View Full Version : Getting out of rope handcuffs

10-29-2014, 12:22 AM
So, my two main characters are tied to a pole, with rope. I want to know how they could get out of this. I know with handcuffs you can often break your thumb and slip your hand out. Would this work with rope? Would you need to break more? Or would it not work at all? Sorry if this is a dumb question, I have no experience with this sort of thing!

10-29-2014, 12:39 AM
How skilled are the people who tied them there, and how big of a hurry were they in? IMO, inexperienced people tend to tie tightly and clumsily.

If one loop is loose, it's a simple matter of twisting your wrist out around it. Then the slack can be used to wiggle out of the rest.

When you're tying someone's wrists, it's important to keep the knot well away from their fingers. A person can often sort of work their hands inside the bonds until they can reach the knot. An inexperienced villain (or a person in a hurry) might not realize that your characters can reach the knot.

Maybe your characters can't reach their own knots, but one can reach the other's?

Maybe the ropes are tied too tightly. Circulation gets cut off. The heroes convince a guard to loosen the bonds. Guard grumbles but checks anyway, sees the heroes' hands are purple, swollen, and cold. An escape attempt happens or something?

I remember reading one of the Redwall books when I was a child. One of the heroes gets captured and tied, then left on a beach to drown over a course of days. As the water rises, the rope swells and tightens. The tide goes down before they drown, and the rope dries out. The rope is now loose enough to wiggle out of. I thought that particular escape was clever.

King Neptune
10-29-2014, 12:39 AM
There are many possibilities. It would depend on how the wrists were tied. If they are tight enough, then the only escape would be cutting the rope. If the hands were loosely tied, then slipping out would be possible. The exact method would depend on how far above the head the hands were, the kind of rope, etc.

T Robinson
10-29-2014, 12:41 AM
You might want to research a bit more. If wrists are big enough, breaking the thumb, if even possible, might not work.

As to rope, you have to hope the victim has enough sense to slightly expand their wrists to give some room to work after the bad guys leave. If they are back to back, they may be able to help each other.

10-29-2014, 12:50 AM
(Another thing to keep in mind is that if you rely on the villain tying the rope badly and make the escape too simple, you risk readers calling bullshit.)

Drachen Jager
10-29-2014, 02:22 AM
I think any rope escape has to be done with some kind of special skill. Take Mel Gibson from Lethal Weapon, he could dislocate his shoulder, which was introduced earlier in the film, but the bad guys didn't know, so when he escapes it's no surprise, and doesn't rely on bad guy incompetence.

I can tie a person up so they can't escape without something special like a hidden knife (I also know how to search for hidden knives). I'd expect any bad guy worth reading about to be at least equal to that. Yes, if just the wrists are tied together, maybe you could slip out somehow, but who simply ties a couple of people by the wrists to a tree and leaves them alone with plenty of time to escape?

10-29-2014, 02:35 AM
The wildest escape I ever read was a Dick Francis. The hero was unconscious and woke up with his hands behind his back and tied together around a tree. Got the picture?

During the night it pissed down with rain. The tree was a sapling in soft soil and it rained hard enough for the tree to move when the hero rocked against it. And the hero escaped by pushing and shoving the tree hard enough to push it over in the soft soil.

Ah! you are thinking. What about the roots?

The hero had to break each one still in the soil to get the handcuffs away from the tree.

And now I come to write it out, it's really silly. But the way Francis wrote it, it worked.

So the moral of the story is, write it well and it will work.

Marian Perera
10-29-2014, 02:48 AM
Just don't have a dog conveniently chew through the ropes. I read this in a book once - the heroine is tied up with her hands behind her, but her puppy is with her at the time, so it bites through the ropes for some reason. Maybe they were soaked in gravy.

I just said "Oh, come ON!" and wondered if this had been inspired by a Tintin book.

10-29-2014, 05:21 AM
Two questions:

Why rope and how much training do these people have?

If you replace your shoe laces with 550 cord, or paracord as it is sometimes called, you can use it as a friction saw. It will cut through zip ties in 30 seconds and duck tape/ rope in a few minutes.


10-29-2014, 04:46 PM
If your hands tied to someone else behind your back, how do you get the laces out of your shoes?

10-29-2014, 07:05 PM
If your hands tied to someone else behind your back, how do you get the laces out of your shoes?

That's why I asked how much training do they have, every escape siutation is different. You can make a situation impossible, if you want to, however, it sounds like the OP wants a difficult but escapable siuation without it being cheesy.

As to my hands behind my back, as always it depends on the situation, but I would get down on my knees with my feet behind me and have the other person undo one of my shoe laces.