The 10 Best Ascenders

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This wiki has been updated 22 times since it was first published in October of 2016. While these ascenders are perfect for helping mountain and rock climbers scale the highest peaks, they can be just as useful for other professionals working at height, such as painters, roofers, arborists, and emergency rescue teams. We've rounded up some of the best options out there for each of those purposes, from comfortable handled models to lightweight emergency backups. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.

1. Petzl Ascension

2. Black Diamond Index

3. Wild Country Ropeman 2

Editor's Notes

October 22, 2020:

The power players haven't changed much in the world of ascenders — the Petzl Ascension remains the gold standard, followed closely by the Black Diamond Index. We removed models like the Epic Peak Chest due to long-term durability and safety concerns, replacing them with established favorites like the Petzl Basic. Ascenders all serve the same fundamental purpose, but their features vary widely. Cavers and arborists ascending free-hanging ropes would benefit from the mechanical advantage of the Climbing Technology Quick Roll, especially in conjunction with a chest ascender. If you carry an ascender mostly for emergencies or self-rescue, consider a lightweight model like the Petzl Tibloc, Sterling Hollow Block, or Wild Country Ropeman 2. Most of these devices work with a wide range of ropes, and the Climbing Technology RollnLock even works with webbing. Climbing and working at height always carries inherent risk, and it's important to make sure you understand how to properly use your equipment. Your life depends on it.

Special Honors

Kong Futura Kong's innovative line of rope clamps occupies a useful middle ground between robust (but heavy) models and lightweight emergency backups. The range includes hand, chest, and foot ascenders that preserve enough comfort for sustained use, but are generally lighter than competitors.

4. Kong Climbing Lift

5. Climbing Technology RollnLock

6. Sterling Hollow Block

7. Petzl Basic

8. Petzl Tibloc

9. Climbing Technology Quick Roll

10. Paliston Climbing Hand

Willis Kuelthau
Last updated by Willis Kuelthau

Born in Boulder, Colorado, Willis began his writing career in third grade with a short story about a cat detective. After graduating from Williams College, he earned his editorial stripes at a magazine in Maine before making the leap into the world of freelance writing. He wrote for a variety of industries in Philadelphia and Rhode Island, until the New England winters sent him scurrying for sunnier skies. Now a resident of Los Angeles, he can frequently be found flailing away on a tennis court, dangling from a cliff face, or playing with his cats. Areas of expertise include fitness, nutrition, sports and outdoors, and automotive.

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