Ascenders and Descenders

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Tree climbing has come a long way in recent years. Much of the old manual ways of ascending and descending have changed, with new products being developed at a rapid pace. Still, some prefer the classic ascending tools available, and they still do well on the market. If you're looking for ascenders, descenders, or combination systems, look no further. We've got what you're looking for. Learn a little bit about each of these categories below.

Ascending Tools

While climbing technology has come a long way, the long used standard ascending tools are still available. These tools are what many climbers got their start on, after all. A rope ascender allows a climber to move up, or ascend, the rope. These mechanical ascenders come in a few different forms:

  • Hand Ascenders: Only used in a stationary rope system. Hand ascenders are the least used option available today. They take a lot of energy to use.
  • Knee Ascenders: Used with a moving rope system or a stationary rope system. Allows a climber to "stair walk" up the rope. An example is the Stein Knee Ascent System.
  • Foot Ascenders: Used with both moving and stationary rope systems. A foot ascender uses a climber's leg muscles, causing less energy to be used. Foot ascenders should not be used as a life support system.

Descending Tools

As with ascending tools, descending tools are beginning to be replaced by combination options on the market. Still, it's important to have knowledge of them if you're working on learning the ropes, so to speak. A descender allows a climber to move down, or descend, the rope.

Descenders are less varied than the ascending tools that they complement. The traditional figure 8 design requires much attention to work safely. Cammed descenders are safer. They allow climbers to control their descent by pulling a handle, allowing for control while braking. Some have incorporated panic stops, preventing uncontrolled descents. This means you won't reach the ground too quickly.

All-in-One Tools

These are the most talked about climbing tools available on the market. These allow climbers to both ascend and descend the rope with a single system. However, most of these devices are fairly expensive when comparing them to traditional methods. Of these new tools, these are the most popular:

  • The Unicender: A product made by Rock Exotica that is very popular among climbers.
  • Basic Rope Wrench Tether: A friction control device that allows users to ascend and descend the rope. There are more advanced versions, as well, like the Singing Tree Rope Wrench by ISC.
  • Rope Runner: This product is only to be used by advanced climbers. They are very sensitive to the touch, allowing climbers to move quickly.

Weigh Your Options

Regardless of your level of climbing, there's no arguing that climbing doesn't require expensive gear. However, every year a company comes up with a new, innovative idea that changes the way that climbing works. As such, understanding all of the options available to you is important. Keep them all in mind as you look for your next tool to get tree work done!