Sequential Programming: Monkey Bridge

Troop 86 from Sumter, SC wanted to do a pioneering project and they selected the Double A-Frame Monkey Bridge. Great place to start, and a great way to illustrate sequential programming. What skills enter into the picture? A whole bunch! And with each step along the way, there’s an activity wherein each campcraft skill can be put into action, in a fun way, as reinforcement.

B.-P. wrote: “I am inclined to suggest to Scouters that in addition to the technical details of knotting, lashing, and anchorages, there is an educative value in Pioneering since it gives elementary training in stresses, mensuration, etc.” In addition to the “mensuration” skills that come into play when setting out the area for the bridge’s A-frames and anchors, a good deal of measuring takes place to assure the A-frames are as close to identical as possible, the pairs are joined together in similar fashion, an the spanner ropes are spread evenly. (Hand in hand with the building, Scouts do a lot of planning.)

 tape-measure-2  tape-measure-1

—> What is Sequential Programming?


Open-Ended Clove Hitch – How else would you want to secure the hand ropes to the A-frames? — How-to Video / Activity Video

Using Half Hitches to tie a Clove Hitch – A simple process always makes it easy to tie a clove hitch and finish many types of lashings. Several are used to attach the spanner ropes. — How-to Video / Activity Video —

Round Lashing – Three or four can be used to join together the bottoms of the A-frames on each side. Round lashings can also be used to attach a flag pole(s) to an A-frame(s). — How-to Video / Activity Video

Square Lashing – This project can use fourteen of them for both building the A-frames and then joining them together. — How-to Video / Activity Video

3-2-1 Anchor – The skill is to carefully drive in the stakes at the proper angle and applying the tourniquets to join the groupings. — Explanatory Video

Roundturn with Two Half Hitches – You can use this pioneering knot to attach the hand ropes to the anchors. — How-to Video / Activity Video —

Butterfly Knot and Rope Tackle – This configuration can be used to adjust the tension on the foot rope. — How-to Video 1, How-to Video 2 / Activity Video


Pioneering Program Curriculum II: Half Hitches and Round Lashing

This is the second post in a series that will eventually comprise an activity-based, unit pioneering program curriculum. 

SUPPORTING VIDEOS: How to Tie and Apply Half Hitches and the Clove Hitch / How to Tie a Round Lashing

Two Half Hitches Over the Top of a Pole Forming a Clove Hitch
Two Half Hitches Over the Top of a Pole Forming a Clove Hitch

II. In Pioneering, half hitches are everywhere! Two of them next to each other is a clove hitch, and that’s something we use time and time again. As John Thurman declares, “If only we can get Scouts to learn that if you make one half hitch and another half hitch and bring them together they make a clove hitch, what a lot of time the Movement would save in the amount of fiddling and fumbling that goes on when a clove hitch is the order of the day.”


  • Scouts will demonstrate they can tie half hitches around a horizontal pole, proceeding from both the right and the left.
  • Scouts will demonstrate they can tie a round lashing by starting and ending the lashing with two half hitches.
  • Scouts will lash together two staves to make a longer pole by using two properly positioned round lashings.
Horizontal Hitching Post Lashed Between Two 6' Uprights
Horizontal Hitching Post Lashed Between Two 6′ Uprights


  • Suspended horizontal hitching post or similar setup, to accommodate the entire class
  • Two or more 5-foot Scout Staves for every Scout (the more the better)
  • Four 6 to 10-foot x 1/4-inch manila lashing ropes for every Scout (the more the better)
  • 6-foot  x 1-1/2-inch diameter spar set up as a crossbar with a 6-foot length of 1/2-inch nylon or polyester cord, attached in the middle, to serve as a large visual aid


  1. Starting at the center of the 6-foot spar, the instructor slowly ties a half hitch for all to see, proceeding from the left and initially carrying the running end over the top of the spar.
  2. The half hitch is untied and slowly tied again for all to see. This is repeated as necessary while, in like manner,  the class ties their own half hitch around the horizontal hitching post.
  3. When each Scout can tie the half hitch, the instructor slowly demonstrates the tying of two half hitches in succession. (No mention needs to be made that this is a clove hitch.)
  4. When all Scouts can accomplish this, three and four half hitches are tied in succession. Scouts give it a go.
  5. Starting again at the center, steps 1-4 are repeated on the other side, this time proceeding from the right and initially carrying the running end over the top of the spar.
Tying a simple half hitch around a horizontal pole, proceeding from the left and moving to the right: When proceeding from the left, the running end can be carried over the top of the spar, brought down behind the standing part, and then simply carried over the standing part. Dress the half hitch by pulling the standing part to the left and the running end to the right. For a second half hitch, simply repeat the process. Two Half Hitches (Clove Hitch) Three Half Hitches Four Half Hitches.
Click on the Images for LARGER Views!
Click on Image for LARGE
Click on Image for LARGER Views!
Two Round Lashings Joining Together Two Scout Staves
Two Round Lashings Joining Together Two Scout Staves


  1. Using two Scout Staves and a lashing rope, the instructor demonstrates how, by holding in one hand the two staves and the long end of the rope as the standing part, he can tie two half hitches around both staves working with the running end. This forms a clove hitch which will start off the round lashing. It will be easy to see that since the long end of the rope will be used for the wrappings, to start the lashing, the half hitches will be applied moving towards the nearest end of one of the staves.
  2. Scouts apply the technique, tying the clove hitch around two staves in the manner shown.
  3. The instructor demonstrates wrapping the longer end tightly and neatly around both staves, leaving enough rope to finish the lashing with two half hitches.
  4. Scouts practice lashing two staves together with two round lashings. The space where the two poles are joined, gets two tight round lashings—one on either side of the overlap and right near the ends of each pole. (See photo to the left.)
  5. Scouts combine into one group and, using all the materials on hand, join all the staves tightly together into one very long pole, with round lashings.