Ascenders are a mechanical devise used to ascend rope. They can slide easily up the rope, but lock solidly when downward pressure is applied. By design they cannot be used for descent.
During the climb, keep leaves, twigs, and debris out of and away from the spring and camming mechanism. The climber's hands should be below the camming devise at all times.
When choosing an ascender make sure it will be compatable with your ropes diameter, practice a safe distance from the ground, and be sure to have a descending devise before entering the tree.
Single Rope Technique
In this set up I use two Petzl handled ascenders attached to a double locking carabiner with 8 mm Samson Ice cord. When clipped to my D-ring they are equally at arms length. On my right foot I have a Petzl foot ascender, and my left foot is in a loop Attached to to the left hand ascender with a carabiner. The foot loop is made of the same cord to a length that brings the ascender to my waist when standing in the loop.
To ascend I stand up wth my right foot ascender and advance my left foot and left ascender simultaneously, then stand in the left foot loop while I advance the right ascender and right foot. I repeat the process until I reach the tie in point.
Double Rope Technique
With the same equipment set up as above I can climb double ropes. I swap the left foot loop for a second foot ascender. I simply stand with both feet and advance the ascenders upward, sit in my harness and bring my feet up as high as I can to repeat the process. It is much easier than foot locking the old fasion way.
Keeping the ascenders seperate gives me a more natural and ergonimic grip, and allows them to spread with the rope when approaching a larger crotch. I can get right up to the tie in point with this system.
Copyright 2009 Tree Climbers Guide. All rights reserved.