Climbing Rope Technique

Climbing Rope Technique
Climbers use mechanical ascenders and friction knots (often prusik knots) to ascend rocks. Both devices were engineered to prevent a person from sliding down a weighted rope. Mechanical ascenders, which are the focus of this article, offer a locking mechanism that keeps them locked to the rope when they are weighted, and they are simple to use as long as the manufacturer's instructions are closely and carefully followed.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Mechanical ascenders Rope Two pieces of sewn or tied webbing Two locking carabiners Harness Set of etriers (ladderlike devices people use to stand in when ascending a rope)
  • Mechanical ascenders
  • Rope
  • Two pieces of sewn or tied webbing
  • Two locking carabiners
  • Harness
  • Set of etriers (ladderlike devices people use to stand in when ascending a rope)
Step 1
Attach your mechanical ascenders to the rope, one above the other.
Step 2
Using locking carabiners, attach etriers to the ascenders.
Step 3
Attach a piece of sewn or tied webbing from your harness to the locking carabiners on the mechanical ascenders.
Step 4
Stand in the lower etrier and push the upper mechanical ascender (along with upper etrier) up the rope.
Step 5
Shift your weight to the upper etrier and push the lower ascender up the rope.

Tips & Warnings

 
If you can't afford mechanical ascenders, you can use friction knots instead.
 
Make sure to get expert advice before trying these techniques at dangerous heights off the ground. A thorough understanding of knots and climbing/rope ascension equipment is absolutely necessary. Mistakes can lead to injury or death.

Article Written By Lizzy Scully

Lizzy Scully is a senior contributing editor for Mountain Flyer magazine and the executive director of the nonprofit Girls Education International. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from University of Utah and Master of Science in journalism from Utah State University.

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