Tree Climbing: Ascending with Doubled Rope Technique

This videos illustrates one of the ascending techniques used in the Cornell Tree Climbing Institute's instructional classes. This information is not intended to be an online tutorial for beginners. Our intent is to share these general procedures with other qualified professionals who are interested in developing a college-based recreational tree climbing program. Tree climbing can be hazardous! If you are new to tree climbing, seek qualified instruction before attempting these techniques. CTCI does not advocate unsecured footlocking, as there is no connection to the rope. CTCI also does not advocate secured footlocking as there is no redundant connection to the rope. CTCI does not teach the double ascender method for the same reason. These styles are presented merely for the sake of comparison to the Blake's Hitch method, which we do use regularly.

Views: 358930
Runtime: 9:54
Comments: 121

Tags for this video:

Find more videos in the: "27"
Uploaded by:
See more videos uploaded by


Author Nilson Souza ( ago)
este é o cara

Author Kenneth Sizer ( ago)
Really useful stuff. Thanks for posting!

Author fourfortyroadrunner ( ago)
"This configuration is called a split-tail" LMFAO!!!!

Author Austin Eichhorn ( ago)
what knot did you tie in to your harness with

Author diego fernando gómez echeverri ( ago)
I have an arborist rope, but sometimes my Blake's hitch does not grab the
rope after I have descended for a while; I have always handled it but I
want to know if I am missing something about the Blake's knot.
Could you help me with this?
Great job, tanks!

Author Fabrice “SoLomonK” Demurger ( ago)
Good job, big thanks for this really learnfull sharing.

Author diego fernando gómez echeverri ( ago)
When using a Prusik, second method, the climber should keep the Prusik
below the limb at least five times the diameter of the limb in order to
avoid the failure of the knot due to the spread of the rope near the limb.
Excellent video, thanks a lot CornellTreeClimbing!

Author Mark McIntyre ( ago)
get a cambium saver ...

Author John jr Matyas ( ago)
How do I secure the line at the top for the double rope technique

Author snwman91 ( ago)
a friction saver would help by eliminating the bark damage.

Author Steven Thaw ( ago)
Prusik not prussik

Author Rodrigo Y Castro ( ago)

Author Ashleigh Kivilaakso ( ago)
Thank you for the calm laid back instruction and absence of music. Very
well done!

Author thorsmitersaw ( ago)
how do you get the rope up over the branch to begin with?

Author John Nicholson ( ago)
Your new ascender / descender gadget looks fantastic! Are these for sale? I
am a caver / potholer rather than a tree climber, but I do like some of the
things you guys do with two ropes when we make do with one.

Author pentachronic ( ago)
FYI the loop over the tree branch creates a 1:1 pulley. A 2:1 would
require another pulley (2ft pull of rope = 1ft raise). In your example a
1ft pull would raise 1ft. Ie a 1:1 pulley.

Also I don't see backups in your video. Typically there are 2 friction
hitches (prussik or ascenders count). Sometimes 3 if being super paranoid.

I would also suggest you show a non-pulley system that stops the damage to
the tree from rope friction burn. Dual ascender jugs + a dualcender device
or double prussik. Also show a frog system - it's way more efficient.
This non-pulley basically has a stationary loop over the branch.

Author Dstrukt2k2 ( ago)
No cambium saver on that limb? Sycamores don't have very thick bark on the
limbs and younger wood, it's more of a paper, you can do some serious
damage to the cambium layer doing what you're doing. For teaching tree
climbing practices you should also teach tree protection practices. 

Author adam slessor ( ago)
just look up arborist vids on how to climb trees this was painful to

Author Human Patterning ( ago)
Non of the methods you showed had redundancy?! Unless you use the second
positioning rope from the ground up

Author Ian VanDeventer ( ago)
Are there any techniques that keep the rope stationary? It seems like
running the rope over the branch could cause harm to the tree, or worse
wear the hell out of your rope!

Author LCHLLO2008 ( ago)
very helpful ,thanks :) 

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
Good question! I'm not sure yet, but Spring 2014 in California is likely.

Author WuTangghost0007 ( ago)
Where is the next Trip to?

Author WuTangghost0007 ( ago)
Where is the next Trip to?

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
Yes, the correct rope is critical. Arborist's ropes are made with a
specific "hand" that allows these friction knots to function. There are
other concerns, too. Hardware store rope may not be strength rated for life
support. It may be made of the wrong material - with a low melting point.
And any rope you acquired in the 70's should probably be chopped up into
dog leashes!

Author loki1066 ( ago)
Oh and the '70's climbing wall rope is sort of spiral wound and has no
sheath..... It's very hard on the hands. But my placement line ,made from a
Duracell battery with a loop on it worked a treat!

