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. Petzl Nano Traxion
  3. Petzl Tibloc

Coincidentally, the most owned models of ascenders are the exact same as the most wanted models, just in a slightly different order.

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 Pro Traxion, the Micro is a staple in just about every 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. Though these features all make it sound like a progress capture pulley (which it is, rated EN 12278/ UIAA 127) it also happens to be rated as a ‘rope grab’ aka ascender (EN 567).

What this means is that climbers can have a single piece of gear in their kit that is a 15kN rated capture pulley, a 15kN 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. 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.

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.

Petzl Nano Traxion – #2 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 the Nano sits at #2 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 – #3 Most Wanted and #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 that have come out with their own similar versions (with more or less features) and you can see every ascender there is at WeighMyRack.com/ascender. It just so happens that these rope grabbing ascenders are even more owned/wanted than typical hand ascenders.

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%.