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Best Friction Hitch for Tree Climbing: Safety Only?

When climbing trees or anyplace else, you usually want to keep the number of objects clipped to your harness to a minimum. When climbing inside, you won’t need belay gear, a PAS, a nut tool, or any of the other glitzy accessories. 

Because, they’ll become engrossed in features and volumes, weighing you down and posing a fall hazard to you or people watching below.

However, when you’re climbing outdoors, you must be prepared for a variety of circumstances that may arise. Perhaps you need to clean an anchor and rappel down because a storm is approaching. Here, the fixed gear is sharp, making lowering impossible. 

Here, with the use of the best friction hitch for tree climbing, you can easily get your way out. So, we’ve taken steps and reviewed some best friction hitches, every climber should know about.

Let’s not talk anymore and get into the product details- 

Comparison Table

ProductMaterialLength
GM CLIMBING 30” Prusik CordPolyester ‎30 inch / 45-inch
ROPE Logic Ocean Prusik Cord RopePolyester 30-inch
JCHL 8mm Prusik Cord Polyester  18 inches
Pelican Rope 8mm & 10mmTechnora‎different lengths
GM CLIMBING 6.8mm Endless Prusik Loop 100% Technora15 inches

GM CLIMBING 30” Prusik Cord

Product overview

Well, GM CLIMBING 30″ Prusik Cable is at the top of our list. In a hundred different scenarios, this is a fantastic piece of outdoor gear.

Starting off, it isn’t made for a particularly advanced climbing method. But, it does have one redeeming quality that distinguishes it from the bulk of other friction hitches. This is because it works best with the rope that is the same diameter as the cord used to tie the friction hitch.

Also, it’s a versatile piece of gear to have in your rack. And, you might need it whether you’re rock climbing, tree climbing, mountaineering, caving, or setting up a rescue/hauling system.

This GM CLIMBING product is constructed of double braided 8mm polyester rope, which has great abrasion resistance, strength, and durability. It handles well, is flexible, and knots are simple to tie. So, we call this one simple but effective! 

Apart from that, this eye-to-eye prusik cord will come in handy when a Bachmann knot or a French knot is needed. Because here, the loop/cord ends are professionally machine-sewn with high-strength thread. 

And, it’s carefully wrapped in a heat shrink plastic sheath. This will ensure safety in the future.

On the other hand, this prusik cord comes with max abrasion resistance. And, this “sturdy sheath” provides exceptional resistance to abrasion for long-term usage. It’s even accompanied by the double braid. We could say that the overall construction is solid enough.

Another set of features of this rope is moisture resistance, low stretch, and even greater strength! All of this is due to the high-strength polyester material used throughout. Another benefit is its strong outdoor environment adaptation.

Lastly, the prusik rope is lighter and more compact than a mechanical grasp. So, it’ll take up less room in your rack. And, it also causes practically minimal harm to the host rope and may be used in both directions.

Pros

  • Abrasion resistance is great.
  • High strength and long-term performance.
  • Light and compact.
  • Durable and robust.
  • Resists moisture. 

Cons

  • The size isn’t large.

ROPE Logic Ocean Prusik Cord Rope

Product overview

Moving down the table, the second product we have on our list is ROPE Logic Ocean Prusik Cord Rope. For many climbers, this is one of the advanced hitches they use for tree climbing.

Here, this friction hitch has an 8 mm diameter and 5,000 cordage strength which makes it durable and long-lasting. Moreover, it even has a high melting temperature. So, you may use it in a variety of conditions for a long period.

Besides, this Eye-to-Eye tail is used to create a “closed system,” resulting in a finished friction hitch with both ends attached to the connectors. It does this rather than the traditional hitch where one end dangles loose. 

Furthermore, the eye-to-eye tail also lets you use a variety of easy-to-learn and smooth-performing hitches. When both ends of the split tail are utilized, friction is more equally distributed. 

This results in more consistent friction through a knot that is less binding yet grips tightly. When a micro pulley is added to the system, it fair-leads the hitch and allows for one-handed slack tending.

Pros

  • Has a higher melting point.
  • 5,000 cordage strength.
  • Durable and robust.
  • Can be used for a longer period of time.

Cons

  • Very large diameter – may hook on thinner ropes,
  • Expensive.

JCHL 8mm Prusik Cord 

Product Overview

The third product on our list is another 8mm Prusik cord from JCHL. JCHL is one of the greatest brands in this industry. And, they strive to give you the greatest quality items and the best service available. 

Firstly, the JCHL pre-sewn prusik loop is constructed of double braid 8mm Polymer rope that is machine-sewn. This provides long-term performance and immense durability.

Besides, this cord is moisture resistant, low stretch, and has great strength! All of this is due to the high-strength polyester material used throughout. Another benefit is its strong outdoor environment adaptation.

On the other hand, this cord handles well. And, it is flexible. Above all, the knots are simple to tie. You won’t have to go all out behind this cord, just saying! 

Besides, the wider diameter makes it more difficult to tie knots and more prone to slide. And, the smaller eye loops make it difficult to squeeze larger carabiners through. Yet, the extra millimeters of thickness provides the product with added strength and longevity.

