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Gossett Blocks

Version A Version B Version C Version D Version E
Version A Version B Version C Version D Version E

Overview


Version A
(#633, 2655)

Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View
Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View

Technical Details

I acquired my Gossett Block, Version A in 1978, but I don't have a record of from whom. I acquired another in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

Version A is 84 mm. wide, 64 mm. high, 41 mm. thick, and weighs 328 g. The Gossett Block is made out of an aluminum extrusion, with two rollers on each side. The rollers are attached to pins set into knurled brass knobs which screw into the extrusion. The block has two 48 mm. tall angled vertical slots for attaching the box to a chest harness.

There are no markings on this box.

Comments

Even with two rollers (perhaps an unnecessary redundancy, see, for example, the variations), releasing the rope is easier than on, say, a BlueWater box.

I drilled the holes in the back of this box so that it could be mounted on a Gossett Plate for climbing with the Gossett System, an interesting perversion where the box is mounted at belt level, and each foot has an ascender on a long foot sling passing through the box. This places the box near the caver's center of gravity, making it easy to flip upside-down.

Warning:
There have been some incidents and rescues with the Gossett System, so just avoid it.
 

Version B
(#1611)

Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View
Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View

Technical Details

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

Version B is 85 mm. wide, 64 mm. high, 41 mm. thick, and weighs 368 g. The block has two 48 mm. tall, angled vertical slots for attaching the box to a chest harness. The knobs on Version B are wider than those on Version A, and the knurl was changed from a male to a female diamond knurl.

There are no markings on this box.

Comments

The larger knurls are easier to grip.


Version C
(#1784)

Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View
Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View

Technical Details

I acquired my first Gossett Block, Version C box from Charlotte Phillips in 2012, two more from James Thompson in 2014, and four more from Bob & Bob in 2017.

Version C is 86 mm. wide, 65 mm. high, 41 mm. thick, and weighs 370 g. The roller material was changed from nylon to Delrin, and the rollers were shaped with an 11.8 mm. wide U-shape groove that reduces the 15.3 mm. diameter roller to a 13.6 mm. central diameter. The knobs have a male knurl.

There are no markings on this box.

Comments

The minor U-shaped groove in the rollers is not sufficient keep the rope centered; good technique is still required.


Version D
(#634, 2601)

Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View
Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View

Technical Details

I acquired my Gossett Block, Version D from Speleoshoppe in 1982. I acquired another in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

Version D is 84 mm. wide, 64 mm. high, 41 mm. thick, and weighs 367 g. The block has two 48 mm. tall, angled vertical slots for attaching the box to a chest harness. The corners of the frame were rounded. The knobs have a male knurl.

There are no markings on this box.

Comments

The rounded corners were an improvement, but in my mind, one of the variations that never made it into production was superior.


Version E
(#2602)

Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View
Front View: Closed Open for Rigging Top View

Technical Details

I acquired my Gossett Block, Version E in 2017 as part of Bob Thrun's collection.

Version E is 85 mm. wide, 64 mm. high, 40 mm. thick, and weighs 312 g. The block has two 50 mm. tall, angled vertical slots for attaching the box to a chest harness. The corners of the frame were rounded.

The rollers are mounted on long quick-release pins with turned brass bushings to fit the holes in the aluminum block. Removing a pin removes the two corresponding (top or bottom) rollers.

There are no markings on this box, but each pin is stamped "AVDEL."

Comments

I believe that this is a custom box made for Bob, but I don't have documentation to prove that. I know that Darrell Tomer made a number of custom variations, and perhaps this box should be listed with those. The gray rollers make it unlikely that this is an early version predating Version A.

The quick release pins make opening this box easier and faster than the threaded knobs on the standard versions, but having both rollers on a single QR pin where they open at the same time is a definite disadvantage.