|Front View: Closed|
|Open for Rigging|
I acquired my Alpine Box from Mike Fritzke at the 1992 NSS Convention. I acquired another in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.
My Alpine Box is 51 mm. long, 203 mm. wide, 42 mm. high, and weighs 293 g. It is a double channel chest box consisting of a solid aluminum plate, two plastic rollers, and swinging aluminum gates with spring steel latches. The rollers and gates are attached to a subtriangular aluminum rib with a stainless steel bolt. The rib is bolted to the back plate. The back plate has a 33 mm. diagonal slot on each side for attaching a harness, and a subtriangular lightening hole on each side as well. All of the aluminum parts are anodized.
The plate is engraved with the serial number "A033."
Normally I cave using a Cuddington 3-phase climbing system, and the Fritzke Alpine Box was my normal caving chest box for many of my most active years. The box was manufactured using a CNC mill, so the workmanship is excellent. The long bar helps keep the rope close to the chest. The rope and long foot sling are held in by swinging gates that open by pressing in on the brass-colored buttons attached to the spring steel catches. Each side opens independently. I consider this to be an essential convenience feature for any double-sided box.
The size and weight of the Alpine Box are quite acceptable.
My only complaint with the Alpine box is the location of the slots for the chest harness. The diagonal slot is not the best arrangement for my chest harness, although I can see how a harness could be designed where this would be a good feature. Personally, I prefer the vertical slot arrangement seen on the Paul Stovall and Russian copies.
I tried climbing with the box upside down, but on the harness I used, it was a disaster: the box kept rotating and jamming. Turning the box right-side-up completely cured the problem. I'm amazed that this minor inversion made such a big difference.