The Garda Hitch (Alpine Clutch)

This 'Garda Hitch' article is part of the book - The Trad Climber's Guide To Problem Solving.

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The garda hitch uses two parallel carabiners to create a system where a loaded rope can move in one direction but not the other.

- As a ratchet pulley for improvised hauling

Step 1
Secure two D-shaped carabiners together with a girth hitch so they lie parallel with the gates on the same side.

garda hitch

Step 2
Clip the rope through both carabiners.

Step 3
Form a loop in the non-loaded strand as shown.

garda hitch alpine clutch climbing

Step 4
Clip this loop through the left carabiner and fasten the screwgates.

alpine clutch climbing

Step 5
Pull the loop back so it sits around the spine of the carabiners.

garda hitch alpine clutch

Step 6
The garda hitch is now complete.

You will be able to pull rope through in one direction only. Make sure you have it the right way around.

garda hitch climbing

* The garda hitch is a one-direction knot – it cannot be released under load. Be careful how you employ it.

* It’s vital that you use D-shaped carabiners. A garda hitch tied on HMS or oval carabiners is prone to slipping down which causes the knot to fail.

* You must girth hitch the two carabiners together. If you simply clip the carabiners through a sling or another carabiner, the garda hitch will not function correctly.

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