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Tying the Munter Mule Combination Hitch (Interactive Animation)
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Munter Mule Combination Hitch TyingPass the rope into the carabiner. Twist the rope above into a loop and hook it onto the carabiner to take the load. Create two loops and then, around the climbing rope, tie a slip knot leaving a long loop. Use it to tie a Half Hitch to secure the knot.
Munter Mule Combination Hitch Details
The Munter: The Munter Hitch - (the Italian Hitch), 1 - 6 in the animation, allows controlled descent when rappelling (abseiling). The climbing rope passes through a locking carabiner, round the rope, and back through the carabiner. For controlled descent, the brake hand need only apply relatively little force on the free end.
The Mule: The Mule Hitch, 7 - 11 in the animation, is used to secure the Munter. Using a bight of the rope, a Slip Knot followed by a Half Hitch is tied around the standing end. This final Half Hitch is essential because the weight of the hanging rope might otherwise easily undo the Slip Knot. When loaded, the Mule knot tends to slide down tight against the Munter and can be somewhat difficult to undo.
Requirements: Use a carabiner large enough to allow the hitch to be inverted through the carabiner when pulled. The load end should pass first round the spine side (not the opening side) of the carabiner. Then during descent, the rope will not chafe against the lock with the risk of opening it.
Using Thin Rope: In an emergency, modern, high strength, thin rope can be used for the Munter. Additional turns should then be taken round the spine of the carabiner to reduce the strain as shown here. These extra turns are not necessary with 11mm climbing rope.
Advantages: The greatest advantage of the Munter is that it can be used with minimum equipment – just a locking carabiner.
Disadvantages: The Munter kinks the rope, imparts a twist to it during descent, and also makes the rope fuzzy if used often.
Alternatives for Tying-Off: These two pictures show two of the alternative methods for tying-off the Munter: Two Half Hitches, and the Overhand Knot.
The animation used the mule with a half hitch but the Overhand Knot is more common. Some climbers use three half hitches in preference to two.
Control Heavy Load Descent with Super Munter: When lowering a heavy load, an extra turn can be added to make the Super Munter. The added turn through the carabiner provides extra friction and, as a side benefit, prevents twisting of the rope.
Disclaimer: Any activity that involves ropes is potentially hazardous. Lives may be at risk - possibly your own. Considerable attention and effort have been made to ensure that these descriptions are accurate. However, many critical factors cannot be controlled, including: the choice of materials; the age, size, and condition of ropes; and the accuracy with which these descriptions have been followed. No responsibility is accepted for incidents arising from the use of this material.