Whipping and Fusing Your Fast Rope Into Shape - ITS Tactical

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Whipping and Fusing Your Fast Rope Into Shape

By The ITS Crew

3 of 3 in the series Make a Fast Rope
Make a Fast Rope
  1. How to Make a Fast Rope for Climbing
  2. How to Make a Fast Rope Eye Splice
  3. Whipping and Fusing Your Fast Rope Into Shape

Making a Fast Rope for Climbing has certainly been a fun project to undertake for our Knot of the Week!

Today we’ll be demonstrating the last steps in completing your rope, which are whipping and fusing the bitter end. Whipping and Fusing are traditionally methods to prevent a rope from unraveling and to stop fraying. We’re essentially using these techniques in the same way on our Fast Rope, to strengthen and protect the end.

The reason we chose to terminate the Fast Rope in this fashion is that in reading the Mil-Spec for Fast Rope construction, it distinctly mentions that “The free end shall be seared and whipped.” Seared is just another word for fused and fusing is actually the proper terminology.



The first part of this process is to whip the bitter end with paracord. What’s great about the techniques we’ll show you for whipping and fusing, is that they can be applied to any rope that you might need to whip and fuse.

On our whipping, we used around 25 feet of paracord that created a 6″ length of whipping. In counting the wraps it comes out to about 50 times that the paracord wraps around the circumference of the fast rope.

The important thing about whipping is that you must ensure that each wrap is tight, and continued pressure is placed on each wrap. This is how you’re able to see the dimension of the rope pattern through the paracord in the photos. While looking cool, it reflects that that paracord wrapping is extremely tight and will hold properly.



After whipping the rope, which we demonstrate below in the video and photos, you’ll then need to fuse the ends of the 4-Strand Braid together. To do this, you have a few options. As you’ll see in the video as well, the point at which the whipping starts is just above where your final taping started to secure the end of your Fast Rope. Hopefully you did tape the end to prevent it from unraveling.

The first and best option in our opinion is to purchase a Rope Cutting Gun. These are very inexpensive, and if you regularly work with rope or paracord, will pay for themselves time and time again. By using one of these tools, it will not only save you time, but your fusing will come out much better. The gun will make short work of even the eight strands of your Fast Rope and as it presses through the rope it will fuse each individual strand together with the others.

If you’re attempting to do this without a Rope Cutting Gun, you’ll need to ensure that after you cut each of the eight strands that you not only fuse each one, but that they get fused to each other as well. Honestly it’s a pain in the ass without this gun and we’d highly recommend picking one up.

You can remove the tape after your whipping is set in place, right before you start your fusing. The whipping should hold everything in place nicely, but be careful if manually cutting each strand without the gun.

Wrap Up


Our Fast Rope construction started with those eight sections of 35 ft. 7/16″ Bluewater Assaultline Static Rope and wound up being right at 22 feet in the end. We’d originally hoped to end up with a 30 ft. Fast Rope, but you can now see exactly how much the braiding, eye splice, whipping and fusing really eat up in terms of length. Keep this in mind when you’re calculating the desired length on your Fast Rope.

We’ve included photos and video below, so be sure to check those out for instructions. Now all that’s left to do is girth hitch your Fast Rope and start climbing! We’ve got an article in the works on proper climbing techniques that we’re looking forward to completing, as we get a lot of questions on what the proper form is.

Hope you enjoyed the series and are looking forward to building your own Fast Rope. It’s a challenging project and one that is truly empowering to undertake. It will certainly give you a new appreciation for working with rope and what you’re capable of creating!

Building a Fast Rope for Climbing: Part 1, 4-Strand Round Braid

Building a Fast Rope for Climbing: Part 2, 4-Strand Eye Splice

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  • Sweet! Thanks once more for putting all these together. Its been a huge help.

    • You’re more than welcome brother! Stay safe out there!

  • Jason

    Great article, I can’t wait to try it out. Paracord is on it’s way, then on to bigger things.

    Question for you is after googling I see that some ‘professional’ fast ropes have some sort of handles on the end sometimes called an ‘extraction system’. It just looks like some spliced rope to create some loops near the bottom. I don’t need anything like that, but I am curious on exactly what it is used for, and how to securely splice a single strand for a loop.

    Thanks again.

