This section is going to start with a dire warning. Do Not Attempt To Scale Rock or Cliffs without proper training and as part of a coordinated group. Yes there are pros that do it all the time, but they have years, even decades of practice and experience. That said, let us begin.



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Subject Number 1 – Ropes when hiking.
You might not be planning on scaling Yellowstone’s Half Dome, but if you are planning an extended hike, especially over night or multiple nights, plan on taking some ropes and repelling gear with you. You should not attempt repelling without training, but having the gear with you might allow someone who has experience to drop down a small cliff face to assist another hiker. Even having the gear with you might assist rescuers arriving on the scene by providing them with extra gear.

But the basic ropes can be of great benefit. Even just dropping some rope over a ledge someone to assist up a steep incline. Other uses of rope could be to string a tension line across a water crossing to prevent other hikers in the group from loosing footing on slippery rocks or along a portion of trail partially washed out with a steep drop off if not careful.

In the event of sudden foul and inclement weather, ropes can be used to bind tress together to form a backbone and webbing for a lean to shelter. Another useful purpose of ropes while hiking, lashing members of the party together during a rain, snow storm, at night or anytime there is reduced visibility. A later section on this page will present some basic knot tying and uses of ropes when hiking. One final comment about ropes. Buy the best and highest pound rated you afford. Like many areas of hiking equipment, this is one that price should not be the single factor.

Subject Number 2 – Para-cord & lashings
Para-cord gets it’s name from the light weight yet extremely strong lines originally used for parachutes. Many combat jumpers quickly realized the value of cutting short sections of the line from the chutes to use for numerous tasks when working behind combat lines. Of course peacetime and training jumps, the complete parachute was to o valuable to have it damaged so Airborne and Jump Certified personnel learned to, if necessary even bribe, the chute riggers out of short 10′ 20′ or even 50′ sections of the cord to include in their field packs.

Para-cord is considered such a required survival need, that numerous vendors provide ID and Emergency Alert Bracelets made with para-cord bands. The band can be unwoven and used for emergencies such as stinting a broken bone or securing tying multiple items together.

Subject Number 3 – Climbing and Repelling
Serious rock climbing and repelling should not be done until you have trained and practiced with a pro in a controlled environment, likely indoors. And then in an easy rated climb in the field and should never be done alone. But during a long back trails hike, it might be necessary to ascend or descend a steep slope to render aid to a fellow hiker or to allow yourself to get to an easier terrain if to head to safety if you have become lost off trail. This information is intended to only familiarize yourself with the basics – to to certify you as a professional.

Subject Number 4 – Basic Knots and Hiking Rope usage.
You can not survive in the outdoors under emergency circumstances without knowing basic knots. Below are some reference material including books and instructions cards on know tying. Some have waterproof demo guides that you can take in your back pack (hint, hint, hint) so that when you truly need the information, you will have the information and not have to try to remember under an all ready stressful situation. The right knot may save a life. The wrong knot may cost one.

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Courtesy S. Ward – Road signs for wildlife traffic control