The prusik (fig. 6-23) requires a few wraps of a light accessory cord around the climbing rope, and it's ready to go to work. The cord is usually a loop (sling) of 5-millimeter to 7-millimeter perlon, wrapped two or three times around the rope. Icy ropes or heavy loads require more wraps than dry ropes or light loads. The accessory cord must be smaller in diameter than the climbing rope, and the greater the difference in diameter, the better it grips. Webbing isn't used for prusik knots because it may not hold.
By attaching two slings to a climbing rope with prusik knots, you can "walk" up the rope. To do this, stand in one sling and take all your weight off the other; now you can slide that knot 1 foot or so up the rope. Then transfer your weight to the second sling, and slide the first sling another foot up the rope. Keep repeating the process and you'll slowly but steadily ascend the rope. (Chapter 13
describes this process in detail as it is used in getting out of a crevasse.) The knot is also used to help in raising and lowering people and equipment during rescues.
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