Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Quick Prusik

The standard method for making the Prusik in literature is to wind a loop on a straight rope; this represents a cumbersome reeving method with definite downsides.  It takes longer and the coils of the loop tend to twist.  In other words, there's significantly more dressing of the knot.  This is effort that interrupts the fluidity of the ascent on rope.  Skilled climbing is about embedding your knot skill, which allows your focus to shift into judging the next step - not fiddling with rope kinks.  Would you like to tie a Prusik in less than 10 seconds?

What follows reveals two secrets of advanced knot tying.  Tying bight on bight is key to rapid knot tying. Secondly, how ropes are held in the opening step of knot tying is vitally important.

For the Prusik, start with this initial hold - in the above illustration.  The thicker rope is your climbing rope.  The thinner rope is a loop formed by a double fisherman's knot.  Notice the absence of straight lines.  Gravity forms this tremendously beneficial shape called the bight.  The bight of the loop intersects the bight of the climbing rope.  It's a powerful tying position, not explained in the standard literature.

The double fisherman's knot is used as a handle and wound around the climbing rope.  This step also positions this bulky knot out of the way.

Note that the effort is made to form the top three wraps or coils.  They're held in an organized fashion.  The winding below the double fisherman's knot is allowed to flow down the rope.  Effectively these wraps are ignored during this stage.  They become organized in the next step.

Here's the key configuration that aligns everything. It's formed by pulling the two bights of rope in opposite directions.  For example, hold the climbing rope bight in your left hand and the loop in your right hand.  Then pull your hands apart.  The Prusik coil which wraps both climbing strands is called the bridge.  Keep it positioned at the bottom during your pull.
When you straighten your climbing rope, the Prusik snaps into place.  This all happens in less than 10 seconds once the steps are practiced.

This Youtube video will help you:

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