm. wide, 65 mm. thick, and weighs 187 g.

There are no markings on the shell. The QR pin is stamped "AVIBANK PUSH" and "BLS5B13S."

Comments

Somehow, this one escaped without the normal stampings on each side of the shell.


Version O
(#1562)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Gibbs QR Spring Loaded, Version O from Robert Bowman in 2012.

The shell is made from 1/8" (3.2 mm.) aluminum alloy bent to form a 17 mm. wide U-shaped rope channel. The rope channel is 17 mm. wide.

The cam is hard anodized cast aluminum. The cam radius increases from 16 to 33 mm. over an angle of 85°, giving a 27° cam angle. There are nine teeth, and the cam toe is tapered so that the end teeth are narrower. A 7.8 mm. diameter quick release pin acts as the cam axle. The quick release pin keeper is a 2 mm. nylon cord tied attached to a teardrop-shaped plate riveted to the spring cover.

A wire spring attaches to the cam by a Phillips-head machine screw. The other end of the spring goes under a black plastic spring housing riveted to the shell, wraps once around the QR pin and then hooks over one of the rivets holding the spring housing in place.

Each side of the shell is stamped with "UP," an up-pointing arrow, and "GIBBS" with a double underline. The QR pin is stamped "AVIBANK PUSH" and "BLS5B13SL4A6."

Comments

The cord pin keeper is an improvement over the previous and obnoxious cable keeper.


StarVersion P
(#1563)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Gibbs QR Spring Loaded, Version P from Robert Bowman in 2012.

The shell is made from 1/8" (3.2 mm.) aluminum alloy bent to form a 17 mm. wide U-shaped rope channel. The rope channel is 17 mm. wide.

The cam is hard anodized cast aluminum. The cam radius increases from 16 to 33 mm. over an angle of 85°, giving a 27° cam angle. There are nine teeth, and the cam toe is tapered so that the end teeth are narrower. A 7.8 mm. diameter quick release pin acts as the cam axle. The quick release pin keeper is a 2 mm. nylon cord tied attached to a teardrop-shaped plate riveted to the spring cover.

A wire spring attaches to the cam by a Phillips-head machine screw. The other end of the spring goes under a black plastic spring housing riveted to the shell, wraps once around the QR pin and then hooks over the end of a phillips-head screw passing through the cover.

Each side of the shell is stamped with "UP," an up-pointing arrow, and "GIBBS" with a double underline. The QR pin is stamped "AVIBANK PUSH" and "BLS5B13SL4A6."

Comments

This version has a revised spring housing with a lower extension. By hooking the spring over a screw, Gibbs Products gives the user the option of removing the screw so that the spring can swing freely, effectively defeating the spring action, The lower extension on the housing provides space for the free end of the spring to rotate.

Version P is a nice ascender, worthy of a star Star.


Version Q
(#1564)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired two QR Spring Loaded, Version Q Gibbs from Robert Bowman in 2012.

The shell is made from 1/8" (3.2 mm.) aluminum alloy bent to form a 17 mm. wide U-shaped rope channel. The rope channel is 17 mm. wide.

The cam is hard anodized cast aluminum. The cam radius increases from 16 to 33 mm. over an angle of 85°, giving a 27° cam angle. There are nine teeth, and the cam toe is tapered so that the end teeth are narrower. A 7.8 mm. diameter quick release pin acts as the cam axle. The quick release pin keeper is a bight of 1/2" (13 mm.) webbing riveted to the shell that passes through a split ring attached to the QR pin.

A wire spring attaches to the cam by a Phillips-head machine screw. The other end of the spring goes under a black plastic spring housing riveted to the shell, wraps once around the QR pin and then hooks over the end of a phillips-head screw passing through the cover.

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

Comments

I prefer the cord keeper to the webbing keeper. 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.


#2 Version B
(#206)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
Open for Rigging
Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired this Gibbs from Inner Mountain Outfitters in 2006.

Version B is 104 mm. tall, 76 mm. wide, 63 mm. thick, and weighs 197 g.

This Gibbs has a new cam design (the same as on the Gibbs #1). 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, although one side was ground slightly after the cam was anodized.

The spring mechanism is similar to the one on Version P, but the cam attachment is now a cotter pin pressed into a hole rather than a Phillips head machine screw. The pin keeper is now a piece of 13 mm. tubular webbing riveted to the shell and connected to the pin with a split ring.

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

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 P was better designed and better made.