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How to make a prusik knot

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The prusik hitch may be pretty basic for many readers, but there are certain essential knots that every climber should know.

The American Alpine Institute has posted a great video illustrating the prusik knot.

Alpinists keep a variety of technical tools in their back-pockets. One of the most important tools is the prusik hitch. The prusik hitch is most commonly used for crevasse rescue systems on a glacier, for rock rescue systems, and for climbing fixed lines.

In addition to their stated uses, I would add that my two most common uses have been to back up a rappel and to ascend a rope after a sketchy (and usually ill-advised) rappel.

Trust me, make sure you learn it!

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  1. Nice link! A few years ago, we spent a couple days polishing our multi-pitch climbing with Exum in the Tetons. Mark and I were taught to carry a mid-size locking biner on our haul loops with three things on it. 1 – a length of cord tied for a prussic. 2 – a tibloc. And 3 – a small knife. Those four tiny items (incl the biner) are infinitely useful. Makes me want to carry them around in my purse too.

  2. Kate, that’s a great piece of advice. I also try to remember to carry a small knife on multi-pitch routes. There are just too many things that can go wrong that a small kit on a biner would solve.

    I almost always have a loop of cord for prusiks on my harness – and usually get funny looks…

  3. Do you know if they will be making videos for any other knots or hitches? Although I already know how to use a prusik, I thought this video was great for review with plenty of detail in the steps. Much easier than trying to learn knots from a book.

  4. If you only need to add a Prusik to a loose bight, this approach works well:

    As a recent project, this maps out the one handed techniques for knot tying. Here’s the clove as an example:

  5. Nice! Are you planning on adding additional knot tying demonstrations as they become available? Just wondering if I need to link to the AAI or come here…

  6. Eveything up to here is bull crap. I want to know how you make the LOOP by putting two ends of a segment of rope together. NOBODY tells you this, but instead every website goes to an already-made loop that you simply and easily coil around the main rope, which anybody with a double-digit IQ can do. The hard part is creating the coil, and every site I’ve visited ignores the most important aspect of the process.

  7. James – the “loop” is created typically using a double or triple fisherman’s knot. You can find instructions pretty much everywhere and it’s very simple to create.