Marlinspike hitch

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The Marlinspike hitch is used for making a rope ladder.


  1. Begin with an overhand loop (a loop which the working part passes over the standing part).
  2. Fold the loop over the working part, towards the standing part such that the standing part is visible through the centre of the loop.
  3. Pass the pole over the near side of the loop, under the standing part and then over the far side of the loop.
  4. The hitch should be loaded only from the standing side. It's important that the actual knot lies below the rung so that it is locked into place.

Making a Ladder


The Marlinspike Hitch Knot is used to quickly grip a pole to take weight.

Correct End: For a ladder, always make the final bight in the "top" end (the standing end) and tuck it through the loop. The result will then function as a Noose: the greater the force, the tighter the grip. If the wrong end is used, the reverse is true.

Keep Level: Each rung should be horizontal. The ropes at the top of the ladder should be secured so that the rungs remain level to minimise the risk of a hitch sliding off its rung.

See also