What's Jumar Climbing?




What's Jumar Climbing?

What’s Jumar Climbing?

Jumar climbing, also known as "jumaring" or "ascending," is a technique used in rock climbing and mountaineering to ascend a rope fixed to a vertical surface, like a rock face or an ice wall. 

The primary tool used in jumar climbing is the Jumar ascender, a mechanical device that is first attached to your climbing harness by a piece of webbing or sling then is clipped onto the rope and locked on. This allows you to move upward by applying pressure with your feet while simultaneously pulling the ascender up the rope with your hands. 

Ascenders are usually used in pairs, so that one is free to be slid up the rope while the other bears your weight. The ascender which has just been slid upwards to take the load, locks you to the rope, and frees the other ascender to be slid upward. The process is repeated to ascend the rope. The camming mechanism grips the rope when downward pressure is applied but slides freely when lifted.  

Jumar climbing is used in situations where you need to ascend a fixed rope quickly and efficiently, for instance, rescue operations, big wall climbing, or ascending fixed lines on steep alpine terrain.

While jumar climbing is an effective method for ascending fixed ropes, it requires proper technique and equipment to ensure safety. As a climber, you must be proficient in using the Jumar ascender and have a good understanding of rope management and self-rescue techniques. 

How & Where Can I Practice Jumar Climbing?

You’ll need access to a suitable vertical surface where you can safely set up a fixed rope. 

Some options for practicing Jumar climbing:

Indoor Climbing Gyms: many have walls with fixed ropes or lead climbing routes where you can practice Jumar climbing. Some gyms offer specific classes focused on ascending techniques using mechanical ascenders like Jumars.

Outdoor Climbing Areas: areas with fixed ropes or bolted routes are a great place to practice. Choose a location with suitable terrain and fixed ropes that are in good condition and anchored securely.

Mountaineering Schools: or outdoor education programs often include instruction on ascending techniques using mechanical ascenders. They provide structured guidance and practice opportunities.

Climbing Clubs: joining a climbing club can provide opportunities to learn and practice Jumar climbing techniques with experienced climbers. Clubs organize training sessions, workshops, or outdoor climbing trips where you can practice ascending fixed ropes.

Personal Practice: once you have the necessary equipment and skills, you can set up your own practice sessions on suitable vertical surfaces like a sturdy tree, a rock face, or even a tall building with permission and proper safety precautions.

Necessary equipment:

Jumar ascenders

Climbing harness


Climbing shoes

A suitable rope 

*Ensure you’ve received proper instruction on using the equipment and ascending techniques safely. 

The History of this Amazing Device:

The Jumar device is named after its inventor, Hans Jürgen Jumar, a German mountaineer and engineer. Jumar developed the mechanical ascender in the 1950s as a tool to aid in ascending fixed ropes during mountaineering expeditions. The device was designed to grip the rope securely when downward pressure was applied but slide freely when lifted, allowing climbers to ascend the rope efficiently while maintaining safety.

The device quickly gained popularity among climbers and mountaineers for its effectiveness and reliability in ascending fixed ropes. Over time, the term "Jumar" became widely used to refer to any mechanical ascender device, regardless of the specific brand or model. Today, Jumar climbing is synonymous with using mechanical ascenders to ascend fixed ropes in rock climbing, mountaineering, and rescues.

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