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Fixed Lines Ascender, which hand?

Original Post
Chris C. · · Seattle, WA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 321

So I'm going on my first Himalayan climb - an easy one, just to get used to the style of climbing out there before tackling some bigger peaks next year. As the style of climbing there usually goes, there will be fixed lines, where climbers will hold an ascender with one hand and an ice axe wither the other. (Not vertical ascending.)

All the ascenders I am looking at purchasing are right or left hand specific. Do people typically buy them for their dominant or non-dominant hand? There seems to be logic for both. I tried searching here and on Petzl's site, but couldn't find anything.

On a side note, does anybody have a preference of ascender? I am looking at the Petzl and Grivel models.

windexxx · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2014 · Points: 30

I have the grivel acender with the belay slot in the handle, and a right handed BD index.

Index is hands down superior. It functions very smoothly. The cam is easy to operate with a gloved finger or thumb.

the grivel one takes some fiddling to disengage, and does not seem to like to lock open like the BD. i cant open it with my index finger, and must use thumb. I have resorted to using a second hand to open the grivel when I am forced to use it. The belay slot is kinda cool. but absolutely not worth dealing with an inferior ascender to add that functionality.

They both fit either hand fine while on a line. Both are easier to operate the cam with right hand however.

All of this is at or near vertical jugging / hauling, ymmv.

wayne willoughby · · SEATTLE · Joined Jul 2008 · Points: 95

I have never used a Grivel, but have done a few pitches with the Petzels and have NEVER had an issue with one. Can't say that about some others.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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