Pulleys have lots of uses. They come in a variety of designs and colors, and are generally small. If you are going to suspend yourself from a pulley, use one that is rated for over 5,000 pounds. A pulley with a lighter load limit can be used for light duty, such as advancing a friction hitch. Climbers should never use a pulley for life support that has been used for lowering loads.

  • PInto Pulley

    Pinto pulley

  • Hitch Climber Pulley

    Hitch-climber pulley

Types of Pulleys

Specific uses call for different types of pulleys:

  • Advancing a climber’s hitch uses a three-hole hitch-climber pulley if you are using a hitch-pulley climbing method.
  • Advancing a hitch on a lanyard uses a single-hole pulley, such as a Pinto pulley, or a three-hole pulley. Some climbers duplicate their main hitch-pulley climbing system so they will have a spare part if they drop one of the pieces of their main climbing system.
  • Creating mechanical advantage for lifting or pulling trees down uses a couple of single pulleys or double roller pulleys.
  • Lowering cut pieces of wood uses a pulley block alone or in pairs, depending on your rigging situation. These are larger pulleys that can take larger ropes. You can use a smaller pulley with a built-in swivel for lowering smaller pieces of wood.
  • Lifting and lowering a victim during a rescue can be done with any pulley rated for life support.

New pulleys are being marketed every year. Look closely at what the different models can do so you don’t end up with a box full of sparkling gear that sits unused in your garage.