Suspension Bondage Is Dangerous

We love suspension bondage and we’re excited to share it with you. We want to be very clear, however, about the risks involved.

1. Suspension bondage involves unavoidable risk. Like rock climbing, suspension is a risky activity. Good preparation and training can reduce your risk, but even if you do everything right there is still a chance that you may be injured or killed, or that you may injure or kill another person.

2. We don’t have all the answers. Unlike rock climbing, suspension bondage has no professional standards bodies and no expert consensus about best practices. This book is based on years of study, practice, and consultation with outside experts. Nonetheless, you should be aware that suspension is still a developing field, and our understanding of the best way to do things is still evolving.

3. You can’t learn suspension from a book. The only safe way to learn suspension is to work with a qualified instructor or mentor. This book is a valuable adjunct to expert instruction, but not a substitute for it. Without a skilled teacher to guide and evaluate you, you cannot learn suspension without placing your partner in tremendous danger.

4. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Suspension is fun and exciting, and you will likely be tempted to rush ahead and try activities that you aren’t yet ready for. We can’t stress enough the importance of proceeding slowly and methodically, and always working within your skill level.

5. Always use good judgment. Your best defense against mishap is your own common sense and good judgment. Always be mindful of what you’re doing, and err on the side of caution.

Your partner is placing tremendous faith in your competence and judgment. If you are careless or overly ambitious, they are likely to pay a heavy price for your foolishness. Make sure that you are worthy of their trust.

Suspended Animation accepts no responsibility for any injury or death which may occur as a result of the activities described in this book. By reading this book, you agree to take full responsibility for your actions and their consequences.


Lark’s Head


The lark’s head is simple to tie and highly secure so long as the rope ends are kept together and loaded equally.

Use this knot for:

  • Quickly attaching non-critical vertical lines to body harnesses.
  • Attaching an additional rope to a body harness. It’s a great choice for adding shoulder lines to a chest harness.
  • General utility use.

Do not use this knot for:

  • Anywhere strength is critical: the lark’s head weakens the rope more than two half hitches.
  • Applications where the ends of the rope are unevenly loaded.
  • Speed-sensitive applications when using a long rope. The regular version of the lark’s head is slow to tie in a long rope, so two half hitches may be faster in some cases.

Tying the lark’s head


The lark’s head is one of the easiest knots to tie. Begin by passing the bight of the rope around the object you are attaching to.


Pass the standing end through the bight.

Fast variant: step 1

If you’re attaching to an object that isn’t closed (for example, a pole whose end you have access to), there’s a much faster way to tie the lark’s head.

Fold the bight of the rope over so it lies on top of the standing end.

Fast variant: step 2

Pass the object you are attaching to through the two loops formed between the bight and the standing end.

With practice, you can tie this version of the lark’s head in seconds, using only one hand.

Lark’s head on a ring

This is a handy variant of the lark’s head that you can tie on a closed ring. We use it for attaching slings to a rappel ring when building a yoke.


Pass the sling through the ring.


Fold the sling behind the ring.


Pull the lark’s head snug.


You can add more than one sling to a ring in this way. The secret is to attach all the slings to the ring before you attach anything else to the slings, so that you can pass them through each other.

This is our preferred way of building a yoke for a suspension bar.