Friction Hitch or Double Rope Climbing

Study the illustration on the right. This is the setup for double rope climbing. Because the terminology is somewhat confusing, we will rename some of these things to make it easier to follow. The running part will be called the hanging part (since you are hanging on that part). The standing part we will refer to as the Hauling part since that is the part you haul on. The tail of rope that the Blake's Hitch is tied in will remain the bridge.

To climb, clip your locking carabiner between your saddle and the loop at the bottom of the Hanging part of the rope. Pull down on the Hauling part. When you do, you will shorten the Hanging part, raising yourself off the ground. Now slide the Blake's Hitch up the Hauling part to capture what progress you've made. That's it. Continue until you reach your anchor. That's how it's done in principle

It isn't quite as simple as it sounds, there is a definite technique involved to do this ascent properly. It works like this:

Limb

Running (Hanging) Part

Bridge

Figure 8 on a bight

Double Shunt Rope Haul

Backup knot

Saddle

Running (Hanging) Part

Bridge

Figure 8 on a bight

Limb

Standin (hauling) Part

Backup knot

Saddle

Friction Hitch

(1) First, put your feet on the trunk of the tree at about shoulder height. Grasp the rope just below the knot with your weak hand and put your strong hand just below your weak hand. (2) Thrust your hips upward at the same time that you throw your shoulders back and pull down on the hauling part of the rope. Thrusting your hips lessens the weight carried by the Hanging pail of the rope momentarily, resulting in upward progress. (3) You must then slide the knot up to capture that progress. This technique is called "body thrusting" and it is far easier than simply hauling yourself upward.

If you are unable to master this technique however, there are a couple of things that can make it easier. The simplest is to tie a klemheist (p. 41) or pmssick knot in a loop of 6 or 8 mm static cord on the Hauling rope below the Blake's Hitch and use it as a foot loop. When you step down on the loop it will pull down on the hauling part of the rope and you will ascend. The other method is to use a mechanical ascender with the foot loops attached from your single rope rig if you have one. The ascender is attached the same place as the Klemheist, but you have two foot loops to use and it is easier to attach and detach. The use of the large leg muscles makes ascending much more energy efficient although just a bit slower.

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Responses

  • Melanie Maurer
    How to attach the rope on a double rope for tree climbing?
    8 years ago
  • miranda button
    Can Blakes hitch be slid up the rope when climbing?
    8 years ago

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