UKC

How to pass a knot on an abseil

© Steve Long
As part of his UKC video series, Steve Long shows us how to pass a knot on an abseil.


Self Rescue for Climbers - Passing the Knot on an Abseil  © Steve Long
Self Rescue for Climbers - Passing the Knot on an Abseil
© Steve Long

Self Rescue for Climbers - Passing the Knot on an Abseil  © Steve Long
Self Rescue for Climbers - Passing the Knot on an Abseil
© Steve Long
This is a technique that's best avoided if you can get hold of a longer rope: I keep a 90 metre static rope stuffed in a caver's rope bag for bigger approach abseils. I hang the bag off my harness and just pull out a metre or two of rope at a time; thus protecting the rope if I knock off any blocks on the way down. If you find yourself having to abseil past a knot you will need to use skills that are best practiced a few inches above the ground rather than trying out for the first time above a yawning void.

Join the ropes with a knot that includes a fixed loop, allowing you to clip into the loop as a back up while you change over. Place the back-up prusik above the belay device and connected to the harness by a sling. The length is fairly critical because if the sling is too long, it's the devil's job to unfasten the prusik (because you can't reach it) once you've transferred from one rope to the next.

The routine is as follows; abseil to within half a metre of the joining knot, lock off the prusik and transfer your device to the other rope. Once transferred, lock off the abseil device and release the prusik. This may be quite difficult; if it's stubborn, use a second prusik to make a foot-loop. Step up using this to un-weight the jammed prusik and unclip/release it. The foot-loop prusik can then be attached to your harness leg loop as the new autobloc.



Self Rescue for Climbers DVD

Self Rescue for Climbers DVD

Aimed at recreational climbers, Self Rescue for Climbers is a comprehensive guide to solving problems encountered in such situations as multi pitching in the mountains, sea cliffs or roadside crags. The DVD's format enables the viewer to access relevant information quickly, providing a basic toolbox of techniques which can be applied in any situation.

With scenarios filmed on famous climbs in locations including Malham, Gogarth, the Llanberris Pass and Tremadog, Self Rescue for Climbers is not only 90 minutes of expert instruction, but also a stunning tribute to the possibilities available to the recreational climber in North Wales.

Buy here from www.safetysteve.co.uk



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4 Jul, 2011
This misses the obvious advice of trying to arrange the change over at a point where you can stand up. Something like American Beauty on Lundy is a classic example of where you can make life easy or make it hard.
4 Jul, 2011
Maybe they thought the title "How to pass a knot on an abseil where there isn't anywhere comfortable to stand or the knot isn't next to a ledge or the rock is overhanging or the abseil is into free space" was too long or then again they probably assumed everyone knew that anyway - like I did ;-) E
4 Jul, 2011
This article isn't complete without a link to the video of the guy getting it wrong at Malham!
4 Jul, 2011
Well done - have a smartie ! however its a an article for beginners and assuming knowledge on their behalf sort of defeats the object of the article.
4 Jul, 2011
God help a beginner who has to do that. Can't really think when I've had to do it in anger. Or escape the system. Or crevasse rescue. Or most of the tricks I've spent years teaching people how to do.
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