Rock climbing knots
How to tie Rock climbing knots
There are many knots used in climbing, rappelling and mountaineering. Popular climbing knots are briefly described and depicted in this article.
Beer knot: The Beer knot is often used in tubular webbing, usually for making slings.
A beer knot is a bend used in tubular webbing. Its most common application is in slings used in rock climbing. Compared with the water knot, it has the advantages of a higher strength , smaller profile, and a cleaner appearance due to the lack of free-hanging tails. However, the beer knot can be more difficult to tie than the water knot, and one of the tails is hidden from view, making safety checks for adequate tail length more difficult.
Double fisherman knot (aka Grapevine):The Grapevine knot is useful to tie together two ends of ropes. Ropes can be of unequal sizes. It is often used to tie both ends of the same rope together to form a circleTie
Tie Different Knot Tying Instructions
The double fisherman's knot or grapevine knot is a bend, or a knot used to join two lengths of rope. This knot and the triple fisherman's knot are the variations used most often in climbing, arboriculture, and search and rescue. The knot is formed by tying a double overhand knot, in its strangle knot form, with each end around the opposite line's standing part.
A primary use of this knot is to form high strength loops of cord for connecting pieces of a climber's protection system. Another common use for this knot is to back up a critical knot, such as a harness tie-in knot or single-line rappel rigs. In this use, the running end is tied around the standing end of the rope, so that it cannot slip back through the knot.
This knot, along with the basic fisherman's knot can be used to join the ends of a necklace cord. The two double overhand knots are left separated, and in this way the length of the necklace can be adjusted without breaking or untying the strand.
Triple fisherman's knot
The triple fisherman's knot is a bend knot, used to join two ends of rope together. It is an extension of the double fisherman's knot and is recommended for tying slippery, stiff ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) and aramid cored ropes.
Tying the triple fisherman's knot is nearly identical to the double fisherman's, except for a third wrap before passing the end through each half of the knot.
Testing has shown that a failure mode exists at very high loads with the double fisherman's knot in ropes using Spectra and Technora cores. The sheath of the rope separates at the knot and the high lubricity core slips through the double fisherman's knot. Although the increase in ultimate strength is small, the triple fisherman's knot does not exhibit this behavior. This has led to the recommendation to use the triple fisherman's knot to avoid this particular failure mechanism.
The triple fisherman's knot should not be confused with the "triple-T fisherman's knot", which is more akin to a one-sided overhand bend and has significantly different properties than the triple fisherman's knotTie
Overhand bend (aka European death knot, Euro death knot, EDK):The Overhand bend is a simple and fast way to join two ropes, notably for rappelling. Can be very useful in situations where speed is critical to safety. It is similar to a water knot, but both bitter ends come out the same side of the knot.
The offset water knot is a knot used to join two ropes together. The offset water knot is formed by holding two rope ends next to each other and tying an overhand knot in them as if they were a single line. Due to its common use in several fields, this bend has become known by many names.
Easily formed in most line, the offset water knot can be difficult or impossible to untie once tightened, if the knot's dressing has parts falling out of a neat, parallel ("twin") orientation. Long used by weavers to join the ends of yarn, the offset water knot is very old. It was one of the knots likely identified among the possessions of Ötzi the Iceman, who dates from 3300 BC. The knot is also tied in a slipped form by mechanical balers to bind straw and hay, but this bend is not practical to use as a binding knot when tied by hand.
In climbing and mountaineering
In rock climbing, the offset water knot is a favored knot for joining two ropes for a rappel longer than half the length of the ropes. (Although it can fail by capsizing under high loads, abseiling/rappelling doesn't generate such forces, and the knot, being on one side of the twin lines used in abseil, sees only half of this force.) American climbers, presumably believing the knot to be used only in hay bales or otherwise too vulnerable to flyping (inversion by capsizing), came to refer to it as the European Death Knot, abbreviated to EDK. But such capsizing is actually highly unlikely, and with the tails left long—and that is common advice—capsizing will likely make the knot tighter.
Despite questions about this knot's security, it does present some advantages for use in rappels. Because the knot is offset from the axis of tension, it can slide more easily over rough surfaces than other knots; and it is quickly tied and readily untied. Along with its comparatively small size, this aids in rope retrieval by reducing its chance of getting stuck on edges, in cracks, or descent equipment. Since a stuck rope on a descent also represents a serious hazard to climbers, these advantages, along with ease of tying, have led to its popularity. It is recommended by some sources with the caveats that the ends be left very long (>30 cm), the knot be carefully dressed and fully tightened by pulling individually on all four strands, and then subjected only to moderate rappelling loads.
