The Masters

Jeff Ward - IFMGA/AMGA Guide

Jeff Ward is an IFMGA-licensed and AMGA-certified Alpine, Ski and Rock Guide. He grew up in the Northwest and is co-owner of North Cascades Mountain Guides ( based in Mazama. Ward is a lead instructor for the American Mountain Guides Association and serves on their technical committee.

Martin Volken - IFMGA Guide

Martin Volken is the founder and owner of Pro Guiding Service and Pro Ski and Mountain Service in North Bend, WA. He is a certified IFMGA Swiss Mountain Guide and guides over 120 days per year in North America and Europe as a ski, rock and alpine guide. Volken has pioneered several steep ski descents, ski traverses, alpine and rock routes in the Washington Cascades. He has been a member of the AMGA examiner team since 2000 and has authored and co-authored three books on ski touring and ski mountaineering.

Got a question about climbing? Submit your question in the Ask the Master forum and either Jeff Ward or Martin Volken will supply the answer.

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Rapping off two ropes

30-Nov-2016 04:56 PM


Posts: 1

Two questions about rapping on two ropes. Is it safe to rap off a tag line that's significantly narrower than the lead line. For instance, a 5 or 6mm tag line with a 9.8mm lead line?

Additionally, what is the best knot to join these two? I have heard an EDK with 12 inches on both ends as well as a double figure eight with a double fisherman's as follow ups on both ends. 

Thanks for the response!


11-Dec-2016 10:22 AM

Jeff Ward

Jeff Ward
Posts: 26

I prefer to use the "jammed knot" technique when using a skinny rappel line.  The lead line is threaded through the anchor and an overhand knot is tied in the end.  This knot gets clipped back to the load strand so it essentially fixes the rope.  The skinny rope is then tied to the end of the lead line (I usually use a flat overhand), or clipped to the overhand knot.  You then rappel the lead line as a single strand and pull on the skinny line for retrieval.  

Make sure you play with this on the ground to fully understand the system.  If you don't fully understand this system please seek professional instruction.