I know how the last man rappel. While practicing at a local place, I saw one of the groups using a kamikaze knot for rappel and rope retrieval after the last man rappelled. Kamikaze and Sheepshank are quite the same.

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And, How it is supposed to be used: Assume that one of the ropes will be a meter long or less than that which I can fix at the anchor up there and afford to let the piece of rope remain there. And the other strand is what I would rappel on. They did the exact same thing.

The knot looked a bit tricky and I don't quite comprehend the amount of safety it would provide when used with the ropes of different diameters.

Has anybody tried it that way?

Till that day, I had never used kamikaze knot for last man rappel. And, then I tried it with a piece of rope (trusted strength and life) obtained through the same set of rope coil. So, diameter was equal.

  • 3
    Your title suggest that the Kamikaze is save for ropes of equal diameter. I would not consider a knot that can get easily untied when not under load and allegedly even with a "too slippery" rope to be save anyhow.
    – imsodin
    Aug 11, 2015 at 7:17
  • I don't understand the question. Isn't this a (dangerous) technique for rappelling on a single strand and then retrieving your rope? Doesn't that just involve a single rope? Why would there be two different diameters involved?
    – user2169
    Aug 11, 2015 at 12:53
  • 3
    It isn't even safe with two ropes of the same diametre. You're taking a big risk using anything that's meant to come apart with the flick of a wrist. You should look at getting a fiddlestick instead of using a knot with a name that insinuates intentionally ending your life.
    – ShemSeger
    Aug 11, 2015 at 21:54
  • 1
    That knot as pictured looks super dodgy Aug 12, 2015 at 4:30
  • 1
    In case anybody is wondering why this is in the books at all, it's an emergency device when staying on the rock is not safe and the climbers are more than one rope-length up. I would not try this without a truly dire emergency, and neither should you.
    – Joshua
    Mar 6, 2019 at 22:59

1 Answer 1


I love these situations "It tried it once, and it worked, must be safe"...... I am so glad aviation and car industry don't work that way.

The answer has to be No, its not safe with ropes of different dimensions. Its also not safe with ropes of the same dimension. Which is less safe - I don't know and I don't care and neither should you. There is one place I can think of for this knot in a climbers arsenal - if you have got into a position where you have the choice of certain or probable death, or possible death by Kamikaze knot, then using the Suicide knot is your Claytons choice.

Bear Grills showed it in use in his reality show (which we all know a never staged), - or did he? Watching the video, not once does it show him on abseil with just the knot holding his weight. I'll let you decide if he really did it.

  • 4
    The fact that Bear Grylls advocates it tells me for sure that I don't want to do it.
    – user2169
    Aug 12, 2015 at 3:45

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