This section encompasses any device designed for progression up a rope. Ascenders or rope clamps work by allowing a rope to pass through but lock very strongly once it is pulled in the other direction. This lock on the rope is strong enough to hold someone's weight once the teeth of the device are fully meshed into the sheath of the rope. There are many different types each with its own specialisations and its own pros and cons. In general, you need training before using these devices and as such should have some idea of what you are looking for. Here are two of the main applications of the ascenders that we stock.
This refers to working environments where access is difficult, and so the site must be reached by rope. This could be a steep, unstable slope, a mast or pylon, the underside of a roof, or the side of the building. In some of these cases, the site must either be reached (or escaped from) by climbing the rope, which is where the ascenders are used. The most common rope climbing set-up for industrial rope access is to have a Petzl Croll attached to a chest harness, and a Petzl Ascension (handled ascender), attached to a long sling or foot loop. As the worker stands up in the footloop the rope is pulled through the Croll, which then locks. They then push the Ascension up the rope, which lifts the footloops higher, so that they can stand up in it again. This set up is shown clearly in the diagram to the left. There are a number of other ways of achieving the same end, but once practised, this technique is one of the most efficient.
To facilitate this, Lyon provide us with a strap designed specifically to attach the Croll to a Chester Harness. We also stock ready-made prussik loops from Fujikura Aboriculture.
In all cases where rope access is being used in an industrial (ie work) environment, health and safety regulations require that an extra safety line is used, as well as the rope that is being climbed. The worker should be attached to this by a mobile fall-arrest device, such as the Petzl ASAP, which can be found in the Descenders section.
Developed for caving and in many respects the origin of much of the rope ascent technology in use today. There are numerous different set-ups possible of which the simplest and most common is known as the frog. The jammers required for this are a Petzl Croll and either a Petzl Basic or Handled Ascender. For a full description of what's required for this see Caving.
Note that while cavers use similar equipment and techniques to those used in industrial rope access situations, the regulations that govern them are very different. Caving is a hobby, and so participants can use whatever they see fit to keep them safe, while rope access at work is governed by health and safety laws.
Climbers, alpinists, and mountaineers may also have reason to use SRT techniques. Ascenders are also useful for hauling loads up big walls at climbing paradises like Yosemite, and we stock a second style of ascender, the Black Diamond nForce, designed specifically for use in extreme or demanding conditions. You can find it on the Extreme Expedition page.
We've covered the Petzl Basic under SRT. However, there are a number of other devices in our ascenders section. For example, the Wild Country Ropeman makes an excellent lightweight ascender and sack hauler (it can be found in the Climbing Section of the website), as does Petzl's Microcender and the ultralight emergency use Tibloc (again on the Climbing page).
Petzl's other ascenders include the Shunt - a great abseil protection device that produces less wear on the rope than a prussik loop (filed under Descenders), and the Pantin - an ascender that attaches to the foot to complete the setup for the quickest form of moving up a rope in SRT scenarios. You may also want to look at the Minitraxion which combines a rope grab and pulley making it the number one for stretcher lifting, sack hauling, etc. it can also be used for ascending ropes or used purely as a pulley. You will find this in the Pulleys section of our website.
A right-hand rope clamp for ascending, hauling, and rescues. Weighing only 140g.Weight 150 g Working load 140 kg Dimensions 110 x 74 mm EN 567:2013 Ø 8 – 13 mm EN 12841:2006-B Ø 10 – 13 mm
Basic ascender for SRT or haulingChrome-plated steel cam with angled teeth and self-cleaning slot grips the rope securely, even if they're muddy or icy Multiple attachment points allow for different uses (e.g. self-belaying, haul systems, etc) Nylon trigger For use with ropes between 8 and 13mm in diameter
Lightweight right-hand chest ascender weighing only 146 g.Weight 147 g Working load 140 kg Dimensions 106 x 76 mm EN 567:2013 Ø 8 – 13 mm EN 12841:2006-B Ø 10 – 13 mm
Strap used to retro fit Petzl Croll ascender to older harnesses
The S.Tec Duck-R is a back-up device in the style of the Petzl Shunt but in this case it works only on one rope and has been certified for use in work at height scenarios rather than as descent back-up when climbing or caving