The Offset Figure Eight Bend, a similar knot using the figure-eight knot, has been used in the belief that its greater size and complexity brings more security. But testing and more than one fatal failure indicate the figure-eight variant to be less secure, more prone to capsize at lower loads, and in capsizing uses more of the ends than does a capsizing overhand bend. Moreover, while there is one obvious proper dressing of the Overhand Bend, there are a couple of dressings for the Offset Figure Eight Bend
Water knot (aka Tape Knot, Double Overhand Bend, Ring Bend):The Water knot is useful to tie together two ends of ropes. Often used with webbing.
It is tied by forming an overhand knot in one end and then following it with the other end, feeding in the opposite direction.
The ends should be left at least 3 inches (7.6 cm) long and the knot should be "set" by tightening it with full body weight. The ends can be taped or lightly sewn to the standing parts to help prevent them from creeping back into the knot
Some testing has shown that the water knot, in certain conditions, can slip very slightly but very consistently, with cyclic loading & unloading at relatively low forces; it is the tail on the exterior that slips (this would be the blue tail in the image presented here). In tests using 9/16 in (14.3 mm) tubular nylon webbing, repeated loading and unloading with 250 lbs (113 kg) caused one of the 3 in (76 mm) tails to work back into the knot in just over 800 loading cycles. Another test showed similar results for Spectra tape (but not for new, 1 inch tubular nylon). And yet the knot can be loaded to rupture without slippage. These results validate the need to leave adequate tails and inspect water knots before each use. With single overhand knot safeties on either end, the combination eventually seized and the slipping stopped.
Although used extensively in climbing and caving, there is some opinion that the water knot is unsafe. According to Walter Siebert, several deaths have been reported due to failure of this knot. In Germany, the knot is also named the knot of death
The strangle knot is a simple binding knot. Similar to the constrictor knot, it also features an overhand knot under a riding turn. A visible difference is that the ends emerge at the outside edges, rather than between the turns as for a constrictor. This knot is actually a rearranged double overhand knot and makes up each half of the double fisherman's knot
Bachmann knot:The Bachmann knot is useful when the friction hitch needs to be reset quickly/often or made to be self-tending as in crevasse and self-rescu
The Bachmann hitch (sometimes misspelled 'Bachman') is a friction hitch. It is useful when the friction hitch needs to be reset quickly/often or made to be self-tending as in crevasse and self-rescue. (See Prusik knot)
The Bachmann hitch requires the use of a carabiner. It does not matter if the carabiner is locking or not. Most importantly, the carabiner must be of round cross section for friction. Grabbing hold of the carabiner will release the friction and allow the hitch to slide freely and thus be moved appropriately. To remove the Bachmann hitch, just unclip the top loop, hold on to the carabiner and pull the cord free.
This knot is frequently tied using a sling made from 1" tubular webbing. In this case wrap the webbing 3 times around the rope (this means the carabiner gate must be opened 3 times in the tying of the knot) for normal (dry) applications. There are a limited number of applications that involve repeated shock loads to the knot and in these 4 wraps are usually sufficient.
However, with non-locking carabiner it is safer to use the knot with carabiner gate opening facing down (opposite to what is shown in the picture). This decreases the risk of self-unclipping: at maximum, one twist goes off. Otherwise, the whole knot may fail.
Clove hitch:The Clove hitch is used in belay systems among other things.The clove hitch is a type of knot. Along with the bowline and the sheet bend, it is often considered one of the most important knots and is commonly referred to as a Double Hitch.A clove hitch is two successive half-hitches around an object. It is most effectively used as a crossing knot. It can be used as a binding knot, but is not particularly secure in that role. A clove hitch made around the rope's own standing part is known as either two half-hitches or buntline hitch, depending on whether the turns of the clove hitch progress away from or towards the hitched object.
Italian hitch (aka Munter hitch, HMS):The Italian hitch is a simple knot, used by climbers and cavers as part of a life-lining or belay system. Its main use is as a friction device for controlling the rate of descent in belay systems.
