Sometimes there are times when you are climbing, and you need to skip a section of the rock. This can be applied to sections that are too steep, angled, slick, or otherwise too dangerous to navigate. But vertically pulling yourself up the ropes is difficult. The best ascender can help you bypass those impossible sections on the rock and give you a solid grasp on your rope.
A rock climbing ascender attaches to your rope and features a toothed cam, which locks the device into place. Climbers can then use the handle to easily ascend their rope. But if you are new to rope ascenders, it can be challenging to choose exactly what you need. Our list of quality products will guide you in the right direction and give you the best tips to finding and using a top rated climbing ascender.
How To Choose An Ascender – Buying Guide
Left and Right
The best ascender will actually be designed for use with your right or left side, whether it is your hand or foot. Most ascenders are not sold in pairs and instead will be sold for a specific side. The side that the ascender is designed for should be indicated in the product information. For the best climbing experience, you should buy an ascender for each side – left and right.
Ease of Sliding
One of the most important considerations is how easily the ascender can be slid up the rope as you climb. The best climbing ascender will have a smooth operation, which means that it effortless slide up your rope.
The reason that you consider how easily the device slides on the rope is because it can affect your efficiency and level of energy. With a design that smoothly slides, you will have to use less energy to operate the device so that you can climb for longer.
For the most part, the weight of your rock climbing ascender is not important because the majority of designs weigh just a few ounces. But you may notice the weight different between designs when you begin to clip them to your climbing harness. A top rated climbing ascender shouldn’t hinder your performance and the weight should be extremely manageable.
Ease of Use
Whether you’re learning or know how to use ascenders, you want a design that is easy to operate. You shouldn’t have to struggle to attach your ascender to your setup or remove it from the rope when you begin your descent. The best climbing ascender will have features that allow you to quickly attach or detach the device from your rope.
Ascender reviews can be a great resource that will help you determine how easy it is to use a specific design. Reviewers may also give tip or hints on how best to use the ascender and in what climbing situations.
Foot vs Arm vs Chest
Ascenders come in a lot of different designs. Besides the hand ascender, there are also models that are used with your foot, arm, or chest. As suggested by the name, these ascenders are used with different parts of your body. For some, the power of your feet is a better choice and they choose to purchase a foot ascender. For others, the convenience of carrying an ascender on your arm or chest is preferred. While you can choose which design you want, it is important that you understand how to operate each type of ascender.
Q: What Is A Rope Ascender?
A rope ascender is a mechanical device that is used to assist a climber in ascending during a climb. The device is directly attached to your climbing rope and features a cam with teeth to grip into your rope. As the weight of your body is placed onto the ascender, the cam locks into place and allows you to pull yourself up the rope. The cam should then release and easily slide upwards so that you can repeat the action. Ascenders can also be used for fall protection or within a hauling system.
Q: How Do You Use A Rope Ascender?
With carabiners, knots, and a second ascender. Safety is important to prevent injury and ascenders are meant to be used with additional gear and knowledge like carabiners and climbing knots. This will guarantee that even if your ascender were to fail, you will not fall from your rope. If you are having trouble installing or using your ascender, you should check for a user’s manual or instructions.
Q: Do Ascenders Damage Rope?
No. With normal use, a top rated climbing ascender should not damage your rope. Even though the teeth are aggressive in appearance, they should not cause any damage to your rope. But it is important to understand when to retire climbing rope so that you aren’t attempting to use an ascender on a weak line.
Q: How Do You Climb Trees With Ascenders?
An ascender for tree climbing is another option in the world of climbing. Many people who work with trees will use an ascender to assist in their climb and ensure their safety while they are up in the trees. Ascenders can be used in trees with a pulley system and will make it easier to manage your ropes. The ascender should be easily attached to your setup, but you should look for a tree specific design or seek professional help if you are unsure how to properly use an ascender with trees.
Q: How Do You Set Up Ascenders?
The best ascender can be easily attached to your rope and begin your climb with minimal setup. However, you should always ensure that your setup includes carabiners and tethers for safety. The proper setup of your ascender will ultimately depend on your type of climbing, so there is not one specific setup for climbers.
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Rock climbing is hard work but sometimes it is worth it to give yourself a break and use an assisting tool. Rope ascenders are designed to not only help you conserve energy, but also keep you safe while you climb. With a rock climbing ascender, you can bypass those difficult sections and keep your confidence up while you reach new heights.
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Do you own one of the ascenders that made it onto our list? Let us know which ascender your favorite is in the comments section below.