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Ultrascender (Large)
Gear Review

Ultrascender (Large)


Page Type: Gear Review

Object Title: Ultrascender (Large)

Manufacturer: CMI

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Page By: John

Created/Edited: Apr 7, 2003 / Apr 7, 2003

Object ID: 713

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Based on the CMI 5000 series ascenders, the CMI Ultrascenders (Large) are "the strongest ascenders on the market" and "designed to be the most convenient, easiest to use and most comfortable ascenders around."
  • Body: Constructed of an extruded and machined body. Large upper opening accommodates a finger allowing for the thumbing process.
  • Cams: The cams in CMI Ultrascenders are 4140 chrome-moly steel. This high strength material allows addition of a patented, non-metallic finish to the cams. The new finish gives the cams the same corrosion resistance as stainless steel yet increases both the tensile and yield strength. Additionally, the new finish is harder than the best knife blades or files which allows CMI to guarantee the cams against wear out for life.
  • Teeth: The teeth are straight so they down climb without snagging. These ascenders release easily after gripping soft rope.
  • Handgrip: Molded handgrip for maximum comfort on those long pulls.
  • Thumb Notch: Thumb notch in the cam top to simplify full cam retraction.
  • Safety Latch: Ergonomically designed safety mechanism which is integrated into the handle channel for maximum ease of use in those long "over the lip" stretches.
  • Springs: All springs and operating parts are constructed of stainless steel. 17-4PH stainless steel springs are tested to over a million cycles.
  • Tie in holes: Dual clip in holes at bottom allow separate attachment of aiders and anchor chains for simplified rigging.
  • Not for use as self-belay.
  • NFPA certified. Exceeds NFPA 1983,1995 edition strength specifications for ascenders.
  • Strength 4600 lbs. Yield Strength 1500 lbs. These numbers are due to rope failure. Actual strength was 7800 lbs or 34.5 kN.
  • Made in USA.
Internet Resources:Accolades:
  • ClimbingHigh5.com: "the strongest ascenders on the market"
  • Equipment Management Company (EMC4Rescue.com): "American made handled ascenders,"CMI's" have long held the reputation for being the strongest, most reliable ascenders of this type available."
  • GetLostGear.com: "For rugged use and exceptional strength, the CMI Ultrascenders are the obvious choice"
  • Hermits-Hut.com: "Special safety gate design is superior to other open sided ascenders."
  • Mountain Tools (mtntools.com): "Extruded aluminum frame is durable, very strong and has proven to stand up to a lot of abuse. [...] A favorite of search and rescue."
  • UltraRescue.com: "The proven Ultrascender has long been a caving and climbing staple."
    CMI Catalog 37 page 7:

    The first free ascent of the Salathe Wall in Yosemite Valley by Todd Skinner and Paul Piana would have ended in tragedy had it not been for a CMI ascender. Paul topped out the climb and clipped into a car sized boulder. Fortunately, he also clipped into an old pin "just because it was there." Todd was following on CMI ascenders and had just reached the edge when a noise from above alerted him that the boulder was moving. For what seemed like an eternity, Todd hovered just below the edge while the rock slid toward him. Six ropes were hanging over the edge, and all but the one Todd was suspended by were severed. While all the gear fell to the ground, Todd was saved because the CMI ascender took the punishment dealt out by the grinding rock. To quote Paul, "I’m glad it was a CMI ascender, as the weaker cast ascenders wouldn’t have withstood the crushing of the big rock...and we would have been sorry for it!"


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