Pros

  • Extremely powerful.
  • Simple to use.
  • Has a higher abrasion resistance.
  • Resists moisture.

Cons

  • Unsewn goods are more versatile.

Pelican Rope The Bulldog 

Product Overview

In Southern California, Pelican Rope is a renowned rope maker and distributor. And, the Pelican Rope has been providing great goods and dependable service to consumers for over 40 years. 

With distinctive ropes intended to make climbing and rigging simpler, Pelican Rope is recognized for pushing the industry in terms of innovation.

This Prusik comes with a useful stuff pouch, which may appear to be a gimmick at first glance. But, the climbers can always find a purpose for such items when it comes to organizing their gear.

Other than that, the cord’s eye loops are also interesting in that they are narrow to fit tightly around equipment.

Yet they may open up to allow larger carabiners to squeeze in. Yes, the product is incredibly safe due to the stitching. Also, the wide heat shrinking tube makes the product safe as well. That said, the product is not particularly flexible, making it difficult to set up in some scenarios.

One thing we’d like to say is that its heat resistance is exceptional (important because of rope friction). And, the design is simple and intuitive.

Pros

  • There are a variety of lengths to choose from.
  • Simple “eye” loop design that fits snugly but adjustably around bigger carabiners.
  • It includes a carrying case.

Cons

  • Although the larger diameter adds strength, users should exercise caution. 

GM CLIMBING 6.8mm Endless Prusik Loop 

Product Overview

The last on our list is another prusik loop from GM CLIMBING. It’s a 6.8mm Endless Prusik Loop. And, it’s perfect for tree climbing.

Starting off, this product is made of 100% Technora for enhanced performance and durability. Here, the 16-strand hollow braid is used to tie friction hitches such as the autoblock, prusik knot. Also, it ties the Klemheist knot too. 

Besides, the heat resistance is impressive. Here, the heat resistance is up to 923°F/500°C. This makes it perfect for climbing below/above belay devices where massive heat is generated due to fast and serious frictions.

One of the most dynamic pieces of equipment you could indeed add to your rack is this rope. After all, it’s small and light, convenient to carry, and can be used for a variety of tasks.

It’s has a wider versatility and you can use it as ascending ropes or abseil backup, adjustable anchor set-up, and general sports activities. That’s not it, you can use it on activities like hanging tarps, rigging aerial yoga silk,  and hammocks.

Pros

  • Simple to Use.
  • Powerful and Versatile.
  • The abrasion resistance is high, and fatigue tolerance is high.
  • It may be used for both professional and recreational purposes.

Cons

  • Carabiners might be difficult to put into eye loops since they are extremely tight.

Three Friction Hitches Every Climber Should Know

The auto-block, prusik, and Klemheist are three of the most useful friction hitches to know how to tie and use securely.

For these hitches, a 5 to 7mm diameter supplementary cord tied with a double fisherman’s knot is suitable. Here, Webbing (such as a nylon sling) will suffice in some cases, such as the Klemheist hitch. Although this can be used, we won’t recommend it. 

Besides, the length of your rope is determined by your own desire and intended use, but a typical diameter ranges from 13.5 to 24 inches.

Another great alternative is to use Sterling’s Auto Block or Hollow Block, which are becoming increasingly popular.

Auto-Block (French Prusik)

As an alternative for rappelling, the auto-block (also known as the French prusik) is constructed on the rope strands below the belay device. It’s then attached to the leg or belay loop of your harness.

This hitch acts as a backup to your rappel, creating friction to protect you from falling down the rope uncontrollably. When empty, an auto-block will slide, letting you descend with control.

But when loaded, it will lock on the rope. This is critical if you unintentionally let go when rappelling. Or, if you need to use your hands for something else while rappelling.

Because of its downward sliding mechanism and ease of release, the auto-block is not usually used to ascend ropes. 

In addition, any backup hitches should be used to lengthen your rappel. This gives you more control and prevents it (or your clothing or hair) from jamming into your belay device, reducing the efficacy of your backup.

Prusik

This simple, yet powerful multi-directional hitch has greater holding strength than an auto-block and more utility than an auto-block. This makes it suitable as a must-know hitch. 

Because the prusik is multi-directional, it can tighten just on ropes in either direction. Similar to an auto-block, the prusik can be used as a backup for rappelling, making it a useful tool for hands-free operations.

It can be dealt with blocked ropes, cleaning gear, and rappelling down overhangs or through traverses.

The capacity of the prusik to ascend a rope without the aid of mechanical ascenders is perhaps its most known application. Note that while ascending a rope, two prusik cords/slings should be used. And you should not attempt to ascend ice or damp ropes.

Klemheist  (French Machard)

The Klemheist hitch (also known as the French Machard) is essentially identical to the prusik in terms of functioning (i.e. used as a backup or for ascending a rope).

Unlike a traditional prusik, the Klemheist may be attached with webbing or cable and is unidirectional, meaning it can only be loaded in one direction. 

