Using a Munter "Pop" to Pass a Knot while Rappelling or Lowering

Source:: "Climbing Self Rescue" - Andy Tyson/Molly Loomis - RGold (Richard Goldstone)    


Contributed by: Marty Comiskey (

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Here is a tip for those (hopefully) rare occassions when you may need to pass a knot that is joining two ropes together for either a rappel or lowering scenario.

This may need to be done, if and when you deem prudent, to bail from a route either because of approaching storm, injury or some other rescue scenario. For example, your partner is injured and unable to safely rappel by themselves and you want/need to lower/rappel two full rope lengths.

This Munter "pop" technique requires minimal gear and requires little manipulation of rope/knot/gear at the "knot/rope" interface. To use the Munter "pop" you must have the Munter loaded from both directions. You must have a load hanging from the Munter and the brake strand must be fully loaded and tied off as well.

I've included a photo from the Tyson/Loomis book "Self Rescue" showing the lowering setup and a crude diagram that I drew showing the rappelling setup derived from the RGold description on

In both cases, one uses a Munter Hitch connected to a sling (attached either at the anchor for lowering or on the harness when rappelling).

The extended Munter on a sling allows you to remove the loaded Munter Hitch easily from the system when the knot is encountered.

RGold's description (for rappelling) follows:
"The Munter pop is the simplest, least gear-intensive way to rappel past a knot. You install your 

usual rap device on the rope below the knot; clip the device to your harness (this folds the top 

portion of the rope in half at the start of the rappel) and tie it off with a load-releasable knot

(Munter Mule or ATC-Mule). 


On the rope above the knot, install a Munter on a sling extending the Munter/biner from the harness. The extension lets your harness point get below the knot when you arrive there, at which point you begin to weight the tied-off rap device below the knot. Pop the still weighted Munter off the rope above the knot, release the tied off rap device below the knot and continue rapping."

This is not an everday technique you will use on a regular basis. It is just "another tool" in your arsenal that you can call upon when the situation/scenario calls for it.


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