Safety First – Part 2

August 27, 2016

When using descenders for technical climbs, ALWAYS tie off before starting work.

I notice for some strange reason even professionals don’t tie off – that’s fine if they fall and kill only themselves. Problem is when they fall, the climbers below them fall as well!

So learn to tie off.


Watch this…if any of you want to argue with me…as I don’t feel like negotiating with anyone.

A couple of readers who saw my Youtube Vid ‘precheck’ below – asked whether I am using my ascender aka JUMA as a fall arrestor. The answer is No! During tech climbs it’s not uncommon to run three ropes. First is to tie one down. Second arrestor and third to haul work stuff – I use the ascender for strictly work stuff!

Ascender should NEVER be used as a fall arrestor! You might be saying to yourself, “Fine, I’ll make sure to keep my ascender high so as to minimize my fall distance. Then there won’t be enough force to damage my rope and I’ll be fine. I’ve always used a hand ascender as my backup, and I always will.”

Hey I mucho understand. I totally get it. As I did that myself once upon a time. Only let me leave you with a few thoughts:

Ascenders will wear out your rope faster because of their aggressive teeth.

If OSHA catches you using an ascender as your backup your tech climb license will be revoked!

Besides there are lots of great back up devices on the market now that work way better than 80’s ascenders as fall arresters.
So, please get on the new page.


A fall arrestor that I highly recommend for technical climbs is the ASAP range by Petzl….I am especially impressed by three features of this device. Auto rope feed during ascent and descent. Quick arrest of the momentum weighted cam (6 inches on dead fall! @ 100 Kg rating) along with the ease of post fall recovery.

It’s pricey, but worth every cent.

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