CEM Releasable Knot

The CEM (for Cañonismo En Mexico) is a releasable knot, similar in function to the macrame. It can be used around natural anchors, especially trees, when insufficient webbing is available.

CEM Instructions

PDF Document

VT Instructions

Designed by Rich Carlson and manufactured by BlueWater Ropes, the VT Prusik features a super tough, heat resistant Technora aramid sheath over durable nylon core strands. The core in this kernmantle design keeps the VT from flattening and binding up. The VT performs well when used for ascending, self-belay while rappelling, as a traveling rope grab or in conjunction with a Prusik minding pulley in haul systems.

VT Instructions – 8mm

VT Instructions – 7mm

Totem Instructions

The original Totem is the ‘Swiss Army Knife’ of rigging devices. Deceptively simple looking, the Totem is remarkably versatile. Use it for belaying, releasable rigging and hauling systems, or as a rigging plate. Use it for rappelling – it’s simple to add friction mid-rappel and simple to lock off. You can even ascend with it.

Totem Instructions

Tail Up – Prepared for Rescue

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We know it makes sense to rig releasable contingencies when we anticipate a rescue will likely involve lowering. But what about those times when rescue is more likely to involve hauling? An example might be rappelling into a pit that has no exit at the bottom when your exit plan is ascending.

In this video Rich takes a look at some contingency rigging options when you rig “Tail Up”.

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Static Twin Ropes

Rigging twin ropes can improve efficiency dramatically for a well organized group descending from a climb or moving through a technical canyon. Check out this video for a some rigging ideas from Rich.

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Static Blocks

A static block is a type of rigging used primarily to set rope length. In this video Rich explains the appropriate use and some of the limitations.

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Single Point Anchors




In this video Rich explains and demonstrates how webbing can be tied and rigged on single-point anchors for position, redundancy, strength, efficiency and equalization.

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Rigging Glue-In Bolts

There are basically two categories of bolts used for anchors – mechanical and glue-in. In virtually all situations, glue-in bolts will out-perform mechanical bolts … by a wide margin. Unfortunately, they are not very common, so when people do encounter them, they tend to be wary.

Check out this video to learn how glue-in bolts lend themselves to different rigging than more common mechanical bolts.

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Quick Links, Bolt Hangers, Bailout Rings

Words like “Always” and “Never” apply only when we look for rules instead of learning to apply good judgment and develop the ability to discern for ourselves.

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Overhand Knot

An overhand knot is an overhand knot is an overhand knot. NOT! Watch this video as Rich explains the critical difference between an overhand knot and an overhand bend and the appropriate uses for each.

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Munter-Mule-Overhand

Your partner is stuck on the rope or is at the end of a rope that doesn’t reach the ground. What do you do? If you had the fore-thought to rig a releasable contingency system the solution would be simple. The munter-mule-overhand is a basic releasable system that everyone should know. Watch this video to learn how to tie it and use it.

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Flat Overhand – European Death Knot

The flat overhand knot, AKA the European Death Knot (or EDK for short), is a very popular way of connecting two ropes for long rappels. It has been the subject of much misinformation leading many to have misgivings about its use.

In this video Rich demonstrates the correct way to tie and use the EDK and a few variations.

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Courtesy Rigging

In this video Rich explains and demonstrates how to set up and use something called courtesy rigging that allows for easy rappel starts – for all but the last person down. The last person down has a simple task in resetting the rigging, then does what could be a difficult start to insure the rope is easy to pull.

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Anchor Loading

The amount of load we put on our anchors depends on more than just the weight of the person hanging on the rope. Mechanical advantage and friction also come into play. In this instructional video Rich Carlson explains and demonstrates how both of these factors can decrease or dramatically increase anchor loading – important to know, especially when using marginal anchors.

Check out this related blog post: Fun with Friction

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Anchors: Equalized vs Focused

Equalized or focused, which is better? Of course it depends. In this instructional video Rich takes a look at some of the considerations for choosing.

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