Climbing,  Essential Rope Knots

Prusik Knot  

The Prusik Knot is a type of friction hitch used to attach a rope to another rope or to an object, such as a carabiner. It’s a versatile knot that can be used for ascending, descending, or traversing a rope, and it’s commonly used in climbing, caving, and rescue operations. It slides when not weighted along a tight rope but jams solidly at the moment of loading.

In climbing, the Prusik Knot is often used as a backup safety system for belaying, as it allows the climber to be attached to the rope at all times. It can also be used for self-rescue, by attaching the Prusik Knot to the rope and sliding it up or down to move towards or away from a difficult section.

In rescue operations, the Prusik Knot is commonly used to create a mechanical advantage system, which allows rescuers to lift or lower heavy loads with minimal effort. The Prusik Knot is also used as a back-up system, in case the primary system fails.

Materials Needed:

  • A primary rope (larger diameter)
  • A smaller diameter rope or cord for the Prusik loops (at least 6-8 inches long, depending on the thickness of the primary rope)


  1. Form the Loop: Take the smaller diameter rope and form a loop by crossing the ends over each other. Ensure there’s enough length in the loop to work with.
  2. Wrap the Loop Around the Main Rope: Take the loop and pass it behind the primary rope.
  3. Create the Wraps: Bring the loop back over the primary rope, creating wraps or coils. Aim for at least three wraps, but more can be added for increased grip and security.
  4. Feed the End through the Loop: Take the working end of the loop and pass it through the original loop you created. This will create a girth hitch around the main rope.
  5. Tighten the Knot: Begin tightening the Prusik knot by pulling the standing part of the loop and the ends of the smaller rope simultaneously. Ensure the wraps are snug against the primary rope.
  6. Test the Knot: Before using the Prusik knot for weight-bearing purposes, always test its security and make sure it grips the main rope tightly.


  • Ensure the wraps are parallel to each other and neat to maximize the friction against the primary rope.
  • The Prusik knot should slide easily along the main rope when unloaded but should grip firmly when weighted.

Practice tying the knot a few times to get comfortable with the technique. It’s an essential knot in various outdoor and rescue scenarios due to its reliability and adjustability.

Prusik Knot  is also known as a Lark’s Head – Cow hitch done twice.

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