Ascenders & Descenders
Descenders are used in the techniques of abseiling or rappelling used for descending steep rock. This can be done after a climb or where it is difficult to get to your desired area for the start of the climb. An example of a complicated area would be sea cliffs.
The method of decenders involves a rope that goes through a safe anchor at the top. The rope is then attached to a friction device and a screwgate of an extender onto the load-bearing loop of the harness as you would normally do when belaying. You must make sure that the dead rope, the side of the rope that you are controlling is coming through the device. You would then place a knot onto this and clip it in your abseil loop below the extender with another screwgate. The knot will act as a safety backup and will make sure that when the controlling hand is released by accident, the abseil will be stopped.
Lowering is similar to abseiling and is also a technique used for descending. In this case, a direct belayer is at the bottom of the rock and makes sure that his or her partner safely reaches the bottom. Lowering is used on descending routes where short, steep walls could be encountered. The term belaying simply means securing a climber during his or her climb. There are many techniques and belay devices that will achieve this and two of the most common techniques are semi-direct belay and direct belay.
Pulleys and ascenders are a piece of rock climbing equipment that are designed more for solo rock climbers. Some ascenders are specifically shaped to keep the ascension parallel to the direction of the pull. This type of ascender is designed for use on single rope. A basic, compact ascender doesn't have a handle but will meet any pulley, climb and belay demands.
Some are used for climbing a fixed rope
in using an ascension handled rope clamp or grab. It is attached to
the harness with a connector such as a carabiner. Its position is flat
against the body with the help of the shoulder straps. It offers optimal
grip on the rope and slides upward easily.
Bear in mind that different manufacturers will have different names for their ascenders and descenders. When you're purchasing your equipment, ask questions and make sure you are clear and understood in your needs. Different climbing styles and various terrains will call for certain types.
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