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Rock Exotica

Rescucender, Version A Rescucender, Version B Rescucender, Version C
Rescucender, Version A Rescucender, Version B Rescucender, Version C
 
Large Rescucender Microcender Double Microcender
Large Rescucender Microcender Double Microcender
(a.k.a. Dualcender)

Overview


Rescucender, Version A
(#093)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
End Open for Rigging
End Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Rock Exotica Rescucender, Version A from Inner Mountain Outfitters in1989.

Version A is 113 mm. tall, 76 mm. wide, and 45 mm. thick, and weighs 229 g.

Rescucender Version A's frame and cam are milled from aluminum. The frame's rope channel is square rather than U-shaped, and the cam face is not contoured either. Neither of these aspects hurts the ascenders performance to any significant degree. The inside of the shell has a milled depression that the cam forces the rope into. This spreads the load on the rope, and may increase the holding power of the ascender. It is claimed to help reduce rope damage under shock loading, but I can't confirm this. The top of the rope channel is rounded off so that the rope does not bend over any sharp corners.

The cam has 8 rounded teeth. It rides on a pin that is held by a novel spring-loaded cross pin. A pin pressed into the shell provides a small hole for the cross pin to engage. The hole is large enough for mud to clear under most circumstances. The combination is relatively secure.

The frame has three holes in the back, drilled from side to side. The lower one is for the keeper cord for the axle & cross pin assembly. The middle one is unused. The upper one houses a roll pin that retains a wire cable that leaves via another hole drilled through the side of the shell. The other end of the cable enters a hole in the top of the cam, where another pin fitted in a cross hole retains the cable end.This cable acts as a cam keeper, but is also a surprisingly good cam spring. This Rescucender is unlikely to slide down the rope when unweighted.

One side is engraved with an up-pointing arrow, "UP," "LOAD," and an image of the cam. The other side has "rescucender" printed on it.

Comments

The ascender body is milled from an aluminum block, and it is heavier and more rugged than stamped-shell ascenders. It is slightly heavier than the Gibbs, but rugged to extremes. This is extra weight is undesirable for individual cavers, but the bigger-is-better crowd should love the rugged construction.


Rescucender, Version B
(Model 302011)
(#94, 2267)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
End Open for Rigging
End Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Rock Exotica Rescucender, Version B from Inner Mountain Outfitters in 1991. I acquired another in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

Version B is 113 mm. tall, 75 mm. wide, and 45 mm. thick, and weighs 234 g.

Version B replaces the pressed pin with a milled raised area with a groove that protects the cross pin, and a small hole for the cross pin to engage.

One side is engraved with an up-pointing arrow, "UP," "LOAD," and an image of the cam.

Comments

The body extension that protects the delicate cross pin and spring is a significant improvement.


Rescucender, Version C
(#1530)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
End Open for Rigging
End Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Rock Exotica Rescucender, Version C new from old stock at On Rope 1 in 2009.

The Rock Exotica Rescucender, Version C is 113 mm. tall, 75 mm. wide, and 46 mm. thick, and weighs 252 g.

Version C adds a hole near the bottom of the cam that houses a steel roll pin. This is nearly exposed at the inside bottom of the rope channel. Once the ascender receives a little wear, the rope will be running over the steel roll pin. This will prolong the life of the aluminum frame.

One side is engraved with an up-pointing arrow, "UP," "LOAD," and an image of the cam.

Comments

Wear pins are nice, but the body of this ascender is massive enough that it takes a significant amount of climbing to wear it out. Rescue types should destroy one more quickly, so the wear pin would be of more benefit to them.


Large Rescucender
(Model 302002)
(#124)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
End Open for Rigging
End Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Rock Exotica Large Rescucender from On Rope 1 in 1997.

The Rock Exotica Large Rescucender is 115 mm. tall, 90 mm. wide, and 53 mm. thick, and weighs 334 g.

One side is engraved with an up-pointing arrow, "UP," "LOAD," and an image of the cam.

Comments

This ascender is designed for the 5/8 to 3/4 in. (16 to 19 mm.) rope that some authorities believe is necessary for all rescue applications. Although this ascender is obviously derived from the Rescucender, it has some differences in design in addition to the size differences. The first unusual thing I noticed was that the upper portion of the shell was rounded with two grooves, as if the ascender were really designed for double 9 mm. rope.

The frame does not have the wear pins that the normal Rescucender (Version C) has. The cam is larger, and has six grooves in the face giving five distinct teeth. There is an arrow stamped on the cam that doesn't point to anything that I figure out.

The cam rides on a pin that has a ball-bearing retainer to keep it from backing out. The pin is attached to the frame by a small stainless steel cable, and an external retaining ring fitted into a turned groove keeps the pin from being over-inserted. Apparently someone felt that the ball-bearings would not guarantee that the pin would remain in place (heaven knows why, I almost need a hammer to get mine out), so a truly obnoxious clip is provided to fit into a hole drilled in the end of the axle pin. Why a hitch pin clip wasn't used instead is beyond my comprehension, because the one chosen is awkward at best.

This ascender is nicely made, but too big because it was designed for ropes with the same deficiency. It should appeal to the "bigger is better" crowd, but not to the general caver and climber.


Microcender
(Model 302040)
(#92, 2264)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
End Open for Rigging
End Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I acquired my Rock Exotica Microcender from Inner Mountain Outfitters in 1990. I acquired another in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

The Rock Exotica Microcender is 72 mm. tall, 57 mm. wide, and 45 mm. thick, and weighs 136 g.

