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Top Picks

How we choose: The best ascenders highlighted here were selected based on 12 reviews of 9 products. Our top picks are those that are readily-available in the United States and have received the highest overall ratings from reviewers.

How we test: Trailspace is powered entirely by our community of readers. The reviews posted here reflect the real-world experiences of outdoor enthusiasts just like you.

If you've used a ascender that you think should be listed here, please share your experience.

Disclosure: Trailspace never accepts payment for gear reviews, product placement, or editorial coverage. When you buy through affiliate links on our site, Trailspace may earn a small commission, which helps cover the costs of running the site.

Petzl Ascension

user rating: 5 of 5 (3 reviews)

The Petzl Ascension is the only foot ascender on the market worth looking at. Although the price is a bit higher, I have known cavers who regretted trying cheaper alternatives. If you are new to rope work, Petzl is the brand to buy...period!

Reasons to Buy

  • Best ascender on the market
  • Holds on wet, gritty rope
  • Can be used with gloves on

Reasons to Avoid

  • Being right- and left-hand specific is both a pro and a con
  • Make sure to buy the ascender made for your dominate hand

So, I have said the same thing on my Petzl Croll review, but in a "Frog" ascending system, the Croll and Ascension are both critical components. You can't safely have one without the other. The Petzl Ascention is the only foot ascender I've ever used for caving. It works right every time. I can set and remove it while wearing gloves. It holds on wet, gritty rope. I literally have trusted my life to it scores of times. Petzl tends to be a bit pricier than other other brands, but I have caved with people frustrated with the performance of their cheaper buys.

Read more: Petzl Ascension reviews (3)

Petzl Pantin

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

Does what it is supposed to do quite well.

Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight
  • Nice additon to a frog system

Reasons to Avoid

  • Can "kick off" the rope
  • Takes quite a bit of practice

I have been using the Patin for years as a supplement to my Frog Ascension. Normally, when you start out ascending a rope, you have to pinch the rope between your feet to get started. This is because, until you get a good 10' off the ground, there is not enough weight on the rope to automatically pull it through the ascenders. Pinching the rope with construction boots on can be a task, and a climber can expend a lot of energy in the initial ascent. The Pantin eliminates the need to pinch the rope.

Read more: Petzl Pantin review (1)

Petzl Croll

user rating: 5 of 5 (1 review)

As a component in rope ascending, the Petzl Croll continues to be the best on the market. It is easy to use, even while wearing gloves. It holds true on wet, gritty rope. I have trusted my life to this item numerous times and will continue to do so.

Reasons to Buy

  • Lightweight
  • Holds on wet rope

Reasons to Avoid

  • None to report on this item

Petzl's ascenders are the only ones I've ever used for caving. They work right every time. I can set and remove them while wearing gloves. I literally have trusted my life with them scores of times. Petzl tends to be a bit pricier than other brands, but I'll stick with the leader when it comes to my safety. The Croll is designated as a "chest ascender." This may cause some confusion, as it actually attaches to your harness at your waist. However, it is held in place by either a chest harness or a piece of webbing running up and over the shoulders.

Read more: Petzl Croll review (1)

Petzl Tibloc

user rating: 4.5 of 5 (1 review)

I first saw this device in a climbing mag. As a rescue tech, I/we are always looking to try out new ideas, especially when they are this inexpensive and LIGHT! The Tibloc can be used as an emergency ascender on single rope up to 11mm (I've used it on 12mm with no probs.) and also as a makeshift locking pulley for hauling systems like the Z-rig. Works best with an oval or HMS carabiner with a round body. Plus side: Super simple, can't be removed from rope unless the attaching biner is removed also, inexpensive, small enough to carry unnoticed on any rack.

Read more: Petzl Tibloc review (1)

Singing Rock Puller Chest Ascender Harness

user rating: 4 of 5 (1 review)

An important part of any ascension system, the Singing Rock Puller Chest Harness is well-made and dependable. I have owned several of these units, retiring them as age requires. They are still available in climbing stores and well worth the few bucks.

Reasons to Buy

  • Ready-made
  • Easy to adjust

Reasons to Avoid

  • More expensive than a make-it-yourself chest harness

Singing Rock is a great company, and this is a great item to use with a Frog Ascension System. The harness keeps your chest ascender (I prefer Petzl's Croll) in place on a climb. Without it, a climber would risk the ascender disconnecting from the rope. Many cavers make their own chest harness out of webbing. I like using a pre-made harness, because it's easily adjustable, and I can loan it out to someone who forgot to bring one. In this photo you can see the gold chest harness crossing my shoulder and back.

Read more: Singing Rock Puller Chest Ascender Harness review (1)

Singing Rock Footer Ascender Sling

user rating: 4 of 5 (1 review)

The Singing Rock Footer Ascender Sling is a quality, adjustable foot tape that allows those using a Frog ascending system to set the right length for climbing rope. As with all Sing Rock equipment I have used, I find it reasonably priced and well worth considering.

Reasons to Buy

  • Adjustable
  • Wide foot loop
  • Well made/durable

Reasons to Avoid

  • An experienced frogger knows how to make these cheaper and lighter.
  • Only one foot will fit

At the heart of a "Frog" rope ascension system is a foot ascender, with its accompanying foot lanyard. The foot ascender has two lines coming off of it. The first, is the life supporting lanyard that attaches to the harness. The second is a critical (but non-life supporting) foot tape, like the Singing Rock. Stock store image. In the picture below, my friend Ralph has his right hand on a Petzl foot ascender. The rope he is climbing is to the right (coming at his chest, then falling between his feet).

Read more: Singing Rock Footer Ascender Sling review (1)

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