Virtual fiddlestick

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  • Virtual fiddlestick
  • A Virtual fiddlestick is basically building a FiddleStick out of rope.



    A Virtual fiddlestick can be constructed with absolutely no gear, which makes it a fantastic self-rescue technique.

    All you need is two ropes and they can have multiple knots on each side, you will still be able to recover them all.

    The Virtual fiddlestick will NOT come undone under load, making it safer than the actual Fiddlestick for swift water environments.


    Great care must be given to tying and laying out the ropes. To make this technique effective you must practice it beforehand multiple times. Reading about it and trying it out on the field for the first time will NOT WORK.

    • If not enough loops of rope are stacked together, the knot may "taco" and become stuck.
    • Do NOT use a supple 8mm rope as fidlestick replacement, use the thickest rope you have
    • The first loop should have a long tail to avoid getting it tangled with the loops when pulling to release
    • The area in front of the anchor has to be cleared of brush and ostacles, or the rope might get stuck


    The Virtual Fiddlestick has higher chance of geting stuck than a real Fiddlestick, and if it gets stuck it will compromise all the ropes (rappel and pull line). The real fiddlestick almost always releases.


    First invented by Sonny Lawrence and Paul Stovall (San Bernardino Search & Rescue) in 2014