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Rope Wrench with hand or knee ascender?

lcom1

lcom1

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May 6, 2020
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Lower Marlboro, MD
I have a foot ascender and a petzl hand ascender for SRS/SRT climbing with a rope wrench. I have seen some people use hand ascenders with a foot loop for ascending, but it seems like most use a knee ascender. My questions are:

1) Is it safer to use a knee ascender vs a hand ascender with foot loop? The rope wrench instructions say that you can place ascenders above or below the system, and it seems like a hand ascender would go above the system, but are there some best practices here? I've seen some mentions of keeping all ascenders below the system could reduce chances of somehow pulling down on the friction hitch and descending unexpectedly. Or, does a knee ascender just help keep things a bit tidier up around the rope wrench system?

2) Do people generally prefer the knee ascender vs a hand ascender with foot loop? Are there advantages to having a hand ascender instead? I'm wondering if I should return the hand ascender and get something like the SAKA mini-max v2.

Thanks so much. I'm a new user and have learned a ton from the members on this site.
 
EchoRomeoCharlie

EchoRomeoCharlie

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I have not climbed SRT with a hand ascend-er, so the following is simply me going through the situation and possible outcomes in my head. So, take with grain of salt.

Considering a failure of a hand ascend-er(especially with a foot loop) could cause a free fall situation, I would tend to consider that system unsafe as it has a single failure point.

If the hand ascend-er fails to grab the rope for whatever reason, and slides down far enough to depress the rope wrench it could also press down on the friction hitch. I think this is a pretty low percentage chance, but the consequences are pretty severe if it does happen.

Knee ascend-er is the way to go. Or if you absolutely need a hand ascend-er forgo the foot loop. IMO.
 
NeSurfcaster

NeSurfcaster

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I tried the foot ascender and a hand ascender srt w/ HH2. I totally regret getting the hand ascender. I ended up getting the haas velox knee ascender, awesome piece of equipment. Only way to go in my book, knee ascender and foot ascender. I've found a few uses for a hand ascender, such as w/ mechanical advantage capturing.
 

ATH

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I have a hand ascender that hasn't left the bag in ????, a Haas Velox that is pretty good and a SAKA Mini from a Climbing Innovations. Bought the SAKA mini to support Richard during his patent fight and I now use that more than the Haas because I like it better.
 
markbakovic

markbakovic

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Aug 29, 2020
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bit of a resurrection hopefully worthwhile for another newb's experience with exactly this setup:
i use a wrench and hand ascender with foot loop. I do have a foot ascender but it needs a buckle replaced so i've been slow going with ascender and tending the hitch alone.
1) hand ascender above, yes.
the wrench uses up a lot of the room above the hitch so the petzl foot loop at least is too short for me (I'm tall) but still useable. would recommend something like an etrier perhaps instead (personally I just bought a cheap sling and bodged an "extended foot loop" that way). You can also easily run out of arm if your hitch allows more sit-back before engaging than you bargained for, not an issue with the foot loop since you can stand up to retrieve the ascender.
I'm not sure I'd agree with all the concerns of ascender failure collapsing the wrench and hitch (but I will try and simulate one now!) because of how little slack you can get above your hitch's bite point: so I suppose you'd simply slip back into your hitch holding you before applying much force to the wrench. However this does mean you need a hitch with minimal engagement lag and plenty reliable without you having to set it (i.e. not something that you have to coax along the rope to get it to grip). Distel or Knut for me.
it does get a bit jangly up there. I do also have a sling from the ascender to my harness as a backup (and a backup in case I drop it while dis-/engaging it!).
2) I'd go a knee ascender instead if I set up again, but now that I have the hand ascender I'm happy to keep it and climb as I have been. Very slow though by arb standards, fine for rec. It does have other uses, and having 3 biners hanging off it can be attached to plenty of things other than me: e.g. it'll be how I lug cameras up trees soon (probably below me on my rope and leashed so I tow it up while I climb without tending to it, easy enough to move around me in the canopy after. Maybe eventually on another line... but I digress)

sounds like you'd be well served swapping it for a knee ascender.
 
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