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How to ascend on ropes technique

How to Ascend on a Rope? - Part 2

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On the previous article we have covered some of the reasons and situations that may require you to ascend a rope, including the risks and the technique’s limitations. Now we will cover the skills and steps to ascend safely on a rope.

Disclaimer: the technique described in this article is solely intended as source of information and should NOT be considered formal training. Readers are advised to NOT ATTEMPT to ascend on a rope without being under the supervision of a professional instructor.

Gear for Ascending on a Rope

This particular technique requires the use of two mechanical ascenders. One ascender is attached to the low point on your harness (chest ascender) and the other one is attached to the carabiner on your long lanyard (hand ascender). In the Level 2 Online course you can learn how to set up and adjust your equipment such as lanyards and chest ascender to suit your body profile.   

Gear required

  • 1x toothed cam hand ascender
  • 1x toothed cam chest ascender
  • 1x chest harness
  • 1x foot loop


The following technique MUST ONLY BE PRACTICED in a safe and controlled environment under supervision of a competent or qualified instructor/mentor and requires the use of full personal protective equipment (CE-rated helmet, rope and hardware such as harness, ascenders and carabiners).

Step 1:

Stand next to the ascent rope, open the toothed cam of the chest ascender, install the rope in the chest ascender and close the cam. Pull down on the rope below the chest ascender while at the same time standing tall on our toes. Then, bend your knees and sit in your harness. This will tension the rope and engage the chest ascender. 

canyoning ascending on ropes

Step 2:

Tighten your chest harness to ensure optimal body position in relation to the rope when ascending.

ascending on ropes canyoneering technique

Step 3:

Keeping the rope in tension with a slight flex on the knees, open the toothed cam of the hand ascender, install it on the rope and close the cam. Push it up until the long lanyard is fully extended.

technique for ascending ropes canyoneering canyoning

Step 4:

Clip you foot loop into the small opening located at the bottom of your hand ascender and attach the loop round your foot.

techniques for climbing ropes canyoneering canyoning

Step 5:

Holding the hand ascender with one or both hands, stand up on our foot loop, fully stretching out our leg.

Mechanics for ascending rope

  • Efficiency tips: Try to bring our foot directly under our body so you can push vertically, similar to going up a step. This step works better if the rope below the chest ascender has tension so the rope can move flawlessly through the chest ascender. You can ask one teammate to pull down on the rope as you are ascending.

Step 6:

Flex your leg and sit back on your chest ascender.

ascend on a rope modern technique

Step 8:

Repeat steps 5 & 6 until we are finished ascending. 

When you reach the anchor station, clip into it using our short lanyard so you are secure like you have learned on the Canyoning Level 1 course. Then stand high and open your chest ascender. Remove the rope from your chest ascender. Next, slightly slide your hand ascender up the rope, remove it and clip it away. 

Success! You now know the steps to safely ascend ropes. Make sure your equipment is correctly fitting and secured.

If you want to practice this technique, we strongly suggest you learn how to convert on a rope. This is where you change from ascend to descent mode. 


Practice safely and never practice vertical techniques alone. 

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