In my last post I gave a short list of things to have. I also gave some reasoning on this list, however I was trying to not get too lost in the details. This chapter is probably well known for most of you, but I think it's important to make things clear, and it is a good opportunity to explain some of the main reasoning for why our gear looks as it looks.



Tear your gear to pieces 

All the carabiners, webbing, prusik, ... everything. It will be much easier to do things if you start with a clean plate (I do this every time I put my gear on). 

Keeping gear detachable gives you much more room when you're in a complicated situation. 


You should be able to detach:


Set up your central carabiner


The central carabiner must be oriented so that it locks from right to left. First attach the chest ascender. It opens to the right so you should have NOTHING on the right side of the chest ascender.


After the chest ascender, attach the cow's tail so that it will be on the left side of the chest ascender.


Get your harness on and fix it with the central carabiner.

Set up for descent


Attach your descender with a locking oval carabiner to the central carabiner. The descender can be on either side of the cow's tail. I prefer the gate of the oval carabiner to face the caver, so that the caver will always see and check if the gate is locked before rappel.


Set up for ascent


  1. Attach the hand ascender to the long cow's tail's carabiner.
  2. I recommend fixing the foot loop at your ankle to your left foot by using a section from a car inner tube. Attach the foot loop's carabiner to the hand ascender. By fixing the foot-loop to your ankle it will free you from ever having to search for the foot-loop again. This also teaches you how not to get tangled up in your foot-loop and long cow's tail.
  3. Put the chest harness on.
  4. Put your foot ascender on (if you have one).


Put on accessories


Just put on everything left in your vertical gear bag, such as prusiks, wrench, pulley, ...