Rope Climbing – Ascenders

There are many types of climbing systems and equipment that can be used in professional tree work and other rope access industries. Mechanical ascenders can aid climbers making their ascent more efficient and less tiring.

Typically, ascenders are made from aluminum to reduce weight. A curved cam opens when raised or slid up the rope, and captures the climbing rope when weight or downward pressure is applied. A ribbed or toothed surface on the cam face securely clamps onto the rope holding the climber in position for the next upward movement.

Hand ascenders come in one or two handled versions for either single or double lines, depending on your climbing technique. Hand ascenders are commonly attached to the climbers saddle, backing up a separate prusik for climber security on rope. Hand ascenders can also be used as hand-holds when pulling or lifting loads.

Foot ascenders work in a similar manner, though they are strapped to the foot or ankle. This allows the climber to use the larger, stronger leg muscles, to reduce worker fatigue when reaching the final work position.

Chest ascenders also use a locking cam to capture the climbing line, securing the climber as he/she ascends. Chest ascenders also help keep the climber in a more vertical position while ascending.

Rope climbing with mechanical ascenders is becoming more widely used, but requires knowledge and experience beyond more common climbing techniques. For more information about climbing ascenders and other mechanical equipment, contact Pinnacle Arborist Supplies at 501-663-8733.

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