Gone Outdoors

How to Secure a Rope & Pulley System

by Eric Cedric

Pulley-and-rope systems are employed in situations ranging from climbing and rescue to basic yard and tree pruning chores. To keep the system intact, it is necessary to tie off and anchor the rope and pulleys to prevent the ropes from coming out of the pulleys. The rope-and-pulley system is anchored by using rope cleats set on key locations or with a webbing anchor and carabiner, a metal clip.

Fixed System

Install a rope cleat at the base of the rope off the system if your pulley and rope set up is permanent (such as for a well or dumb-waiter). Hammer or screw the cleat into the base of the pulling side of the rope.

Wrap the pulling end of the rope around the two horns on the cleat. Give at least two full wraps so the rope criss-crosses the top of the cleat.

Wrap the end around the base of the cleat after completing the two criss-cross wraps. Do not tie the rope to the cleat, as the knots get placed under pressure and cause frustrations when trying to untie the knots.

Non-Permanent Systems

Pound a tent stake or large stick into the ground near the rope on the pulley set up.

Wrap the nylon webbing around the fixed anchor (stick) and attach the carabiner to the webbing loop.

Tie the rope to the carabiner using a Muenter hitch. To make the Muenter hitch, make two loops in the rope and twist the bottom loop up and through the top. Twist once more to make the shape of a pretzel and slide the pretzel loops into the carabiner gate. Pull the rope to lock the hitch to the carabiner, thus securing the rope-and-pulley system.

Items you will need
  • Rope cleats
  • Nylon webbing loops (2 to 4 feet long)

About the Author

A former Alaskan of 20 years, Eric Cedric now resides in California. He's published in "Outside" and "Backpacker" and has written a book on life in small-town Alaska, "North by Southeast." Cedric was a professional mountain guide and backcountry expedition leader for 18 years. He worked in Russia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Belize. Cedric attended Syracuse University and is a private pilot.

Photo Credits

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