When we check the WeighMyRack database for the most wanted and owned Ascenders by WeighMyRack users we find the top 3 models in each category are…

Most Wanted Hand Ascenders (Left and Right Models)

  1. Petzl Ascension
  2. Climbing Technology Quick Roll
  3. Black Diamond Index

Interestingly, the most owned models of hand ascenders are the exact same models, only with the #2 and #3 spots swapped.

Most Owned Hand Ascenders (Left and Right Models)

  1. Petzl Ascension
  2. Black Diamond Index
  3. Climbing Technology Quick Roll

Below we dive into why these are the most wanted and owned ascenders from WeighMyRack users.

Petzl  Ascension – #1 Most Wanted and #1 Most Owned Hand Ascender

When it comes to hand ascenders, Petzl has been on the top of many lists for years. The fact that the Ascension is #1 for both WeighMyRack users Most Wanted and Most Owned lists is a testament to their performance and durability throughout their lifespan. Reviews all over the internet from bigwall climbers and photographers to routesetters and cavers all tout its durability, simple construction, and smooth operation.

The pressed and folded aluminum sheet that makes up the body is a single piece, which not only makes the Ascension very lightweight for a hand ascender (second only to the Kong Futura which has no frame to protect your knuckles) but also sturdy feeling in the hand. With one of the most comfortable rubberized grips out there, the Ascension is often a go-to recommendation for long days jugging and hauling on ropes.

Frogging with the Petzl Ascension
The ergonomic top of the Petzl Ascension makes it a lot more comfortable to pull down on when using a single hand ascender method.

Petzl has iterated and updated the Ascension over the years. Previous models had multiple smaller bottom holes for clipping into, but the current large lower hole allows for various combinations and styles of carabiners to be clipped in and out much easier. Petzl has also added a curved ergonomic plastic shoulder on top for a second hand to rest and pull down on, which makes it far more comfortable than before to jug a rope with a single ascender in ‘frog style’.

Where to buy the Petzl Ascension Ascender

Climbing Technology Quick Roll – #2 Most Wanted and #3 Most Owned Hand Ascender

When jugging a rope using a single hand ascender and a progress capture device (sometimes known as frog ascending) it is a common practice to redirect the rope above the climber using a carabiner (or if you’re really getting fancy, a carabiner with a pulley built into it) which makes the process much easier. So Climbing Technology asked the question, “What if the pulley was just built into the ascender?” and the Quick Roll was born.

CT Quick Roll
The Climbing Technology Quick Roll is currently the only hand ascender with a built in pulley for redirecting the rope

While there are a lot of options out there in the world of hand ascenders (currently 45 models total on WeighMyRack.com) they generally all function in the same way. So when an innovation like an integrated pulley comes along, it often gets noticed, and we think this is one reason why the Quick Roll is #2 Most Wanted hand ascender for WeighMyRack users.

Frogging using the Quick Roll
The integrated pulley of the Quick Roll ascender adds serious efficiency to jugging fixed lines using the frog method.

Buying Options for the Climbing Technology Quick Roll
Because Climbing Technology doesn’t sell nearly as much outside the EU, the Quick Roll is tough to find in climbing shops in the US and Canada. Because of the usefulness of the integrated pulley, it has gathered some attention from the tree hunting crowd and can sometimes be found on Am@z0n or hunting specific websites.

Black Diamond Index – #3 Most Wanted and  #2 Most Owned Hand Ascender

Black Diamond as a brand is often in the top of gear lists, and there are a few reasons for that. At least in North American markets, BD is often the most available and most searched when it comes to climbing gear. Because they make so many different types of gear, they often end up on the short list for what climbers see when they search out a new piece of kit.

Essentially, BD is known for making good stuff, so when you need an ascender it makes sense to see what they have on offer. And when you see it is highly rated and extremely available, the Black Diamond Index ends up on your list(and subsequently, this one).

The trigger hole of the BD Index
The trigger on the Black Diamond Index is designed to make opening and 'feathering' the ascender up and down the rope more ergonomic.

As far as functionality, the Index is a pretty straightforward ascender without any real bells or whistles, except for the feature that gives it its namesake. The release mechanism on the cam that grabs the rope as you ascend is a trigger loop for your index finger. Compared to other models that have a knob or catch to pull down on, the hole allows you to put your finger through to disengage the cam more easily when down-jugging or if you need to open the ascender to step it over a knot or piece of gear on the rope.

In actuality, this takes a bit of practice, and depending on the size of your fingers might be difficult to do. Many users of ascenders don’t often find the need to go down when they are ascending a rope, but in the worlds of bigwall climbing, routesetting, or rescue, down aiding and hauling often present challenges that require the ascender to be more mobile. This feature isn’t a make or break for many, but for those who have found an ascender to be ‘too grabby’, it might be a reason to choose it over another model.

Where to buy the Black Diamond Index ascender

Bottom Line

As we’ve mentioned in our previous article about the top 3 backup/rope grab/progress capture devices, you can’t talk about ascenders without expecting Petzl at the top. When it comes to clamping and grabbing onto ropes, Petzl has the most experience innovating in the industry, and it shows from the wide array of ascender types and models they make.

Those looking for something slightly cheaper that still stands as a durable name in climbing can never go wrong with Black Diamond. And if you’re a route setter, caver, or photographer who finds themselves operating the frog method more than not, a CT Quick Roll is probably burning a hole in your checkout cart as we speak.

Want to See All The Ascenders (over 80)?

At WeighMyRack, we list every ascender and give you filters for type (hand, chest, capture pulley, foot, etc), tooth type (toothed, ridged, smooth), number of holes and other features. You can also filter by on sale ascenders with discounts >20%.