Line Check: Fundamentals of Up-Line Management

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This one-day, in-person workshop is an in-depth, hands-on exploration of up-line management for partial or full suspension.

There are many ways to manage adding up-lines to harnesses when enjoying partial or full suspension, and you’ll likely see a wide variety at events or in images. But how do the different choices impact the experience of the person in the rope? And how do you know if the methods you’re seeing would be “safe enough” for you and your risk profile? And is it OK to hang from that thing in the ceiling using this rope and a single carabiner?

This workshop will answer these and other questions, provide a good starting point for those considering partial or full suspension, and serve as a review and self-check of the understanding and technique of those who have already started down that path.

We believe both tops and bottoms should understand the concepts we will address in this workshop in order to make informed decisions about risk. We also believe that rope tops should know how to successfully and efficiently execute these skills and rope bottoms should be able to recognize whether or not these skills are being executed successfully and efficiently in order to mitigate risk in suspension. After all: it’s the bottom who is most likely to pay the price if something goes wrong!

PLEASE NOTE: This workshop focuses on up-lines only! This is not a workshop that teaches tying for suspension. We will be primarily working with up-lines and weights, and as such, a rope bottom is not required for participation. However, attendees may offer to bottom for practicing up-line techniques through partial suspension if they are willing to do so. But we are not teaching or conducting full suspensions in this workshop, as that is not the goal or focus.


While all experience levels are encouraged to attend as observers, participants should–at minimum–be at a place in their rope journey where they feel ready to begin adding up-lines to their rope work. This implies a solid understanding of the fundamentals of tying well (placement, tension, control, and structure), working together in rope, and basic floor work concepts, techniques, and experience.

Intended Audience

  • Tops and bottoms who are ready to start exploring suspension and want to understand their choices in working with up-lines and suspension points.
  • Tops and bottoms who are already suspending and want to check their up-line management skills and understanding, explore a range of options, and fill in any gaps that may exist.
  • Tops and bottoms who are not yet ready for suspension but are interested in pursuing it at some point and want to start gaining an understanding of up-line management.

Content Summary

  • General concepts related to risk, readiness for suspension, and the physics behind it all
  • The important differences between suspending using natural-fiber rope (in the shibari tradition) and using synthetic rope (in the Western / fusion tradition), though we will be focusing on natural-fiber techniques
  • The variety of suspension-related hardware and the pros and cons of different choices
  • The creation of suspension points using: rope, slings, webbing, rings, carabiners, and horizontal and vertical poles
  • The various options for attaching to ties and considerations to guide where and how you attach
  • Controlling the creation, lifting, and lowering of up-lines
  • The various options for locking off an up-line depending on suspension point type (ring, pole, etc.) and type of rope, along with the pros and cons of a few different methods
  • Strategies for managing multiple up-lines
  • Guidelines for dealing with common up-line related difficulties