Author loki1066 ( ago)
Tried this the other day using a footloop and a loop connected to my
harness and the following happened.. I spun round and round and the blakes
hitch jammed solid every time. Admittedly I was using some horrible
climbing rope that I got from a climbing wall in the '70's .... And some
new rope from a hardware store (not proper climbing rope) . Could these
factors have caused my abject failure and woul it be a good idea to buy
some climbing rope? Thanks in anticipation for your advice.

Author james bingham ( ago)
fair enough mate you win. videos are wicked use full and all by the way

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
German 'u' is not pronounced like the English 'u', but more like the 'oo'
in 'loose' (or the occasional long 'u,' as in 'dude'). This knot is
commonly pronounced "PrUHsik" in English, but "Proosik" is how it would be
pronounced in German.

Author james bingham ( ago)
mate its a prusik not proosik 

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
Interesting...I have been climbing this way for a long slices

Author m4rr1y ( ago)
One thing that gets me in this video is the guy that keeps wrapping the
rope around his hands, to me that's a no no as slicing your hand is painful

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
Search for Cornell Tree Climbing on the web. We'd be happy to host you for
a lesson.

Author Garry Ramos ( ago)
were can i learn this? give me your business number. I would like to learn
rope climbing. 

Author Jeoffrey Reig ( ago)

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
Yes, we do! I was climbing with a group recently while a conference of city
employees was going by. Every fire, rescue, highway guy that went past
looked like they would much rather spend the day with us than sitting in
their HR seminars...

Author logan rash ( ago)
You guys must catch some interesting looks when you do this. 

Author chase gibboney ( ago)
never mind i found them thanks for your help

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
Search for "Unicender"

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
Rock Exotica makes them now. You can get one at Sherrilltree.

Author chase gibboney ( ago)
were could i get a uni sender or r they not for sale

Author Jim Howe ( ago)
Nice video. I like the micro pulley on the standing side of the system to
auto feed other side. Will help going up and down limb walking. I use a
valdotain tresse on the friction hitch side on a split tail side to side
instead of my bridge coming back to the center of my harness. Can bend over
frontwards through the system for mobility in hand pruning and the tresse
doesn't focus all the heat onto the bottom wrap like the Blake's. So you
can repel easier without burning the split tail.

Author Naomi Menslage ( ago)
make a rappell harness/swiss seat, make sure it is large rope and you do it

Author Shaun Faber ( ago)
great vid! helps me alot!!! thx!! 

Author Powershowerable12324 ( ago)
so i lock myself on with the figure 8 and its quite safe

Author Powershowerable12324 ( ago)
i use the one foot locking method with a figure 8 decsender but i use a
noose to lock on the tree and go up with the rope not doubled over :)

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
We had planned to do another separate video on all the low-impact
practices, ground to crown. Of course in practice we use tube style or
false crotch style protection on all points at which the rope runs over the
bark. I think the raw footage is around somewhere...maybe I can get one of
the staff to put it together.

Author Wind .Chaser ( ago)
Hi guy! Have three questions for you .Will be great if U can help. 1.u use
micro-pulley to tend to the Blake hitch,don't u? Just wonder if I add
Rope-man with short foot loop---will there be any improvisation to
spontaneously move the Rope-man with my ascension? 2. Have u ever test the
Spider jack? with double -rope technique Is it better than the uni-cender ?
3.How about the Spider jack with SRT? How does it perform?

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
What about this gear?

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
Not safely!

Author ellie todd ( ago)
could u do this without a harniss?

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
Yep. Ours are Buckingham, but they're the same...

Author Paig jr Rounseville ( ago)
thanks dude is the petzl treesbee ok

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
Sure - it would work well enough that way.

Author Paig jr Rounseville ( ago)
will the double asender technique work good with a false crotch friction

Author Beefpoweredcars ( ago)
Excuses excuses.

Author ajriveraruiz ( ago)
@2:00-2:30 You SOUND like Nick Swardson from Pretend Time in an episode
about a sexy voice radio man talking about a disaster that was happening on
a highway HAHA good job mate

Author TheParsi1 ( ago)
good lad

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
@Zombiemage2 We hold classes locally in Ithaca on our land, the
University's land, and some city properties every so often. We hold
expedition courses in Costa Rica and in California. We also travel to offer
lessons to groups in their own groves.

Author Zombiemage2 ( ago)
@CornellTreeClimbing where do you hold classes at?

Author william o halloran ( ago)
For those of us aspiring to be monkeys!

