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Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

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Reach the top with the help of the prusik knot.

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What to expect

Prusiking is all about climbing a rope using two loops, one attached to the climber’s harness and one used as a foot loop. Both loops are attached to the rope with the special prusik knot. The prusik knot is a friction knot – it tightens when weight’s applied and loosens when it’s removed, so the climber can slide it up the rope. The simple knots can be literally life-saving if they’re used properly, but you’ll have a safety rope attached when you’re prusiking (just like in normal climbing), just in case.

Fun facts

The prusik knot’s named after its inventor: Karl Prusik. He was an Austrian mountaineer.

Handy hints

  • Practise makes perfect. It’s possible to tie a prusik knot with one hand – once people have mastered the basics, challenge them to give it a go with one hand.
  • Have a plan B. Prusik knots aren’t full strength attachments, so it’s important to make sure you’re still attached to the rope properly too.


You must always:
Be safe outdoors:
  • Check the weather forecast
High ropes:
  • Check the definitions for high ropes in POR 9.12.5 and follow the relevant rules for delivering the activity
Joint activities with other organisations:
This activity can be led by you or someone else in Scouts:
You can go to a centre or use an activity leader who is not part of Scouting:
You must find a suitable provider who meets the following requirements:
  • The centre/instructor should hold one of these: (If the provider is AALA exempt)
    • Adventure Mark - centre
  • The provider must have public liability insurance.


High Ropes


People needed to work hard and have confidence in themselves (and their knots) to reach the top of the rope. Did people find any aspects of prusiking especially tricky? Some people may have struggled to get the hang of the knots, while others may have found the height a challenge. It can take a lot of courage to face fears and climb high, especially when people are putting their trust in their own knots. Did anyone find that moving the knots up the rope gave them something to concentrate on and helped them feel less scared? Well done to everyone who gave it a go.

Like other high ropes activities, prusiking can often be adapted so more people can give it a go. Many outdoor centres have facilities that cater for people with additional needs and experienced instructors to help everyone achieve their goals. Get in touch with your local provider to chat through the needs of people in your group – make sure you give them plenty of notice.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Anyone who enjoyed prusiking could try out another climbing adventure – there are plenty to choose from.