So one of the greatest things about climbing SRT is the ability to ascend very easily and efficiently with the use of simple tools like hand ascenders, foot ascenders, or a HAAS device. Obviously this tree gear is a bit daunting at first but with proper training and information your system can be quickly streamlined into a super ascending system!
First off, one of the most simple ascending systems is a foot ascender and your lanyard. Putting your lanyard over your shoulder and attaching it to your rope wrench, your lanyard will easily pull your rope wrenchup the rope as you ascend. By just attaching the foot ascender to your rope and tossing your lanyard over your shoulder, you can pretty much sit and stand all the way to your work. This method works great for shorter ascents and for the more athletic a large ascent is easily attainable.
For some climbers, ascending with a just a foot ascender works really well but for others gripping just a single leg of rope tends to be tiring for their hands. So they add a hand ascender with a foot loop to maximize both legs while ascending. The hand ascender attaches to the rope above your rope wrench and the long foot loop reaches all the way to the opposite foot as your foot ascender. One foot will step up with the foot ascender and as the opposite foot raises the hand ascender is pushed up. There is a bit of a learning curve to this method as the rhythm has to be in tune to easily ascend up the rope.
For those climbers looking for the maximum amount of efficiency and the easiest way into the tree, the HAAS system is exactly what you are looking for. The HAAS (Haul Ass Ascent System) is just an ascender with a length of tubing spliced into a piece of cordage with a foot loop on the end. A piece of elastic is ran through the tubing and attaches to your harness or micro pulley by means of a boat snap. Newer versions of the HAAS are compatible with the new ArbPro Clip’n Step boots as well. The boots have an integrated loop on the top of the foot. This loop attaches via carabiner to the new HAAS to alleviate the need for a bulky foot loop.
So the HAAS attaches to the rope under your rope wrench and above your foot ascender. This is technically called a knee ascender because of its location which is directly next to or slightly above the knee. The foot loop attaches to the opposite foot as your foot ascender and the elastic bungee attaches to various places such as your micro pulley, the bridge of your harness, or even a side “D” ring.
All the climber needs to do is attach both ascenders to the rope, toss their lanyard over their shoulder and attach the bungee to themselves. Now as they take each step the ascenders should easily move upward advancing up the rope. The foot ascender will hold the rope taut while the bungee pulls the HAAS up the rope. Now every bit of upward movement on the rope is caught by an ascender making your ascent super easy and super efficient. The only work your arms need to do is balancing yourself in an upright position!
The biggest thing to keep in mind to maintain an efficient ascent is to keep your back completely parallel with the rope. The straighter your spine the more efficient you will be and the more efficient you are the longer you can work.
Try out some of these techniques low and slow first and then take them into the field and see how well they work for you. I can guarantee you will be able to work longer now and in the future of your career with these great techniques for getting into a tree.
As a note, I mention the use of a rope wrench in the blog post. This isn’t the absolute when it comes to SRT devices. Some other devices include the Rope Runner, Hitch Hiker, Petzl Rig, ISC D4, and others.