    • Jason, those are SPIE/FRIES extraction loops. We briefly mentioned it at the beginning of the first article in the series http://www.itstactical.com/2010/08/06/how-to-make-a-fast-rope-for-climbing/
      A quick google search on that term should clear things up too.

      Those extraction loops are an “option” and a purpose built “professional” Fast Rope doesn’t necessarily have those loops. Just depends on the unit requirements and most are likely to have both depending on their needs. To answer your question about securely splicing a single strand. If you want to do it, it needs to be done during the 4-Strand Round Braid portion of creating the Fast Rope to ensure it’s securely braided in.

      Hope that helps!

  • Jim

    for the final fuse: if you do not have the rope cutter i know of one good solution for getting a solid end:

    cut the taped end flush to the point where you want to fuse the ends, and then use one of the following:

    old cast iron skilled over hot coals (hotter the better, but evenness is also important)
    glass top cook top (this isn’t recommended because of the smell and the fact that you will have to clean the remaining carbon off of the glass [which can be done once cool with a strait razor blade] and the smell)

    pretty much any kind of open flame will end up being the worst you can do. it is almost impossible to have turn out even (believe me i know) and you will end up burning part of the rope especially with this diameter.

    thanks for the info. even if I don’t build a fast rope the braid will be good to know

  • Adam Jourdan

    great tutorial! I will most likely use this to make a tow rope for pulling logs out of the woods with my 4-wheeler, as I no longer have the shoulders to climb much of anything anymore. thanks for this though!

  • Wolverine1

    Duct tape will hold up for a while.

  • Michael Kolek

    Do you do anything to paracord on the larger one to secure it other then the whipping?? Did you burn them together or are they just that tight that there is no risk of them shifting?? Could you coat them in anything to prevent shift like wax?? Just wondering???
    Will be building mine as a climbing rope but also as a throw rope as an escape rope for my condo in case of an emergency.

  • Sharpie

    Would it matter if you whipped toward the end rather than away from the end?

    I think I could keep the paracord on a spool and have it more organized if it was toward the end.

    Just a though.

  • Jake

    To me it seems you would have been much better off just to start your braid at the bottom of the fast rope. Use 4 strands on a bite, with each pair for the braid braid pair composed of 2 half length sections of the 4 ropes. Then splice at the terminal end with you loop. The end of your fast rope then would not need a melt or a splice.

  • Fabian

    Why don’t you use a Back Splice? It has also the nice side-effect of getting the end of the rope a bit heavier. Useful for throwing and general stability while hanging. Only drawback I can think of would be increased thickness in the tail, but it’s not by much, and shouldn’t be really noticeable anyway – how many times you grab and hang by the last few inches of a rope?

  • John Robinson

    I just stumbled across your website while searching for a proper definition for “kN”. And then found this article about “whipping and fusing”. I’m old, broke-down and disabled now but in my younger years was an avid boater and I did my own rigging and line work. I came up with a line whipping technique (I invented I guess, as I have never seen or heard of it elsewhere) that in my estimation is far superior to any other line whipping technique I’ve seen or tried. I have used this technique as a bitter end line whipping technique and also to make loop-ends for lanyards. I call it the “Constrictor Whip”.

    First you need to know what a constrictor knot is. Then you find the center of your length of whipping twine/line and start by applying a constrictor knot around whatever you will whipping. You can tighten a constrictor knot pretty much as tightly as you can pull on the two ends and as the design of the knot is that does not allow the tightening force to back off when you release the pulling force.

    Then you wrap one tail 180 degrees (1/2 way) around, and the other tail 540 degrees (1 1/2 ways) around and set a second constrictor knot head, again drawing it as tightly as you need, wish, or dare. You do this again, only this time you reverse which legs that get the 1/2 and 1 1/2 turn wraps. This ensures even use of the 2 legs to get full use out of your length of whipping material.

    Continue with additionally layered constrictor knots till you reach the length you need or run out of whipping material. To finish off at your final constrictor head, trim off the tails to a length of about twice as long as the whipping material diameter and then heat it to molten and smash the blob tightly into the “V” formed by the two overlapping strands where the bitter end exits the final constrictor head. That insures that it cannot slip back through and loosen.

    Every time I used this technique it has never failed over time. The first time I did this was to a 1/2 dia. 3 strand nylon line. I would sit watching TV and beat the rope-end on a hardwood floor for hours at a time. That had in NO way any effect on my whipping.

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