When we check the WeighMyRack database for the most wanted and owned Ascenders by WeighMyRack users we find no hand ascenders in the top 3, but we do find the top 3 models of rope grab / capture pulley’s are…

Most Wanted Backup/Rope Grab/Capture Pulley Ascenders

Most folks think of hand ascenders when they hear ‘ascenders.’ The ascenders in this post are a subcategory that we call backup/rope grab/capture pulley ascenders (if you want to dive deeper into all the ascender types this post is for you). 

  1. Petzl Micro Traxion
  2. Climbing Technology CRIC
  3. Petzl Nano Traxion

Interestingly, the #1 and #3 most Owned backup ascenders are the same models, with the lightest model on the market taking the #2 spot.

Most Owned Backup/Rope Grab/Capture Pulley Ascenders

  1. Petzl Micro Traxion
  2. Petzl Tibloc
  3. Petzl Nano Traxion

Below we dive into why these are the most wanted and owned ascenders from WeighMyRack users – listed in order of the most wanted ascenders.

Petzl Micro Traxion – #1 Most Wanted and #1 Most Owned Ascender

The range of applications for the Micro Traxion is huge. Originally conceived as a much smaller and lighter duty version of the popular big wall hauler, the Pro Traxion, the Micro is a staple in just about any haul kit. It is compact with a super efficient sealed roller bearing on its shank that handles tons of weight and has a handy lockout feature for the teeth which allows it to also function as a pulley. Surprisingly, this pulley isn’t actually certified EN 12278/ UIAA 127 in either the Micro or the Pro, though Petzl does say it is tested to 15kN which is the minimum for the UIAA standard. It is however rated as a ‘rope grab’ aka ascender EN 567, which can grab and hold 4kN (just under 900 lbs).

The real feat of the Microtraxion is that is gives climbers a small, multifunctional piece of gear in their kit that is a capture pulley, a regular pulley, and a 4kN rated rope grab for hauling setups AND an emergency ascender for passing knots, ascending fixed/stuck lines, crevasse rescue setups, or running as a backup when toprope soloing. Make it 85g and the size of half a carabiner and it is no surprise that this small wonder is not only owned by so many climbers, but that so many more want to add it to their setups.

If you want to see it in action, Petzl has some great demonstrations on their website.

Petzl's website has a huge list of technical explanations and demonstrations of the vast capabilities of the Micro Traxion.

Climbing Technology CRIC – #2 Most Wanted Ascender

As one of the newest bits of kit to hit the market in the world of ascenders, the CRIC has made a big splash among gear heads in rescue, rope access, arborists, and of course climbing. What makes it stand out from the Traxion series from Petzl it that it is actually EN/UIAA certified to function in every facet that it performs: as a rope grab (EN567), an ascender (EN12841:B), AND a pulley (EN12278).

The fully certified CRIC that can function as a pulley, an ascender, or a rope grab marks a new era in the world of multifunction rigging and hauling devices.

The interesting design choice of separating the rope grabbing teeth from the pulley enabled CT to utilize a more robust aluminum frame, similar to a typical chest/backup ascender, with plenty of room to allow up to 11mm ropes to travel through the pulley with ease. One of the gripes that some folks have with other multifunction models like the Traxions and the Spoc from Edelrid is that the lockout function of the teeth can wear over extreme use in muddy, dirty environments and cause the teeth to be difficult to keep disengaged. The CRICs design separates these components into more discrete systems which ultimately means you can use both functions independently at the same time and even use the pulley to increase hauling efficiency while you capture the progress on a different part of the same system; pretty slick.

This fact alone is likely one reason that this device has popped up on this list within its first year of launch, and why those in the rigging and rescue worlds are stoked to put it to use. CT has also priced it $10 cheaper than the Micro Traxion, and since it is fully UIAA/EN certified for all of the above, we expect to see it and the next generation of multifunction backups like it to be moving up this list as the years go on.

Where to find the CRIC

Currently there aren’t a ton of options for ordering Climbing Technology products in the US/CAN, though CT is carried by our friends over at Liberty Mountain and is currently showing In Stock at PMI.

Petzl Nano Traxion – #3 Most Wanted and #3 Most Owned Ascender

The third iteration in the Traxion line from Petzl is the uber tiny, mega light (53g) Nano Traxion. Essentially a minimized version of the Micro, the Nano Traxion has a smaller frame and a slightly smaller pulley and is designed to function best on smaller lines, though the rope range of both models is the same.

The Nano uses the same toothed cam for progress capture and is rated at 4kN, the same as the Micro. The biggest difference is the toothed cam of the Nano does not have the lockout feature, so it cannot be used as a non progress capture pulley.

The weight savings isn’t huge compared to the Micro but it is significant, and for those not needing the pulley who want the smallest bit of kit for the jobs of crevasse rescue, hauling and backup ascending, it makes sense that being a little bit more niche the Nano sits at #3 most wanted. Currently right around the $100 mark, it is also cheaper than its bigger cousin. While currently at the #3 most owned, it is also the newest offering from Petzl in this line, so we expect it could work its way up the list as time goes on.

Where to buy the Petzl Nano Traxion

Petzl Tibloc – #2 Most Owned Ascender

The lightest progress capture device out there (at 35g!), the Petzl Tibloc (pronounced, TEE-BLOCK, btw) is practically in a class by itself. It’s so tiny and light that many climbers have one ‘just because’ the benefits of having an emergency rope grab that fits in literally any pocket vastly outweigh the less than $50 cost. We are not surprised that it sits at #2 most owned, even if it is not nearly as functional or efficient as its mechanical siblings.

Originally, the Tibloc was a simple piece of steel with teeth and a wedge-shaped clipping hole that levered the teeth toward the rope whenever weight was applied. A downfall of this design is that you could lift the very tiny device away from the rope easily and disengage the teeth, creating a fall potential. The updated model has a small plastic springed sleeve that keeps the device against the rope, making it more reliable as a backup, and easier to use as an emergency ascender for passing knots or to trail behind you as a backup on a fixed line.

Buying Options for the Petzl Tibloc

Bottom Line

Petzl. Petzl really is the most known and ubiquitous brand when it comes to ascenders. They’ve been doing this a long time and their ascenders are known to be thoughtful products that work well. Thus their total dominance on this page.

Recently there have been more and more brands like Climbing Technology that have begun challenging the long-standing dominance Petzl has on the market, either with their own similar versions or designs like the Edelrid Spoc or even greater departures from existing designs like CAMPs Turbo Lock. The coming years spell an interesting time for new ways of thinking in how climbers and rescuers use gear on rope. For now, in case you want to see every ascender currently out there and use our custom filters to compare them all side by side, you can check them out at WeighMyRack.com/ascender.

It’s also worth noting that all ascenders on WeighMyRack are certified for climbing by the UIAA/CE as an ascender. This is why you see rope grab/backup/capture pulley ascenders along with hand ascenders – because they’re all certified as an ascender.

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%.