How to Climb Using Rope

How to Climb Using Rope
There are various ways to ascend a climbing rope and many reasons why a climber would do so. If a climber is unable to climb a difficult rock route, she might have to ascend the rope instead. At other times, climbers ascend ropes because it's faster than climbing a rock's face. There are many ways to ascend a rope, including using knots or mechanical ascenders. Here's how to ascend a rope using two friction knots called prusik knots.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Things You’ll Need:
  • Two pieces of 25-to-50-inch, 6-to-7mm climbing accessory cord Rope Etriers (ladder-like pieces of webbing that can be stepped in to ascend a rope)
  • Two pieces of 25-to-50-inch, 6-to-7mm climbing accessory cord
  • Rope
  • Etriers (ladder-like pieces of webbing that can be stepped in to ascend a rope)
Step 1
Tie the two ends of your cord together to create the loop of cord. Leave a 4- to 5-inch tail so you can tie a safety knot, either a fisherman's or double fisherman's knot.
Step 2
Pass the loop of cord behind a hanging rope that is anchored above you and hold either end in your two hands.
Step 3
Utilize the knotted end to begin looping the cord loop around the rope, making sure to loop it within the circle of cord.
Step 4
Wind the cord loop around the rope three times and then pull the knot through the other end of the cord loop, such that it cinches down the knot on the rope, creating a prusik.
Step 5
Clip a carabiner to the knotted end of the prusik that hangs down.
Step 6
Repeat this process below the first prusik with another loop of cord.
Step 7
Attach etriers to each of the prusiks using the carabiners.
Step 8
Step into the etriers attached to the lower prusik knot and push the upper prusik knot up the rope.
Step 9
Step into the etriers attached to the upper prusik that knot, and then push the lower knot and attached etriers up the rock. Repeat until you have ascended the rope.

Tips & Warnings

 
You can also create a prusik with a piece of webbing. The friction of the webbing against the rope tends to wear the webbing away quicker than it would a piece of cord., but in a pinch, webbing works as well. You can also use slung hexes as long as the cord is long enough.
 
Be careful with each step. If you tie one knot incorrectly or make a mistake wrapping the loop of cord around the rope, you could fall. Double check your knot-tying techniques with an expert before trying this on your own.

Article Written By Lizzy Scully

Lizzy Scully is a senior contributing editor for Mountain Flyer magazine and the executive director of the nonprofit Girls Education International. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from University of Utah and Master of Science in journalism from Utah State University.

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