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
@Spartreeman A good point for Arborists, but there aren't any rules for
Recreational tree climbing, except possibly the GOTC recommendations to
AEE. For arborists, triple lockers are a very good idea, as they are busy
with other things. Triple lockers are also nice for recreational purposes,
but plain old screw gates are sufficient. Where we cannot keep an eye on
the lockers, we use two screw gates. Also, we girth hitch our ascenders so
there is no need for a carabiner at that point. 

Author G1C ( ago)
@CornellTreeClimbing Thanks I thought it was a blakes hitch but wernt to
sure from that angle I tried the set up this year at the APF show in the uk
and decided it wernt for me at the time But know ive seen it again im going
to give it ago Thanks again and i love all your videos ive been having a
good look threw them all and pick up a few things 

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
@Gauge1channel The knot on the left in the orange rope at 6.04 is a Blake's
Hitch. You can use any number of friction hitches in place of the Blake's
Hitch, although some are better than others. A prussik knot, for example,
could be used in place of the orange rope, but it would be slower going up
and downright irritating going down.

Author G1C ( ago)
Hi at 6.04 What is that knot on the left hand side the orange one as i
would like to try this system Could it always work on a plussiks and a
blacks hitch I was to use that insted of the orange knot Thanks 

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
@zeynoleary Thanks for the kind words! I have confidence that our methods
are safe. We've had an excellent safety record to this point. No
climbing-related injuries at all in countless lessons, both domestically
and internationally.

Author Zeus Omally ( ago)
Hi, Thanks for these videos. I am a beginning tree climber and it is really
great to see all of these techniques demonstrated. I disagree with some of
the other posts in this forum who complain about the demonstration of
unsafe/unrecommended techniques. It is important to know the DOS as well as
the DO NOTS and I believe doing so actually creates greater safety
awareness. Keep up the good work!

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
@TheLivingston2 Thanks! The knot that David tied in with on the red rope
was a clove hitch. The advantage of the clove hitch is that it is easily
adjustable. This is pretty handy as the length of the connection between
your harness and the friction knot affects your efficiency. In this mode
the clove hitch isn't likely to slip too much, but you could also use a
figure eight on a bight if you experienced that problem.

Author Dan Livingston ( ago)
The best tree climbing videos out there! Thank you. One question on this
video, right before you talk about how to tie the Blake's hitch he ties
into his harness with a knot that i would like to use, what is it called
and can you talk about how to tie it? thanks again

Author thekc45 ( ago)
Kudos for posting this video! I looked, this up because 35 years ago
someone had shown me how to make some of these knots for tree climbing ,
and over the years I have forgotton them. It was a blast from the past to
have seen these again! If you look at every tree climber site or mountian
climbing site there is always someone who knows how to do it better or
safer, and does'nt understand everyone is not using it as a training video.
Why don't all of you go make a training video!!!! THANK YOU!!

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
@totaratree99 Actually, we just presented unsecured footlocking as a
curiosity piece. We don't teach that in our courses. We also don't teach
secured foot locking, although with this type of static rope and prussik it
is very hard to knock it down. I think I should have said that more
explicitly in the video - I think I might have said something like "not
very safe".

Author totaratree99 ( ago)
Hi. sorry but you are promoting unsafe techniques. Unsecured footlocking,
secured footlocking with a short prussik, don't you know that you should
never hold above the friction hitch. You don't even back-up your ascenders.
Many falls have resulted from these bad practices. Please don't teach tree
climbing or at least get some training yourselves from a qualified
professional. Hope you don't mind but I may use this vid and some of your
others for training purposes "spot the bad practice".

Author totaratree99 ( ago)
Hi. nice vids. However you are promoting some unsafe pratices (and I'm only
halfway through this vid). Unsecured footlocking - my goodness, ididn't
want to watch. Then the secured footlock the prussik is so short! Do you
not know that a climber should never put his/her hands above the prussik.
Then your ascenders are not backed up. Many falls have occured through
using the above methods. Please stick to mountain biking and cross country

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
@wollmamaguckn Good observation. We use a total of four branch protection
methods: the conduit style friction saver, the leather style friction
saver, false crotches or various types and cloth padding. We intended to do
another video series on Minimum Impact, but haven't gotten around to it
yet. It is very very important, especially on thin barked trees. That was
the point we were making at the end of this video.

Author L Balisky ( ago)
basejump I hate to break the news to you, but the majority of trees in this
world are climbed by folks in flip flops. I use to think I could climb a
tree fairly well... then I paid a kid ($0.10) to get me a coconut and
marveled at his unaided technique at literally running up the tree.

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
@basejump911 Wow - That's quite an indictment. As I've said many times
before, we are not Arborists. We don't cut / trim / anything or climb trees
with obvious hazards. In years of climbing we have had no foot related
incidents or injuries. If you would like to discuss our methods further, I
suggest you contact us directly.

