The RP240 Ultrasafe Hand Ascender from ISC is a professional ascender suitable for tree care operations. It is heavier because the ultrathin frame on most ascenders has been replaced by a thicker and more solid frame. This makes movement around limbs and branches safer than standard ascenders as there are no sharp angles to create issues when the ascent line is not running perfectly vertically through the ascender.
Height: 8 1/2"
Thickness: 1 1/6"
Weight: 12.7 oz
Rope diameter range: 9mm - 13mm
Body material: Aluminium
In the past 10 years, SRT access for tree work has become increasingly utilized as a method for efficient ascent for professional arborists worldwide. Arborists have borrowed heavily from other rope access disciplines for both applicable SRT techniques and requisite equipment for this function. While much of the equipment utilized for SRT access can be modified to fit the needs of professional arborists, it is clear that the need for arborists to “work laterally” off of their SRT systems and the inherent three dimensional work environment of tree work brings about the need for arbor-centric SRT equipment for increased safety.
Many of the ascenders being used by arborists have come from the recreational sport climbing discipline where weight is considered one of the most important features. Ascenders are used mainly to quickly ascend fixed lines on longer routes and therefore lateral movement is minimal. The attachment points for these ascenders are generally meant for carabiners as the slimmer design can greatly reduce overall weight. As most SRT access techniques require the use of 2 ascenders, the need for any single ascender to be able to hold significantly more than the forces that a climber can generate is often moot.
In Arboriculture, climbers need the ability to work in 3 dimensions with their SRT equipment and often climbers will be in a position where falling or flaking debris can work its way into the equipment. Movement around branches often requires lateral movement as well as often putting SRT equipment in direct contact with obstacles which can affect overall ascender performance. Due to the inherent inconsistency of the work environment for arborists the ability to perform self-rescue or aerial rescue operations is paramount when choosing gear. Climbers can often be in a position where they must place full weight and force on any given piece of equipment or even potentially use a single piece of equipment for multiple climbers.
The ISC RP240 and RP230 Ultrasafe Hand Ascenders are uniquely designed to fit the needs of professional Arborists as they utilize SRT techniques for ascent and work positioning. When I first saw these ascenders I was not immediately impressed as I was viewing them from a rock climbing perspective and not in terms of arboriculture. The first noticeable difference with The RP240 is that it is considerably heavier than most readily available hand ascenders. This weight difference is due to the fact that the ultrathin frame on most ascenders has been replaced by a much thicker and more solid frame. The attachment points on the RP240 are both carabiner friendly AND webbing or cordage friendly. The thicker frame on the RP240 makes movement around limbs and branches considerably nicer than standard ascenders as there are no sharp angles to create issues when the ascent line is not running perfectly vertically through the Ascender.
Another issue for arborists as they work a tree is that branches can often hit the cam release lever which can allow a standard ascender to rotate off the line very easily. The ISC RP240 has a safety pin which inhibits the cam release lever from opening accidentally, thereby greatly increasing the overall safety of the ascender during use for arboriculture. The top attachment points on the RP240 allows for easy and safe back up in situations where 1 single ascender is being used for ascent or work positioning.
Perhaps the greatest attribute of the ISC RP240 is the fact that the ascender is designed to hold the weight and forces of TWO climbers in cases where an Aerial Rescue is required and the gear options are limited. In my view, this feature alone makes using the RP240 for arboricultural purposes a much smarter move than using any other ascender.
As professional Arborists continue to adopt SRT systems into their everyday work practices it is extremely important to utilize equipment that is designed for the particular dangers that arise from this type of work. The ISC RP240 Ultrasafe Hand Ascenders are uniquely designed to be the safest and most versatile Ascenders for use in the Arboricultural industry.