As a result, it’s critical to pay particular attention to how you tie this hitch, ensuring that it’s configured to load the rope from the correct direction.

Due to its relative ease of tying/untying and sliding on the rope, as well as its high gripping strength, many people prefer the Klemheist to the regular prusik.

What Does a Prusik Cord Necessitate?

While prusik loops have been in use since the 1930s, specific items are a much recent phenomenon. They are made out of a thin yet strong piece of rope with attachments on both ends.

Traditionally, the ends were tied together using a fisherman’s knot. But numerous respected climbing equipment manufacturers are now selling a streamlined product that has been properly sealed. They have shaped and seals in the shape of a prusik loop. 

Whereas, other prusik cords contain little loops or “eyes” on both ends so that a carabiner may be used to connect them.

What to Consider While Buying a Prusik Cord?

When rock climbing, climbing ropes, going through glaciers, and so on, a prusik hitch comes in useful. The majority of the ropes on our list are prusik cords. 

When it comes to prusik material, however, there are a variety of alternatives, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. But few things you need to consider while buying it-

Loop

A prusik loop is a hitch made by tying a loop in a thin piece of strong rope. A prusik loop may be used for a variety of activities, including climbing, mountaineering. And, it’s used in kayaking, caving, canyoning, and even gardening. 

This was first used by Karl Prusik for ascending a rope, hence the name, and is similar to modern-day rope ascenders. They are, however, more commonly employed for safely repelling. This is because they act as an emergency stop in the event that you are knocked unconscious or distracted by falling debris.

The Thickness of Prusik Cord

Although most prusik cord is 5–8 millimeters thick, you should use a thicker cord. Especially when climbing with larger climbing ropes. Because thinner ropes give less grip, it is often preferable to use a thinner cable.

Length of Prusik Rope

You’ll need between 1.2 and 1.5 meters of rope to build a prusik loop. If you purchase a pre-sealed prusik loop, this was not a problem. But, if you tie your own, make sure you have had enough rope. 

This enough rope will adjust for the fisherman’s knot keeping it together, as well as enough room to tie a functional prusik hitch.

Material of Prusik Rope

Prusiks are commonly formed of nylon cord with a double fisherman’s bend knotted between them.

The cable will not lock correctly around the rope if it is excessively stiff. The rigidity also may make tying the knot more difficult. Before you take your cord climbing, be sure it works by checking it.

If you expect to use your prusiks frequently, buying many pre-sewn prusik loops may be a good idea. These are available with or without a hefty knot, as well as with or without the knot sewed together and protected by a plastic sleeve.

How to Make a Bachmann Knot?

If you didn’t know how to make the Bachmann knot then follow the steps we’ve prepared below-

  • Step 1: Clip the cord via a carabiner.
  • Step 2: Spin the cord all around the rope three times, each time passing it through the carabiner. Then, put the wraps close together.
  • Step 3: Allow the cord’s end to dangle down through the carabiner. To this purpose, secure your cargo. Do not attach your load to the ‘handle’ carabiner — this will cause the knot to untangle!
  • Step 4: Pull the handle carabiner up the rope to undo the knot. Put some weight on the bottom carabiner to lock it.

How to Tie the Prusik Autoblock?

Below we’ll show how a Prusik Autoblock is tied within 3 simple steps.

  • 1st step: Wrap the prusik all-around rope a couple of times in a clean manner.
  • 2nd Step: Using a carabiner, secure the ends together. More wraps will increase the friction around the ropes, but four wraps are usually sufficient. Check that the autoblock is tidy and that the double fisherman’s knot is not in the way of the ropes.
  • 3rd step: To loosen the knot, pinch it. You may now move it down the rope in this manner. To secure the knot, add weight to it. The autoblock works in both ways, however, when the direction is shifted, the double fisherman’s knot tends to wrap itself around the prusik, making it less effective.

How To Tie the Klemheist Knot?

Since you’ve learned how to do the Prusik Autoblock, it’s time we show you the ways of doing a Klemheist Knot-

  • Step 1: Spin the prusik all-around ropes a couple of times in a clean manner.
  • Step 2: The remaining rope should be threaded through the loop.
  • Step 3: Push the knot upwards to loosen it or weigh it downwards to lock it.

FAQs

What length should be used use with the rope wrench?

24 inches works well for 5 wraps on 13 mm rope

Is ROPE Logic Ocean certified?

It is certified and has that certification on the rope. It is a high-quality climbing rope. Buy with no reservations.

A fisherman’s knot has how many loops?

The fisherman’s knot is an asymmetrical bend (a knot for linking two lines) made out of two overhand knots, one wrapped around the standing half of the other.

Conclusion

The best friction hitch for tree climbing is an investment that will last a long time. The quality of it determines whether or not you have a smooth tree climbing experience. 

Well, a low-quality friction hitch may be inexpensive, but it will not last long and the service quality will be poor.

The hitches will make your tree climbing experience better. These will also serve you well without costing you a fortune.

With our thorough list, you’ll get an excellent and useful overview of the currently available tree climbing friction hitches allowing you to pick one that properly suits you.

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