Ascenders Are Essential Rock Climbing Equipment


Climbing ascenders are an essential part of rock climbing and ice climbing. They help you ascend your ropes in a safe manner that prevents slippage. There are many types of ascenders that come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Each type of ascender has its own specific use for different types of climbing. Some ascenders are good for big wall and rock climbing, helping you climb with ease. Others are better suited for ice climbing where ropes tend to become frozen. All ascenders feature toothed cam which clamps onto your rope when the ascenders are weighed. This creates a great grip point for climbers to ascend on the ropes. Here are some times in using ascenders that will aid you in better understanding how they are used.

Using ascenders in rock climbing will make sure you are as safe as possible.
Ascenders Are Essential Rock Climbing Equipment

Make use of Pair Ascenders

For most rock climbing and ice climbing needs, you will be making use of a pair of ascenders. This will assist you in climbing through providing aid pitches where ascending fixed ropes is necessary. You will be needing a good pair of ascenders for both your left and right hand, though some climbers prefer one what can work as both. It is important to purchase brands that are specifically made for the type of climbing conditions you will be participating in. Additionally, make sure the ascenders you purchase are easy to use with one hand, are comfortable for you and that the cam teeth are suitable for the type of climbing you do. For rock climbing, usually don’t need cams with large aggressive teeth, which are usually used in ice climbing, as this will cause abrasion of your ropes.

Stand on Aiders when using Ascenders

In order for you to ascend a fixed rope, you must stand with your feet on aiders or slings which are clipped to a hole in the base. When you stand on aiders, weight on the ascenders allows the cam with teeth to bite into the rope which prevents it from sliding down the rope. A weighted ascender cannot be moved up or down the rope. When the ascender is unweighted, you can easily slide it up the rope to move ahead with your climbing.

Rhythmic Motion to Ascend

When climbing using ascenders its best to use rhythmic motion to climb. You climb a rope with ascenders by alternating weight from one ascender and pushing up the other. Though this may sound pretty easy, it is not. It takes a lot of practice to use ascenders on fixed ropes. It is much easier to use ascenders on a slab or vertical face than those with overhanging walls. This will require more strength and stamina to accomplish. Routes with overhangs require more skill to safely climb using a fixed rope.

Safety Precautions While Ascending

Rock climbing and ice climbing using ascenders do not always guarantee your safety. You have to have the proper skill and equipment to ensure you are as safe as possible. Moreover, your equipment must be properly adjusted and used to further safety. Here are some tips to make sure your equipment is secure for your climb.

Safely Using Ascenders:

  • Tie onto the end of your climbing rope
  • Make sure both of your ascenders are clipped to your harness using daisy chains and locking carabiners.
  • Tie knots in the rope below you as you climb and clip them into your harness belay loop.
  • Make sure to use locking carabiners on ascender attachment points including daisy chains.
  • Ensure you do double checks to make sure your ascenders are properly attached to the fixed rope.

It is very important to have ascenders when rock climbing or ice climbing as a safety precaution as both sports can be extremely dangerous. Moreover, you are totally relying on the integrity of your gear to accomplish the climb so having the right and secure gear is paramount. Ascenders as essential climbing gear will help to ensure your safety.

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