Can you work srt with just a prussik??

I'm new to srt, but I'm wondering if you can work srt with just a prussik or do you have to have a rope wrench or added friction device while climbing srt?? Can someone advise me please??


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What Levi said.

The Wrench shares the friction of descent with the prusik, so that the prusik cord sees half the heat, and the wrench sees the other half. The prusik by itself on a single line would get burned up in hurry. Enjoy your SRTing. :)

Tom Dunlap

Here from the beginning
You could ascend just fine with a prusik or friction hitch. But, descending is problematic.

This is where one of several multi-cenders come in. They go up and down without changeovers.

Have you climbed using a multi-cender?
I ve never used a multicender and im only 140 lbs wet so descending isnt to hard on my prussik, because im as light as a booger but I'm definitely gonna have to get a wrench though and check out a multiscender, thank you guys for your input, and I did think about two prussiks on one line but how would that setup be??

Merle Nelson

Well-Known Member
Before I came on this site a couple of years ago I would choke a 1/2 inch pull rope on a tree and come down a single line with a prusik wrapped twice down and three times up. At about 250 to 270 with gear it worked but would jam up some. At 140 and gear you might get by in a pinch till you gear up.
Didn't know where else to post this... this thread seemed right.
So as long as you are doing only an ascent srt and intend on switching over to DdRT once reaching the TIP, going up with only a prusik is fine, yes?
I went up today with a footlocking prusik, foot ascender, and knee ascender. Reached the TIP. Put in the rings, worked the tree. Worked great.
The switch over wasn't too much fun though.
Could I just have used my hitch climber with closed e2e prusik, maybe advanced with a cheap hand tether? That way my hitch is at least already tied?
One day id like to just spend the change on the EQ and work the whole tree with a RW or something. But til then....

Merle Nelson

Well-Known Member
Speaking to the first part of your post, functionally it seems fine right? I'm a get the job done kind of person so it certainly does to me. The rub comes in, I believe, if you encounter an emergency situation where you must get down now - wasp nest, etc.


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While trying to work out the finer points of a ropewalking system, I decided to simplify the system so I could figure out each component without looking like a monkey trying to hump an anaconda. I would ascend with just a prusik and then put a D5 descender on the rope to get back down. The only issue that I know of when doing this is the very real possibility that the rope and hitch cord will glaze badly in the event that you slip.

For me, personally, the Distel hitch is the most reliable hitch, so that's what I used. Of course, it's not as fun to drag up the rope as a VT, but it's not as finicky and always grabs for me within a few inches. Believe me, I slipped enough times to appreciate such nuances. It's a very nice, middle of the road kind of hitch that isn't too terrible on ascent, but grabs very quickly. The VT offers a lot less drag on ascent, though. Unfortunetly, I use too many different ropes and hitch cords to be able to tie it reliably and quickly.

I used a pulley to tend the hitch, and a neck tether/bungee attached to the pulley. I can't think of any reason why you shouldn't do this, as long as you're not descending on the hitch without a carabiner/munter hitch for added friction. As @Merle Nelson said, you might want to practice getting a descender.. even if it's just a figure eight.. attached to the rope in a hurry. Sometimes, things just don't go right or Mr. Baldfaced Hornet drops by with his friends to have a little chat about trespassing.
I never trust just a knot to get me down. Always I back up with a munter and biner on my right leg loop or harness plate. You can also run the rope thru a rated ring and biner or even use something like a petzl shunt (better on double ropes though and watch your rope diameter compatibility).
Also everything is happy land until you hit a stretch of mossy goo/ leaves or ice in winter and then you can have a fast ride down. The munter seems for me to strip ice the best on freezing rope (on waterfall ice you'll have a white circle of rhime on your thigh when you're down). Two prussiks can just ice or even goo up (caving and mud) and you still go for a ride. Always back up. The munter takes all of 30 sec to set up, probably the same for a biner and ring. It's now just habit and the biner is permanent feature on my harness on the right leg. Don't leave home without it . . .


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@ghostice; Thanks for this post. I'm not sure whether I've ever read anyone post about the "biner and ring" setup before. I know it's a bit of trouble, but if you could post a photo of how that setup works I'd really appreciate it. I'll also understand if you just don't have the time.

It sounds like a really simple solution. Do you prefer it, or just the munter hitch on a biner?

Thanks in advance for any answers you choose to provide.



Well-Known Member
There are a few friction hitches that work by themselves that work similar to hitches on DdRT. As stated earlier, if you have to descend in a hurry you will need some thing else to help because the cord would glaze. But for work positioning and slow descends they work great. I've been climbing with one for a few years and have only glazed one cord. I recently got a Wrench so I could use other hitches and with the limited use on it so far, I prefer the hitch only option. It releases easier and is more compact.

Tim, I think ghostice is referring to using the ring as a stitch plate, put a bight of rope through the ring and clip it. It works similar to a tubular belay device.
Some breakfast thoughts this Sat morning: I favour the Munter on an asymetrical biner like rock exotica pirate.
For the ring setup, for example at 5:26 in the video see:

Diameter of ring you choose and shape of biner may influence friction you get (ring size smaller = more friction, biner "top" flatter = less friction?). I have found a ring requires a bit more "custodianship" with your control hand during descent/ rappel than the munter. Play with these a bit low and slow.
We had an epic one ice climb years ago where our route got "splutched" with a big flow of water, which promptly froze on the ropes - so much so we could hold out about five feet of rope horizontal - it was cable! - before we started setting up our 50-60 meter rappels. After much banging of the ropes to try and strip as much ice as we could, the munter successfully stripped the remaining ice/slop (maybe because of the multiple tight radius bends it puts in the rope???) and we got down alive (note: kiss the dirt and Give Much Thanks). On the other hand, I have spoken elsewhere on this forum about an experience with iced up prussiks and a fast trip down that opened my eyes to using a small prussik as a safety - on icey or gucky rope (silt, mossy muck etc.). Don't need that kind of excitement anymore. (I do still swear by a petzl shunt and an atc in alpine though).
Climb safe, develop a "system", know all it's strengths and weaknesses inside and out and do not deviate from it - ever. And don't be afraid ever to back off if unsure. Reg Coates has a great video wherein he talks about never doing an "F***-it cut" - the mindset he talks about is great advice. Same goes for "F***-it" rappels! Every one is an opportunity to meet your maker. All the best from the Great White North brother.

Edit: Further thought now - ring or sticht plate = one bend/ munter = complex multiple rope bends??? - my old sticht plate currently lies in the pile of "purchased but relegated devices of historical curiosity" - maybe I should drag it out again and play with it a bit more - thanks!
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