Author Aizko Laritza ( ago)
@trepaarboles I'd go a bit farther and say that the single prussik method
with footlocking although very fast, is not one we recommend for
recreational tree climbing. We always climb with more than one connection
to the rope. In that case, where you put your hands is irrelevant. Even
with one prussik, our 5mm cord on a static line is very difficult to knock

Author trepaarboles ( ago)
Never put a hand above the friction hitch. In competitions you'll get DQ
and in a panic situtation you can grapbon to the hitch from above and make
it release and go DOWN.

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
@danthelambboy Sure. There are many arborist climbing ropes available.
There are differences and everyone has their favorite, of course. We use
New England Ropes Safety Blue for our climbing lines, and Safety Blue
Hi-Vee (the orange and white mix) for the split tails.

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
@uyuni123 We really don't use the twin ascender method at all. The weakness
is as you point out - There is no backup for a single cam failure. You can
tie the ends of the rope off, but then you've eliminated the possibility of
using the doubled rope mode. Another problem is that the ends of the rope
can easily become different lengths, creating the possibility of rappelling
off the end of the rope!

Author uyuni123 ( ago)
assuming you dont have a knot at the top of the climb (ie the rope is just
slung over a branch) what safegaurds do you use in case one of the ascender
cams fails during the double rope technique? Any way to incorporate the
full circle rig or do you have to just tie both ends to the base of the
tree I've read of accidents in which twigs jammed up a cam and down they

Author jean-paul Merland ( ago)
c'est la technique de chez Hévéa France cela fait presque 10 ans que cela
existe mais en France ils mettent fausse-fourche du sol (abime pas l'arbre)
et la main au dessu du noeud (malade même si le noeud bloque bien ) de plus
un noeud sur deux brins sans contre assurer faudrait pas dans la montée se
tromper et ne prendre qu'un brin !! descendrais bien vite. ce n'est pas une
critique mais un constat entre grimpeur tu sais bien la communication est
indispensable à bientôt.

Author jean-paul Merland ( ago)
c'est vraiment dommage d'abimer un arbre juste pour montrer ce qu'on ne
doit pas faire?? (désinformation) montrer tout de suite la bonne technique.
bien à vous et que vive les arbres !!

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
We do use cambium saving devices - see our other videos. Part of the point
of this video was to show how easy it is to damage a tree. We'll post
another video on minimum impact. As for the hand above the prussik issue,
our 5 or 6mm prussiks lock up so? hard on the climbing rope that if would
be very difficult to knock it down accidentally. In any case, we don't use
the single prussik or doubled ascenders method in class because, as you
point out, there is only one connection to the rope.

Author sdriby ( ago)
Sorry, but it's really bad what you showing in this video, no cambium
saver, one hand above the prussik knot, not locking rope and no back up on
the petzl ascender (really dangerous), doesn't matter if you make different
and safer during the working days, but looking at this this video many
beginners can think that this is right!!!!if you wanna show something like
this you MUST be perfect and professional, you're giving a bad message,

Author YotaLizard ( ago)
That's really cool that Cornell teaches tree climbing. I am surprised
however that a kid smart enough to get into Cornell would want to spend
his/her life in a tree with a chainsaw!

Author blubundlall ( ago)
nice climbing techniques. some were new to me

Author galt57 ( ago)
I just think you should be using them consistently in all videos. Since you
are associated with Cornell University I have to hold you to a high

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
We do use cambuim savers. Though we did not feature them in this video, we
have several mechanisms for limiting tree impact. Perhaps we will compile
them all under the title of "minimum impact."

Author galt57 ( ago)
I really must criticize you for not using cambium savers. These are
standard equipment for arborists and rec climbers and are available in a
variety of types. See the offerings from Sherrill and New Tribe.

Author CornellTreeClimbing ( ago)
We generally don't use a single prussik secured foot locking method - demo.
I don't think we would call grabbing the prussik a "big no-no". Anytime one
down-ascends with a prussik it will be necessary to grab it, for example.
We generally use a tube style descending device in preference to a figure
eight, as that style is less prone to inverting into a girth hitch. We did
damage the sycamore - disappointing, but we felt like we needed to show how
easy it is to cause that damage.

Author seamorelilfoot ( ago)
Your climber is putting his hand about the prussick that is a BIG NO NO -
also to desend - You use a figure eight. Where is the climbers helmet?
where is your friction save on that Sycamore - that POOR tree did you burn
it? Why are you all body thusting? I love the UNI - thanks morgan also nice

Author Jaime C. ( ago)
Great video.

Embed Video:


Search Video

Top Videos

Top 100 >>>


Analyse website