How To Nail The Royal Marines' Commando Crawl

FHM’s essential guide to climbing ropes in the most masculine way possible. You’re welcome...

Okay, first of all, it’s a common myth that the Commando Crawl (a method of moving along a suspended rope, military fashion) is actually called the ‘Commando Crawl’. It isn’t. There’s no official name, it’s just a method often used by Royal Marine Commandos to get themselves off sticky, high up, situations.

And it turns out it’s very hard to get right.

Luckily, FHM thrives on this sort of opportunity to embarrass ourselves, so, on a rainy weekend in Wales, we set out to master the Commando Crawl (for the purposes of this, we’ll still call it the Commando Crawl, because we’re lazy).

Pay attention, and try not to notice the ripped crotch on our writer’s trousers...


01 Get Up

Whether you’ve slipped off the rope over a fifty metre crevasse, or are trying to get up there in the first place, the important thing is to first of all position yourself underneath the rope, with a hand on either side.

Then, pull yourself up, so that your body weight is on top of the rope, wrapping your right leg around the rope, with the left leg dangling below at 90 degrees. Make sure to tuck the rope into the corresponding armpit and stick your left arm straight out horizontally and level with your eyes.

02   Swing

You should now be balanced precariously on top of the rope, but you’re far from in the ideal position. Gripping the rope, bring your right hand down towards your knee, keeping your other hand extended at rope level.

Now you’re going to swing like a pendulum, using your outstretched hand and leg to drive you round like rudders pushing you upwards. Rock back and forth until you get momentum, then go for it.

03   Get into position

As the swing lifts you up, bend your right knee and place the laces of your right shoe on top of the rope. Leave your left leg hanging below for balance. As you came up onto the rope, you’ll have tucked your right hand into your body and brought your left arm under the rope, gripping slightly in front of your face.

04  Crawl, dammit

You should now be in a horizontal position on top of the rope and able to move along without any trouble. Anchored by your left leg and held in place by your right leg and hand, your can now push yourself along the length of the rope to safety.

Do this by reaching out with your left arm (about half a metre) and pulling yourself along, pushing with your right foot as your move, bringing your body up into the new position. Keep your right hand tight to your torso to help hold it in place and swing the left leg gently if you feel yourself starting to lose your balance.

And there you have it. We suggest practising in your back garden first, or better yet, go get an expert to talk you through it all face to face (they’ll also be able to help you up when you slip).

Keep at it, and you’ll have it down in no time.

FHM learned this and more at the Bear Grylls Survival Academy in the Brecon Beacons. Book your own place at beargryllssurvivalacademy.com