25. Ascending Fixed Lines

In this video we look at how to ascend fixed lines. Sometimes, ascending steep snow via fixed lines is an efficient and safe method of travel.

This technique is used in many disciplines, across the spectrum of alpinism and mountaineering, as well as in rock climbing on big walls.

There are many methods to attach the ascender to your harness. Below are the steps for one convenient and safe method:

Step 1: Girth-hitch a sling or runner into your tie in points on the harness.

Step 2: Clip a locking carabiner in the other end of the sling or runner, and attach that locker onto an ascender.

You can also clip a second locker onto the runner, so you have something to clip in with at transitions or anchors, while still attached to the ascender on the rope.

Step 3: Clip the ascender onto the fixed line and push it along the rope, keeping it above you. You may need to pull the rope through the bottom of the jumar if it won’t slide easily up the rope. If you fall, the teeth will bite and catch you.

As an added safety measure, you can clip a carabiner into the top hole of the ascender to keep the jumar from coming off the rope.

You will probably have an ice axe in your other hand so climb as usual, while using the fixed line as a backup or “self belay”.

We hope you found this video helpful. Feel free to comment below with questions or thoughts!


Please remember, climbing is inherently dangerous. Climb at your own risk.