Rope Skills & Rescues #2: How To Pass A Knot

Ideas by Chris, words by Anne

 All photos on this post were taken by Jenny Brindle on our Rope Skills & Rescues Masterclass on 18th May 2017

The first post in this series showed how to escape the system. If you find yourself needing to lower your second off, due to injury or not being able to get up the climb, you might need to tie two ropes together to make 100m of rope – enough to lower someone to the ground on most crags in the UK. You'll then need to pass the knot around the belay device - here's how to do it

We tied a knot in our rope to represent tying two ropes together. In the first three photos, the knot is below the photo.

1. Escape the system

Follow the steps in Rope Skills & Rescues #1: Escaping the System, and then safeguard yourself with a sling used as a cow’s tail. Untie the rope from your harness and take the rope out of the anchors. Remove the sling and prusik.

2. Tie a French prusik round the live rope.

12. Passing a knot to lower casualty down 1 rs.jpg

3. Bypass the Italian hitch

Attach a short sling from the prusik to a separate krab on the anchor.

13. Passing a knot to lower casualty down 2 rs.jpg

4. Lower to the knot

Untie the Italian hitch, and lower to the knot whilst releasing the prusik. As the knot comes close to the Italian hitch, allow some load to go on to the prusik.

16. Passing a knot to lower casualty down 5 rs.jpg

5. Load the prusik

The load is now all on the sling and the prusik.

17. Passing a knot to lower casualty down 6 rs.jpg

6. Back up the prusik

Take the dead rope and clip it into a separate krab on the anchor with a clove hitch.

7. Pass the knot

Undo the Italian hitch and take the rope out of the krab. Re-tie the Italian hitch with the knot in front of the krab. Tie off the rope in front of the krab. Take off the prusik back up. Release the prusik to reload the Italian hitch.

18. Passing a knot to lower casualty down 7 rs.jpg

8. Resume lowering

Take the prusik off the rope, and resume lowering the climber.

19. Passing a knot to lower casualty down 8 rs.jpg

With all these techniques it is a good idea to practice somewhere safe and without consequences, so that you will be confident if you have to use it for real.

Want to know more? Look out for our next Rope Skills & Rescues Masterclass