Passing the knot

On a long pitch, you may want to tie two or more ropes together to permit a long uninterrupted descent for the injured person. As the knot approaches the lowering device (the doubled carabiner brake), it's necessary to stop lowering and perform a careful procedure to pass the knot safely through the device (fig. 17-5). Otherwise, the knot would jam.

It usually takes two people to carry out this procedure. Stop the descent when the knot gets to within 2 or 3 feet of the braking device. One person holds the lowering rope while the other attaches a prusik sling to the rope just below the brake, and then wraps this sling several times around one side of a carabiner that is anchored above the brake. (You can also connect to this carabiner \yith a Miinter hitch if you wish.) The second person holds tight to the loose end of the sling while the first person gently eases the load onto the prusik by slacking off the lowering rope. The first person then passes the knot through the braking system one brake at a time: the upper brake is disassembled, the knot brought through, and the brake reassembled; then the same procedure follows with the bottom brake.

Once the knot has been passed through the entire system and the brakes are reset, the second person loosens the hold on the sling that is wrapped around the carabiner (or connected with a Miinter hitch). This allows the load to slowly transfer back to the lowering rope, so the descent can continue. (The prusik sling must be long enough to allow for the slack introduced into the system when passing the knot.)

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