The Munter hitch, also known as the Italian hitch or the Crossing Hitch, is a simple knot, commonly used by climbers, cavers, and rescuers as part of a life-lining or belay system. To climbers, this knot is also known as HMS, the abbreviation for the German term Halbmastwurfsicherung, meaning half clove hitch belay. This technique can be used with a special "pear-shaped" HMS locking carabiner, or any locking carabiner wide enough to take two turns of the rope. The Munter hitch is named after a Swiss mountain guide, Werner Munter, who popularised its use in mountaineering.
The hitch is simply a set of wraps using a rope or cord around an object, generally a round object like a pipe, pole or more commonly, a carabiner. Its main use is as a friction device for controlling the rate of descent in belay systems.
Klemheist knot:The Klemheist knot is an alternative to the Prusik knot, useful when the climber is short of cord but has plenty of webbing.
The klemheist knot or Machard knot is a type of friction hitch that grips the rope when weight is applied, and is free to move when the weight is released. It is used similarly to a Prusik knot or the Bachmann knot to ascend or descend a climbing rope. One advantage is that webbing can be used as an alternative to cord. The Klemheist is easier to slide up than a Prusik. The klemheist is also a way to attach a snubber to the anchor rope of small boats, with the advantage that it is easy to undo.
Sometimes the knot name is misspelled as kleimheist, with an extra i. Klem means clamp in Dutch.
Prusik:The Prusik is a knot used mainly for emergency use. Some carry between one to three cords specifically for prusiks. One can be used to quickly secure a person's position to correct problems with equipment; two can be used as a method of ascending a rope.
A Prusik is a friction hitch or knot used to put a loop of cord around a rope, applied in climbing, canyoneering, mountaineering, caving, rope rescue, and by arborists. The term Prusik is a name for both the loops of cord and the hitch, and the verb is "to prusik". More casually, the term is used for any friction hitch or device that can grab a rope. The word is often misspelled as Prussik, Prussick or Prussic, as it is a homophone with the term prussic acid.
The Prusik hitch is named after its alleged inventor, Austrian mountaineer Karl Prusik. It was shown in a 1931 Austrian mountaineering manual for rope ascending. It was used on several mountaineering routes of the era to ascend the final summit, where a rope could be thrown over the top and anchored so that climbers could attain the summit by prusiking up the other side of the rope.
A prusik made from cord does little or no damage to the rope it is attached to, although some mechanical prusiks can cause damage, especially if the device slips during prusiking.
Blake's hitch:Blake's hitch is widely used in tree climbing applications. The knot can be slid up and down a line manually, but when loaded, it sticks securely.The Blake's Hitch is a friction hitch commonly used by arborists and tree climbers as an ascending knot. Unlike other common climbing hitches, which often use a loop of cord, the Blake's hitch is formed using the end of a rope. Although it is a stable knot, it is often backed up with a stopper knot, such as a figure-of-eight knot, for safety. It is used for both ascending and descending, and is preferred by many arborists over other hitches, such as the taut-line hitch, as it is less prone to binding.
Girth hitch: This hitch is commonly used to attach loops of runner to harnesses, bags, other kinds of equipment, and to natural features like rock knobs or brush/tree trunks for protection.
The cow hitch is a hitch knot used to attach a rope to an object. The cow hitch comprises a pair of half-hitches tied in opposing directions, as compared to the clove hitch in which the half-hitches are tied in the same direction. It has several variations and is known under a variety of names. It can be tied either with the end of the rope or with a bight.
Alpine butterfly knot:The Alpine Butterfly is a strong and secure loop knot. Allows load distribution in multiple directions. It can also be used to isolate a worn section of rope.
The butterfly loop, also known as lineman's loop, butterfly knot, alpine butterfly knot and lineman's rider, is a knot used to form a fixed loop in the middle of a rope. Tied in the bight, it can be made in a rope without access to either of the ends; this is a distinct advantage when working with long climbing ropes. The butterfly loop is an excellent mid-line rigging knot; it handles multi-directional loading well and has a symmetrical shape that makes it easy to inspect. In a climbing context it is also useful for traverse lines, some anchors, shortening rope slings, and for isolating damaged sections of rope
Figure-of-eight loop:The Figure-of-eight loop is considered strong and secure. Can be tied by taking a bight of rope and tying a figure-of-eight knot or can be tied directly around/through objects before weaving back through the first figure eight knot (Figure-of-eight follow through).
A figure-eight loop (also figure-eight on a bight or Flemish loop or Flemish eight) is a type of knot created by a loop on the bight. It is used in climbing and caving where rope strains are light to moderate and for decorative purposes. The knot is commonly followed by tying a strangle knot (AKA Half a Double Fisherman's Knot) or an overhand knot around the standing end.
