My ABC 'Croll' came completely off the rope - scary!!!
I was taking down a 'topped' tree that had died in my mother-in-law's yard. I needed to be anchored close to the cut and so I cinched the trunk and used a Texas configuration to climb up to the anchor point. I was only climbing up about 3-4 feet from my present location, which was a good ways off the ground.
Because if its compactness, I was using my ABC 'croll' as my harness ascender and another ascender below it for the foot loops. I grasped the ABC with my gloved hand, stood up in the footloops, slid the ABC ascender up the rope and suddenly realized it was completely off the rope! If I had not had my other hand on the rope, I could have toppled upside down and been left hanging from my footloops.
When I'm the cause of an unexpected outcome, I'm pretty good to admit it, however, this time I'm going to claim gear malfunction. And, I will support that position. I wish I could describe exactly what happened, but I can't. However, in considering the mechanics of the device, I think I know what happened. A pic would be helpful - this is the ABC in the closed position.
Bear in mind that with a rope running through it, the loop/lever sticks out further than shown in the above pic.
I believe, after I advanced the ascender, my gloved hand brushed by the loop/lever before the ascender was loaded. I believe that, and the pressure of the rope against the cam was enough to open the cam and allow it to come off the rope.
Here's a pic of the 'safety' or lock of the ascender:
What you want to notice here is the very short blocking lever that prevents the cam from opening.
So why do I blame the gear? Here's a pic of a later release of the ABC ascender. I made this pic yesterday at On Rope 1:
Notice the loop/lever is significantly smaller and more out of the way than my earlier version. And more importantly, look at the much larger safety as seen here:
My earlier version is very easy to install and uninstall on the rope. I noticed the newer version is much more difficult to open. It reminds me more of the motion requred by the Petzl Croll to open.
I have used my ABC a lot and never had a problem, but with my last experience with it, I will no longer be climbing with it and have already purchased a Petzl Croll. Having done that, I now wonder if I might not have done better to buy the newer version of the ABC instead. I really liked the performance of the ABC, but the Petzl Croll seems to be about the same.
I'm thinking I may contact ABC and describe what happened and see if they'll replace my ascender.
If you use or know someone that uses the ABC 'croll', and it's the early version, please advise them of this potential problem.