Munter hitch

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The Munter hitch, also known as the Italian hitch, is a simple knot, commonly used by climbers and cavers as part of a life-lining or belay system. To climbers, this knot is also known as HMS, the abbreviation for the German term Halbmastwurfsicherung, meaning 'half clove hitch belay'. This technique can be used with a special "pear-shaped" HMS locking carabiner, or any locking carabiner wide enough to take two turns of the rope. The 'Munter hitch' is named after a Swiss mountain guide, Werner Munter, who popularised its use in mountaineering.

The hitch is simply a set of wraps using a rope or cord around an object, generally a round object like a pipe, pole or more commonly, a carabiner. Its main use is as a friction device for controlling the rate of descent in belay systems.

How it works

The Munter hitch creates friction by having the rope rub on itself and on the object it has been wrapped around. There is no static friction on any part of the rope as it is a continuously moving knot. One very useful aspect of the Munter is its reversibility; it can be pulled from either side of the rope and it still works just as effectively.

Setting up a belay system using the Munter hitch

A belay system incorporating the Munter Hitch is the same as any other belay system, which incorporates a belayer to tend the rope and an anchor, which secures the belay system and belayer to the deck.

There are several advantages to the Munter Hitch. It is the only belay system which...
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