Can i use a petzl ascender, regular Black diamond ATC (NOTE: not guide ATC), footloop and a prusik attached with a biner to my harness to ascend a fixed rope attached to a tree? I don't have a grigri or ATC guide and would like to experiment with what I have before i take the plunge.

  • 6
    Can you find someone experienced, preferably someone qualified teaching this, in your area? It is not safe to experiment where your life is in danger of you do it wrong.
    – Willeke
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 7:28
  • I would never use the system without testing it rigorously and learning different kinds of safety procedures i.e. escaping the system, munter hitch, cross-loading etc. I will probably get myself a teacher next year. This year is not possible since i live in a cold country.
    – Neltitekno
    Commented Oct 15, 2022 at 10:38

1 Answer 1


The kit you have there is enough to go up and down a rope, but I’m not sure the method you’re thinking of will work. A non-guide mode ATC won’t help you ascend, but it will help you descend.

You can ascend a rope with 2 prusiks (same method applies to one prusik and one ascender): https://www.vdiffclimbing.com/prusik-rope/

Then you can use an ATC and a prusik backup to come down in a normal rappel.

The transition between those may be fiddly and will need to be well planned out to ensure you are always safe (and don’t drop the ATC!)

However if you replace your ATC with a guide mode device you will find it is far easier to ascend the rope (using the extended belay device method shown further down the page I linked above) and to manage the transition. With a grigri it is even easier.

A guide mode ATC is not super expensive and will make this both easier and safer, so I would absolutely recommend getting one.

  • Thank you Ford answering. Yeah, i'll get the guide ATC for under 30€ and stop overanalyzing things.
    – Neltitekno
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 6:29

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