The double figure eight is used to put a loop in the end of a rope, or around an object. It is relatively easy to tie and is secure, but can become difficult to untie after heavy loading, and can jam badly in any rope type
Directional Figure-of-eight Loop: The Inline figure-of-eight loop is similar to a figure-of-eight loop but used to form a loop that will be loaded longitudinally in a line under tension. Particularly useful in rope tightening systems where the loop is established as a means to secure a pulley or carabiner onto the main line to reduce the amount of work needed to tighten the entire system. Similar to a trucker's hitch.
The directional figure eight (aka inline figure-eight loop) is a loop knot. It is a knot that can be made on the bight. The loop must only be loaded in the correct direction or the knot may fail. It is useful on a hauling line to create loops that can be used as handholds. It also provides a place to attach a Z-Drag to the line when prusiks are unavailable.
Double bowline: The double bowline is commonly used by sport climbers who take multiple lead falls and then have trouble untying their figure eights.
Double Figure Eight Loop (aka Bunny Ears): Used for equalising two anchors using the rope.
Yosemite bowline: Also called a bowline with a Yosemite finish, this is another way of tying the rope to the harness.
A Yosemite bowline is loop knot often perceived as having better security than a bowline. However, it has been pointed out that if the knot is not dressed correctly it can potentially collapse into a noose.
A Yosemite bowline is made from a bowline with the free end wrapped around one leg of the loop and tucked back through the knot, a final round turn and reeve commonly known as a "Yosemite finish." The knot's security is enhanced (allegedly) by preventing the bowline 'capsizing' to form a highly dangerous slip-knot. Additional safety is achieved by tying with a tail (see below). When finished, the working end forms a figure eight.
Because of the danger of incorrectly tying the yosemite bowline, it may be safer and less error-prone to use a standard or double bowline with a backup stopper knot added the tail, such as a double overhand knot tied around the loop.
The Yosemite finish can be applied to other bowline variants, such as the double bowline.
While the knot's versatility suggests it as a convenient tie-in for attaching a climbing rope to a climber's harness, the figure-of-eight follow through is the most common choice because it is more widely known and perhaps more easily checked. The Mountaineering Handbook is one of the few texts that suggest that the Yosemite bowline is better for this purpose. Suggested benefits of the bowline include being easier to untie after loading or when wet and frozen, and being possible to tie-in with only one hand. Testing found it a strong knot for the purpose.
It is recommended that any knot which is used to attach a rope to a safety harness is always finished with a 'stopper' knot. A stopper knot, while serving to keep the loose end tidy, will not only help to prevent failure of the primary knot, but also act as a secondary safety knot itself. It is sometimes said that if enough of a tail is left to tie a stopper knot, the stopper becomes unnecessary. The tail should be a minimum of 40 – 60 cm depending on the thickness of the rope.
Bowline on a bight: Used for equalizing anchorsThe Bowline on a bight is a knot which makes a pair of fixed-size loops in the middle of a rope. Its advantage is that it is reasonably easy to untie after being exposed to a strain. This knot can replace the figure-eight knot when tying into a climbing harness. However, it is critical to use a strong backup knot with plenty of tail beyond the kno.
Stopper KnotsThe stevedore knot is a stopper knot, often tied near the end of a rope. It is more bulky and less prone to jamming than the closely related figure-eight knot
There is a lack of consensus among knot experts regarding the origin of the name. Many sources, including The Ashley Book of Knots, suggest the knot was used by stevedores in their work loading and unloading ships. To raise and lower cargo they used large blocks and these required a larger stopper knot to prevent the line from running completely through the block.
However, in The Art of Knotting & Splicing, Cyrus Day disagrees, stating "the name originated in a pamphlet issued about 1890 by the C.W. Hunt Company, which sold rope under the name "Stevedore". It was subsequently adopted by dictionaries, engineers' handbooks, and other works of reference, and it is now firmly established in books, if not in the vocabulary of seame
Stevedore knot (aka Double figure eight):The Stevedore knot is tied at the end of a rope to prevent the end from unraveling, slipping through another knot, or passing back through a hole, block, or belay/rappel device. It is more bulky and less prone to jamming than the closely related figure-of-eight knot.
Overhand knot:The Overhand knot is a component of many knots used in climbing.
Monkey's fist:The Monkey's Fist is used to tie the end of a climbing rope into a tight ball so the rope can be thrown farther/easier.