The Microcender's frame and cam are milled from aluminum. The frame's rope channel is square rather than U-shaped, and the cam face is not contoured either. Neither of these aspects hurts the ascenders performance to any significant degree. The inside of the shell has a milled depression that the cam forces the rope into. This spreads the load on the rope, and may increase the holding power of the ascender. It is claimed to help reduce rope damage under shock loading, but I can't confirm this. The top of the rope channel is rounded off so that the rope does not bend over any sharp corners.

The cam has 8 rounded teeth. It rides on a pin that is held by a novel spring-loaded cross pin. The frame has a raised area with a groove that protects the cross pin, and a small hole for the cross pin to engage. The hole is large enough for mud to clear under most circumstances. The combination is relatively secure.

The frame has three holes in the back, drilled from side to side. The lower one is for the keeper cord for the axle & cross pin assembly. The middle one is unused. The upper one houses a roll pin that retains a wire cable that leaves via another hole drilled through the side of the shell. The other end of the cable enters a hole in the top of the cam, where another pin fitted in a cross hole retains the cable end.This cable acts as a cam keeper, but is also a surprisingly good cam spring. The Microcender is unlikely to slide down the rope when unweighted.

The right (pin latch) side of the shell has "↑," "UP" and a cam outline milled into it.

Comments

Because it is so short, the Microcender rotates about 45 degrees under load, resulting in more lost motion than most larger ascenders. I don't think that this is the best ascender for a ropewalker system. I suspect that some wall climbers may like it as a solid backup attachment while jugging fixed lines. I've used it for that purpose, but like most cavers who are used to ascending deep pits without backups (remember, we aren't cleaning gear at the same time), I soon got tired of it. In this case, don't do what I do.

Like all Rock Exotica ascenders in my collection, this one is very well made and probably indestructible in normal use. If you have a need for this type of ascender, it is an excellent choice. If you prefer a double rope version, consider the Rock Exotica (?) Double MicroCender.


Double Microcender
(a.k.a. Dualcender)
(#204, 2283)

Front Rear
Front Rear
 
End Open for Rigging
End Open for Rigging

Technical Details

I bought my Double Microcender from WesSpur Tree Equipment in 2006. I acquired another in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

The Double Microcender is designed for double ropes. Its frame and cam are milled from aluminum. The frame's rope channel is square rather than U-shaped, and the cam face is not contoured either. Neither of these aspects hurts the ascenders performance to any significant degree. The inside of the shell has a milled depression that the cam forces the rope into. This spreads the load on the rope, and may increase the holding power of the ascender. I've heard that this helps to reduce rope damage under shock loading, but I can't confirm this. The top of the rope channel is rounded off so that the rope does not bend over any sharp corners.

There are two independent cams that pivot on a common axle. Each cam has 8 rounded teeth. The axle is a pin that is held by a novel string-loaded cross pin. The frame has a raised area with a groove that protects the cross pin, and a small hole for the cross pin to engage. The hole is large enough for mud to clear under most circumstances. The combination is relatively secure.

The frame has three holes in the back, drilled from side to side. The lower one is for the keeper cord for the axle & cross pin assembly. The middle one is unused. These two holes pass completely through the ascender body, missing the rope channel. The upper one houses a set screw that retains the middle of a wire cable that leaves via another hole drilled through the side of the shell. Each end of the cable enters a hole in the top of one of the cams, where a set screw fitted in a cross hole retains the cable end. This cable acts as a cam keeper, but is also a surprisingly good cam spring. The Microcender is unlikely to slide down the rope when unweighted.

A sewn piece of 19.5 mm. x 2.2 mm. tubular webbing connects the two cams eyes. This provides an attachment point for the user.

The right (pin latch) side of the shell has "↑," "UP" and a cam outline milled into it. A sticker on the back reads as follows:

WARNING

FOR DANGEROUS ACTIVITIES-RISK OF INJURY/DEATH CANNOT
BE ELIMINATED. DO NOT USE UNLESS YOU HAVE:READ ALL
INSTRUCTIONS* RECEIVED SUITABLE TRAINING* CHECKED
GEAR BEFORE EACH USE* ACCEPTED TOTAL RESPONSIBILITY
FOR YOUR ON SAFETY AND GEAR SUITABILITY. ALWAYS USE A
BACKUP-NEVER TRUST A LIFE TO A SINGLE TOOL!

Comments

My Double Microcender came in an unmarked plastic bag, without instructions, and there are no markings on it to indicate who the manufacturer is; nevertheless, anyone who knows the Rock Exotica Microcender should see Rock Exotica in this one as well. The bag also contained two spare cables, and two small Allen wenches to fit the set screws.

Non-Americans who don't know our legal system may wonder why a company would attach a sticker that warns the user to read non-existent directions. If this is you, consider yourself lucky and celebrate your good fortune.

Because it is so short, the Double Microcender rotates about 45 degrees under load, resulting in more lost motion than most larger ascenders. The webbing provides a centered attachment point for climbing doubled ropes, but it twists the device slightly when used on single lines. Cavers and climbers do not often need double rope ascenders, so I would not carry this unless I knew that I would have a special need for it. Arborists have different needs, and may find it more useful than most cavers or climbers would.

Like all Rock Exotica ascenders in my collection, this one is very well made and probably indestructible in normal use.