Several reasons I can think of for NOT using a mechanical ascender:
1. Ascenders are expensive.
2. Ascenders were not designed to be used in rigging haul systems for retreiving pinned canoes.
3. Ascenders take up more space, and are heavier than a couple of prusik loops.
4.During the haul; if the rope breaks below where the ascender/prusik is attached to the haul rope, and "fly back" occurs........which had you rather get hit with, a prusik, or an ascender. Yes, I know there are ways to weight the rope to stop/slowdown flyback.
5. If the ascender has teeth on it that grab the haul rope; after a while they will start to damage the sheath of the haul rope, especially if the ascender starts slipping.
6. A prusik that breaks can more easily be replaced than a broken ascender.
7. Ascenders have working parts; prusiks don't.
P.S. Anyone who is considering using a haul system to retrieve a canoe should learn how to do the Steve Thomas "rope trick" before they learn how to set up a Z drag, or some other haul system. May negate the necessity of setting up a haul system in some circumstances.
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