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Blake’s Hitch
(a.k.a. Prohaska Knot)

Blake's HitchI didn't recognize that the knot was Prohaska’s own design, but Dan Lehman sent me a series of adamant emails insisting that I give Prohaska credit for the knot. The knot is commonly known as Blake’s Hitch among arborists, but it is Prohaska’s creation. According to Dan, Jason Blake presented the knot in the May 1994 Arbor Age. I do not have a copy of this reference.

My first acquaintance with this knot was Heinz Prohaska’s article in The Nylon Highway #30. He quickly mentioned the knot and then moved on to describe two additional Prohaska knots. I promptly forgot about this knot. Larry Borshard asked me to add the knot to my site, correctly pointing out that it is fairly popular among arborists, so I decided to look at it again.

Unlike the standard Prussik, Blake’s Hitch can be tied with the free end of the sling rope, and unlike the Helical, it is self-adjusting. On the other hand, the tail can easily pull through so it is important to tie a stopper knot (such as the eight shown in the photo) to keep the knot from untying. The holding power can be increased by adding turns (e.g., see the Bellunese), at the expense of making the knot harder to move. The knot can be tied to work well on clean ropes. I have not tried it under muddy caving conditions.

The performance of any ascending knot depends on the diameter, material, construction, and condition of both the main line and the ascender knot sling material. It may also depend on exactly how one ties the knot. Your knot’s performance can easily differ from mine.

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