Determining when a CROLL ascender is worn out (caving context)
We recently had some returns from cavers, who reported major wear on their CROLL ascender. After examining six returned ascenders, we found that the stainless wear plate was perforated and that the cam was worn beyond the product retirement criteria defined by Petzl. This excessive wear can put the user in a very difficult situation.
February 2 2016
The information below clarifies:
- the possible consequences of using a worn out CROLL for caving
- our recommendations for determining when a CROLL ascender is worn out and should immediately be retired from use
Possible consequences of using a worn out CROLL ascender
Under certain usage conditions related to environment and technique, using a CROLL ascender that is worn beyond the retirement criteria can result in a hole in the stainless steel wear plate. Once the hole starts to form, the opening enlarges to the edge of the stainless wear plate and creates a sharp edge that makes the CROLL unusable with a foot ascender: the sharp edge can catch on the rope, preventing the CROLL from sliding and possibly damaging the rope sheath.
The caver may then find it necessary to immediately stop using the CROLL, while he is still underground. Without a spare ascender, the only solution is to climb without a foot ascender, carefully, using only the footloop to avoid tensioning the rope in the CROLL.
Worn out ascender and rope damage resulting from its use.
Factors in determining when a CROLL ascender is worn out
In all cases the CROLL ascender must not be used and the product must be retired.
- Cam is worn out
Indicated by significant wear of the teeth (see photos) or by ascender slippage.
- Stainless wear plate is worn out
Indicated by the wearing of a groove in the wear plate, that can turn into a hole.
To learn more
- Download the PPE inspection procedure for ascenders (available on the CROLL product page).
This page will be updated as soon as possible to include these new photos to help in the decision.