Ascenders are crucial mountaineering devices that are required on steep terrain, mostly on glacial regions, hauling people or gear on walls, crevasse rescue and particularly while climbing a fixed line. There are a number of situations in which a climber has to attach themselves to a rope. Although carabiners and rope knots suffice in most of these situations, ascenders provide the climber with freedom to move in one direction and also allow them to stop and hold weight in the other direction.
This article delves into the different types of ascenders, their parts, functions and also gives you a quick guide for their maintenance and storage.
Different Types of Ascenders and its Usage
Ascenders come in two types for the left and right hands. Each one is designed to offer a good grip and comfort for the respective hands.
Hand ascenders, also commonly known as Jumar, are the most common type of ascenders and generally used in pairs, different models for left and right hands. They are typically used for jugging, a process in which the climber uses these ascenders to climb the rope above them. Hand ascenders are the most multifunctional and also heavier compared to the other ascenders.
Jumars allow you to slide the device freely in one direction and also provide a firm grip over the rope when pulled in the opposite direction. This is possible with the use of cams in Jumars. They are used in pairs, where one is slid up the rope while the other bears the weight as you climb up. The jumar that was slid up then bears the weight, locking the climber to the rope and freeing the other one to now be slid up. This process is repeated by the climber while ascending the rope.
A locking mechanism is used to attach the jumar to the rope. The jumar is first attached to the climber’s harness with the help of a sling. It is then clipped onto the rope and locked in.
Parts of a Jumar
The below illustration outlines the parts of a jumar/ascender for your reference:
How to Make Prusik Knots in the Absence of a Jumar
If you are missing the gear (ascender) or under any unfortunate circumstance, happen to drop it, there are things you can do to create a makeshift device using something as basic as a cord. It is possible to tie friction knots (also called ‘prusik knots’) in the absence of a jumar or ascender, which will help with your climb almost exactly like ascenders do. Following are the steps to tie prusik knots:
Maintenance and Storage
The following are a few tips for the maintenance and safe storage of ascenders:
- Clean the ascenders to remove any dirt with the help of a swab or a soft brush.
- Soak the ascender in warm water with mild soap and rinse with fresh water. Ensure that all the dirt and soap water is thoroughly rinsed.
- Use a dry microfiber cloth to dry the ascender. Any moisture that does not dry out before storage could lead to corrosion.
- Lubricate the moving parts with oil to avoid friction and store in a cool dry place away from the sunlight.
We hope this article gives you all the information you wanted to know about ascenders. Should you have any further queries, do not hesitate to reach out to our team!