Favorite Pioneering Knots: Pipe Hitch

The pipe hitch has a variety of uses, but it really comes in handy to help pull out those pioneering stakes that were driven in deeply to maximize the holding power of the anchors. Using the pipe hitch for this purpose can eliminate a good deal of straining, banging, and possible damage when it comes time to take down the structures and disassemble the anchors.

Ready to wrap the  running end of the loop around the stake. Start wrapping from top  to bottom. Make at least four turns around the stake. Pass the runnning end up through the end of the loop. Pull the stake out from the opposite direction, at the angle that it was driven in.
Using the Pipe Hitch to Pull Out Pioneering Stakes (Click on the image for a larger view.)

You can make a couple of rope grommets out of 12-foot lengths of heavy line that can be set aside and reserved for use with a Pipe Hitch, for easier pioneer-stake-extraction.

Note: When stakes are driven in deeply, and especially when the ground is hard, the above technique will be very helpful, but also in conjunction with a process of first loosening the stakes by knocking them on the sides with a mallet.

Link to: Older Pamphlet InfoThe following text is by Adolph E. Peschke as presented in the 1998 printing of the 1993 edition of the Pioneering Merit Badge Pamphlet:

Using a rope to pull a pipe or spar can be difficult because you need all the gripping friction you can get to keep the knot from slipping off as you make the pull. One of the best knots for this type of task is a pipe hitch.

Most of the time, the pipe hitch can be tied with four or six turns. If this doesn’t hold, you can always lay on more turns to get the friction you need. Be sure to pull the turns snug as you make them so that you can get the full effect of their friction.

Keep in mind that when you use this knot for a hard pull or for a heavy weight, it should be tied with larger-diameter rope.

Pioneering Uses.

  • When considerable grip is needed for a lateral pull on a pipe or spar, or to pull a stake or post out of the ground
  • To hook a light tackle to use in lifting (see figure 27)
Form a bight in the rope and wrap it around the spar. Use at least four wraps, more for more gripping power. Finish the knot by pulling the standing end of the rope through the bight. If a spliced grommet (fixed loop) is used, wrap it around the spar and finish as shown. Then you can hook tackle in the bite of the grommet.
Pipe Hitch Diagram (One can actually perceive what’s referred to as the “standing end” to be the “running end.”)

Favorite Pioneering Knots: Prusik

Link to: Older Pamphlet Info

A Prusik is tied by first making a rope grommet (fixed loop).After attaching the grommet around the spar forming a common lark’s head. Next, inside the middle of the lark’s head, wrap the loop around the spar at least two complete times. When finished, position the Prusikand pull the loop tight
Attaching a light pulley for a rope halyard on a flagpole.

The following text is by Adolph E. Peschke as presented in the 1998 printing of the 1993 edition of the Pioneering Merit Badge Pamphlet:


This knot has the reputation of having a firm, sure grip once it is put under pressure. The multiple opposing turns provide friction and put a bend in the standing part of the rope, which becomes more difficult to pass through the turns as a lateral pull is applied. The prusik is widely used by mountain climbers as they attach a loop (grommet) made from a smaller rope to a larger rope to form a hand or foothold. It can also be used to form hand and shoulder loops for a lateral pull on another rope or to drag a log or spar. Pioneering Uses

  • To hook a light tackle on a vertical or horizontal spar.
  • To make hand and foot loops for climbing another rope or vertical spar.
  • To make hand and shoulder loops as an aid to hauling a large log. It can easily be moved along as the positions require.
  • To provide the grip and a loop to tie another line with a sheet bend.
  • To provide a safety brake against back-slipping on a load-lifting line. (Do not use when lifting a person.)
Prusik Tying Sequence
Prusik Tying Sequence