How to break an ascender


Well-known member
Posted on Cavers of Facebook, although used for tree-work, here are the images:


  • ascender.jpg
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  • ascender2.jpg
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cap n chris

Well-known member
Based on the metal fatigue exhibited by the remaining section it looks like it was loaded from the bottom of the handle while the main mechanism was holding the top section flat against something and the entire handle section was deformed around an edge and the owner subsequently bent it back in shape and the thinner part of the long axis had a stress failure. Wild Arsed Guess territory but I imagine it wouldn't be difficult to replicate. I have old(er) Petzl handled jammer(s) so would be prepared to try and repeat it on film.


Well-known member
That was someone else's theory as well (he is quite heavy - 125kg - & claims it broke on a normal ascent)


Well-known member
That's not broken, it's been converted (some might say upgraded?) to a basic. If the owner really liked the handle, they should replace it with a CAMP Turbo hand, not another Petzl one IMHO

Edit, I don't understand the pattern of wear/damage at the top of the remaining bit of handle, some weird abuse has been happening to that ascender. It would be good for someone to watch what the owner was doing with it! (and stop them from doing whatever)


Active member
Oh. Clip your foot loop to the top holes of your ascender THEN put the rope in? For several km.