Forms of fixed rope climbing

In climbing and mountaineering, a fixed-rope (or fixed-line) is the practice of fixing in-place anchored static ropes to assist following climbers (and porters) to ascend more rapidly—and with less effort—by using mechanical aid devices called ascenders. Fixed ropes also allow climbers (and porters) to descend rapidly using mechanical devices called descenders. Fixed ropes also help to identify the climbing route in periods of low visibility. The act of climbing up a fixed rope is also called jumaring, which is the name of a type of ascender device.[1]

Fixed ropes are usually put in place by the lead climbers, and may or may not be taken away when they are descending and finished the climbing route. While storms can strip a mountain of fixed ropes that have been left behind, the existence of old—and often unreliable and dangerous—fixed ropes along popular climbing routes, is a concern in climbing. On some popular American and European climbing routes, the fixed rope can be replaced by permanent metal cables, and these are called 'via ferrata' routes.[2]

Fixed ropes are deliberately not used in 'Alpine style' mountaineering as they are considered a form of aid climbing, although on big wall climbing routes, it is common for the non-lead climbers to ascend on fixed ropes to save time and effort. Guided climbing expeditions to the major Himalayan peaks such as the eight-thousanders, often set up extensive networks of fixed ropes on steep or icy sections of the route to help clients, and allow porters and sherpas move quickly along the route. For example, on the Hillary Step of Mount Everest, fixed rope was used to reduce the bottleneck of climbers that typically results from climbing this technical section just below the summit.

See also


  1. ^ "Fixed rope » Mountaineering Methodology". Archived from the original on 2015-11-20. Retrieved 2015-11-20.
  2. ^ "Fixed rope routes + climbing". Archived from the original on 2015-11-20. Retrieved 2015-11-20.