One of the most common devices used in climbing is known as an ascender. Even if you aren’t a climbing expert, it isn’t hard to know that an ascender must be something that helps in the process of climbing. Essentially, it helps a person to directly ascend a rope. This device can be very useful for specific situations which can include rescue functions during an emergency. In this article, we will give you all of the details so you can be completely sure of what is an ascender in climbing, and get to know how to use one.

The Best Climbing Ascenders

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Best Price
Paliston Climbing Hand Ascender for Rock Climbing Arborist (Right and Left) for 8~12 mm Rope
NewDoar Hand Ascender & Foot Ascender & Foot Loop Set for Climbing Arborist for 8~12MM Rope (Left)
Petzl Ascension Ascender Gold/Black
Climbing Technology Quick Roll Ascender, Right Hand, Orange
Product Name
Paliston Climbing Hand Ascender for Rock Climbing Arborist (Right and Left) for 8~12 mm Rope
NewDoar Hand Ascender & Foot Ascender & Foot Loop Set for Climbing Arborist for 8~12MM Rope (Left)
Petzl Ascension Ascender Gold/Black
Climbing Technology Quick Roll Ascender, Right Hand, Orange
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Reviews
40 Reviews
175 Reviews
32 Reviews
7 Reviews
Price
$59.99
$79.99
$89.95
$102.00
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Best Price
Preview
Paliston Climbing Hand Ascender for Rock Climbing Arborist (Right and Left) for 8~12 mm Rope
Product Name
Paliston Climbing Hand Ascender for Rock Climbing Arborist (Right and Left) for 8~12 mm Rope
Star Rating
Reviews
40 Reviews
Price
$59.99
Prime
Details
Preview
NewDoar Hand Ascender & Foot Ascender & Foot Loop Set for Climbing Arborist for 8~12MM Rope (Left)
Product Name
NewDoar Hand Ascender & Foot Ascender & Foot Loop Set for Climbing Arborist for 8~12MM Rope (Left)
Star Rating
Reviews
175 Reviews
Price
$79.99
Prime
Details
Preview
Petzl Ascension Ascender Gold/Black
Product Name
Petzl Ascension Ascender Gold/Black
Star Rating
Reviews
32 Reviews
Price
$89.95
Prime
-
Details
Preview
Climbing Technology Quick Roll Ascender, Right Hand, Orange
Product Name
Climbing Technology Quick Roll Ascender, Right Hand, Orange
Star Rating
Reviews
7 Reviews
Price
$102.00
Prime
Details

This Article Will Cover:

What is a Climbing Ascender?
How Do You Use a Grigri as an Ascender?
How Do You Ascend a Rappel?
How Do you Ascend a Rope Without an Ascender?
Ascending with a Prusik Knot
How To Use an Ascender Safely
Closing Thoughts

What is a Climbing Ascender?

Many newcomers to climbing often wonder what is an ascender in climbing. In simple terms, it is merely a mechanical device that is placed onto a climbing rope. It allows the climber to directly ascend the rope with ease. There are many different types of climbing ascenders to suit different purposes. For example, some are suited for big cliffs, whereas others are suited for rescue work. The one thing that all ascenders have in common is a toothed cam. This piece allows the ascender to easily latch on to rope when underweight which creates an easy solid point to allow the climber to move upwards. However, many other devices can also be used as climbing ascenders. Additionally, there are techniques which can allow a climber to ascend a rope without the use of an ascender device.

Climbing ascenders descenders carabiners
Make sure you don’t get you ascenders mixed up with your descenders when buying an ascender!

How Do You Use a Grigri as an Ascender?

A grigri is a popular auto belaying device that can be used as an ascender. This setup is great for navigating up a long-fixed rope. However, you must ensure that you are comfortable with using your Grigri. This method can be fairly complex, and it is usually not preferred. You can simply set up a top rope and use the grigri to self-belay yourself up. The device is durable enough to be used to ascend. The autoblock function of the grigri means that it can be as an ascender. When looking for the answer to what is an ascender in climbing, a grigi certainly qualifies as a reliable ascender.

Best Petzl Grigri Belay Devices

How Do You Ascend a Rappel?

When you consider what is an ascender in climbing, the topic of rappelling must also be considered. There are a number of scenarios in which you may need to ascend a rappel rope. Firstly, you must make sure you have the right equipment on hand. Your prusiks should be properly backed up. You can then tie an eight hand rope directly below the ascender. This is then clipped to your rappel loop. The knot should be re-tied regularly once you ascend. An ascender device makes it possible to ascend a rappel rope. This is useful advice if you ever get caught on a rappelling rope. You can ease your panic, and quickly begin to ascend over the rappel.

How to ascend a rappel
If you wanted one last glimpse of that view, ascending your rappel isn’t so bad.

How Do you Ascend a Rope Without an Ascender?

You may forget to bring your ascender device or you may drop it accidentally. If for whatever reason you do not have your ascender, there are still ways to ascend a rope. You can prusik up a rope. This requires the use of a prusik knot which is commonly used for a variety of climbing situations. You should only prusik up a rope which is properly attached to an anchor, and the prusik knots should be properly backed up. Additionally, you should re-tie them regularly on your ascent. Every climber should always be prepared for the worst, and when considering what is an ascender in climbing, they should always be aware of how to ascend without one.

Ascending with a Prusik Knot

Below, we will go through the 4 simple steps for ascending with a prusik knot. It can be an emergency answer to the question of what is an ascender in climbing.

  1. Attach two prusik knots above you, and then clip your belay loop to the top prusik.
  2. Another sling should then be added to your belay loop and clipped on to the lower prusik knot.
  3. You need to create a foot loop by clipping a long piece of rope to the bottom prusik.
  4. You can then start to ascend, but you should be warned that it will take some real strength.

The key is to ascend in a calm and organized manner. This will allow you to use your energy in the best way to ascend as quickly and safely as possible.

How To Use an Ascender Safely

As with all climbing tools, the safety of them is always paramount. Inexperience can lead to injury, and therefore it is essential to understand the safety precautions needed when using an ascender. Once you have learned what is an ascender in climbing, the next step is to properly learn how to remain safe.

You should always tie into the end of your rope, and ensure that your carabiners are both fully locked. Locking carabiners should always be used on any ascender attachment points. Finally, you should ensure that your ascender is properly attached to your rope. All of these are fairly simple points, however, distractions can lead to incorrect use of ascenders which can pose a very real threat.

What is an ascender in climbing rappelling safely
What is an ascender in climbing, rappelling safely.

Closing Thoughts

You should now be far more clear with the answer to what is an ascender in climbing, and also be aware of how to ascend safety. There are many ascenders to choose from, and they can be a vital piece of equipment in all forms of climbing. Many new climbers often have questions about what is an ascender in climbing. But, the next question they ask should be how to use an ascender is the safest way possible. Ascender devices are fantastic for many climbing uses, however, there are still other methods which can allow a climber to ascend in emergency situations. We recommend becoming familiar with at least one of these methods so that you can always remain prepared.

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