Petzl first announced the new, upgraded Tibloc at the Outdoor Retailer show in 2015. I was impressed and so after the show I tried to get my hands on one to test out. Unfortunately Petzl had ran into some manufacturing issues and, as time went by, it was starting to look like upgraded Tibloc would never make it to market. But that’s not where the story ends! Fast forward three years and all the manufacturing issues have been solved and the upgraded version of this tiny rope grab / ascender is on store shelves. Albeit a few years behind the original schedule. But now that it’s here, how does it stack up against the original version and is it worth picking one up? The short answer is Yes. For the long answer keep reading.
As anyone that’s familiar with the original Tibloc will know, the biggest functional issue relates to the passive way it grabs a rope. It had the tendency to simply slide down a rope when not loaded or to slip a bit before grabbing when a load was applied, if it wasn’t set properly. Now while this can be annoying the real kick in the pants is the beating the rope can take from the Tibloc’s teeth with this type of unintentional movement. Of course these issues can be avoided with practice and proper technique but why not just eliminate them through design instead! Well, that’s the new Tibloc.
The new Tibloc is spring loaded and so actively grabs the rope by pushing against the carabiner. This means that once it’s properly attached with a carabiner in-place the new Tibloc won’t slip or move inadvertently. The device is also automatically set properly with the teeth engaged for loading. Now I haven’t had the opportunity to test it out in the snow and ice yet but it worked great in some scenarios at the crag.
So what’s the downside? Well, it now has moving pieces and plastic parts. This means that you’ll have to take a little better care of it and you’ll likely want to inspect it once in a while. Not a bad trade-off for the massive improvement in functionality. And in case you’re wondering, the new Tibloc is actually a lighter than the original by a few grams: 34g instead of 37g.
Pros: Easier to use
Cons: Plastic pieces and moving parts make it more delicate
Overall: A big improvement when it comes to ease of use, worth the money to upgrade.
I purchased the review sample so no conflicts here, not that it would have mattered!