Jeff Ward
Submitted by Jeff Ward on Tue, 07/12/2011 - 00:00

Being able to perform an effective rescue in the vertical environment is a skill every climber should have in their bag of tricks.  Both Larry and Jeff have spent a lot of time teaching these skills to both guides and recreational climbers alike on AMGA guide training courses and NCMG High Angle Rescue Courses.  One of the "knots" that climbers tend to struggle with is the Mule Hitch.  This hitch is an essential tool that gets used over and over again in high angle rescue.  

This photo tutorial is not meant to replace expert instruction.  It is meant to help students refresh their knowledge or prepare for an upcoming course.

The Mule Hitch combined with a Munter Hitch or Belay Device can be used as a tension release system.  We are going to show the Mule tied onto a Munter Hitch.  What is commonly referred to as the Munter-Mule.  Please note, if used on a belay device there is an additional critical step that we do not show here.  

Munter Hitch

First start with your standard Munter Hitch, shown above.

Rock Rescue Munter Mule Step 1

Next, with the brake strand, create a loop with the "running end" of the brake strand on the bottom, as shown above.   

Rock Rescue Munter Mule Step 2

Next, pass this loop under the load strand.

Vertical Rescue Munter Mule Step 3

After passing the loop to the other side of the load strand, you then create a bight of rope on the brake strand behind the loop.  

Rock Climbing Munter Mule Step 4

This bight of rope then goes over the load strand and passes through the original loop.

Rescue Munter Mule Step 5

This then gets cinched up tight against the Munter Hitch.

Rock Rescue Munter Mule

The Mule Hitch then needs to be backed up with an overhand around the load strand.

Final Munter Mule Hitch

The final step is to tightly cinch the overhand knot.  You now have a well tied Munter Mule.

I hope these pictures help refresh your memory or help you prepare for your upcoming course.  Stay tuned for more in the "How To Series".