You are hereRock Climbing Techniques Explained / Rescue Skills For Climbers and Mountaineers

Rescue Skills For Climbers and Mountaineers

Ropework and Self Rescue for Climbers and Mountaineers

'Two pitches later, moving slowly to accommodate the speed of the pair climbing in front of us I am belayed in a chimney of what looks like rubble glued together with cement. In front of me the amphitheater that makes up the final pitch swoops away to the left with the stomach churning exposure of Wen Zawn falling away below it. "What happens if I fall? Where will I end up?" I check that my prussik loops are still attached to my harness but would I know how to use them dangling in space 40 metres above the sea?'

This is a subject most of us do not wish to think about too often, as it would spoil our enjoyment of our (safe ish?) activities on the crags and mountains.

All too often though when accidents happen we are not prepared enough.

Here are some guidelines as to what you may wish to practice before embarking on a big sea cliff climb, alpine mountaineering route or big wall climb.

We will be looking at some essentials here such as First Aid and technical ropework skills that will facilitate escape from tricky situations that could develop.

Prussik knots or autoblock  - ( autobloquant )

Learn to prussik it may save your life, or a friends.


A short loop of dynamic rope tied off with a double fisherman's knot that is wrapped around a rope of a greater diameter. This loop is then used as a sliding clutch/ break on the rope. There are several variations to learn for specific tasks.

Very lightweight and should be carried at all times on the harness.


Ascending a hanging rope (free)
Hoists (person or gear)
Crevasse rescue (in place ready for use)
Passing knots (and bypassing knots in ropes)
Descending ropes without abseiling




There are mechanical devices that do similar tasks but they weigh in heavy:
Wild Country Ropeman (pictured)
Petzl Shunt
Petzl Ascender
Petzl Tibloc



Often you can improvise a prussik with other rock climbing kit like Kevlar/ Dyneema slings, even the thick tape slings of yesteryear can be used effectively.

Even 2 small nuts on wire can be woven together to form a suitable prussik if you are desperate!

There are several types of prussik knot, the french prussik, klemheist and variations on thes including carrabiners etc.

If you intend to teach yourself rescue skills be careful, these knots can slip if tied badly and they will melt on the rope, if this is your only attachment it could prove serious!

Courses are available where you can learn from experienced instructors in a safe environment.

Comments welcome!



Climbing, forums, buy gear, find out about rock climbing holidays courses,
mountainwalking, mountain climbing, multi-pitch climbing, alpinism,
charity abseils, climbing holidays, rock climbing vacations,
abseiling, extreme location filming, rock climbing courses, rockclimbing,
bouldering, coaching and lessons, uk climbing, absailing,
sea cliff climbing, climbing lessons, rockclimbing
lessons, charity abseils, mountaineering lessons, derbyshire climbing,
derbyshire abseiling, climbing tuition and instruction,
ropes course, peak district climbing, peak district abseiling, navigation
lessons, gps, rope skills,charity events, zip slides,
lead climbing, trad climbing, lake district climbing,wales
climbing, 3 peaks and the three peaks, climb snowdon, climb ben nevis,
climb scafel pike, aala, climbing equipment, gear manufacturers,
gorge climbing, scrambling, climbing clubs, climbing
books,jargon, forums, wiki, gear shops, reviews, outdoor equipment,
gifts, helmets, harness's, dmm, petzl, black diamond, troll, wild country,
rucksacks, backpacks, lead climbing gear, indoor walls, climbing holds