Must Know Climbing Knots

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CraigHardy

CraigHardy

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  • #1
If you haven't seen my (very long) thread on everything knots, please check it out here. In that thread, I covered just about every knot that piqued my interest in one of my favorite knot books. While the book did cover over 100 knots, I'm not sure it included all of them. With that in mind, I decided to start a new thread that discussed climbing knots in particular. After all, it's climbing that I'm most interested in, so this should be a much more interesting thread than the one where I simply rehashed random content from a book. This thread will be more brief though. I'll only discuss six or seven knots here (maybe more). No need to go into some weird esoteric rope work on this page.
 
CraigHardy

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  • #2

Figure-8 Follow Through​

One of the most basic beginner climbing knots that's learned is called the Figure-8 Follow Through. The reason this one is so common is because it's the one that ties you into your harness. It's been pretty much established to be "the one" everyone uses. And after the knot is tied, it's followed up with a Fisherman's knot to make it super secure. I'll go ahead and demonstrate this knot below.

To tie this knot, I began with a regular Figure 8. To start, I made a bight with one end of my rope.

figure-8-follow-through-bight-in-rope.jpg

After that, I brought the working end around the backside of the standing part.

figure-8-follow-through-working-end-behind.jpg

Then, I brought the working end of the rope up and over the right side of the newly formed loop and then through the loop. I pulled both ends of the rope to make it semi-tight. Not too tight - just firm and in place. That gave me a Figure 8 knot.

figure-8-follow-through-working-end-through-loop.jpg

figure-8-knot.jpg

At this point, I'll begin with the "follow through" portion of this knot. To do that, I'll take the working end of the rope and fish if through the carabiner.

figure-8-knot-carabiner.jpg

Then, with the working end, I'll trace exactly along the lines of the Figure 8 knot. I'll feed the end of the rope through and follow where the existing knot goes.

figure-8-knot-tracing-working-end.jpg

And once I'm done with that, I'll have the Figure-8 Follow Through knot.

figure-8-follow-through-knot.jpg

But wait - that's not all. To make an already super secure knot even more secure, I'll finish up with a Double Fisherman's knot, which will secure the working end to the standing part.

figure-8-follow-through-double-fishermans-knot.jpg

I'll cover the Fisherman's knot down below.
 
CraigHardy

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  • #3

Triple Fisherman's Knot​

This is the knot most rock and tree climbers use to make homemade prusik loops. It's excellent for connecting two ropes together, but the prusik loop thing is where it's at. The Fisherman's knot is very secure and when you add additional wraps to the single or double, its security is strengthened even more.

For this example, I'll use two different colored ropes and combine them as one. I figure the different colors will make my demonstration more clear.

To start off, I'll place both ends of the ropes on a table, end to end and next to one another.

triple-fishermans-end-to-end.jpg

Then, I take the working end of one rope and place if over the other rope.

triple-fishermans-working-end-over-other-rope.jpg

I'll give the other rope a wrap.

triple-fishermans-first-wrap.jpg

And then a second wrap. And a third wrap after that.

triple-fishermans-second-wrap.jpg

triple-fishermans-third-wrap.jpg

After that, I'll take the working end of the rope and, making sure to pass over its own standing part, feed it under both wraps, up and out the top.

triple-fishermans-feed-working-end-under-wraps.jpg

To tighten the knot, I'll pull both ends of the rope.

To finish this knot, I'll follow the same instructions for the other rope. For my example, I basically attached the orange rope to the black and the black to the orange. Take a look.

triple-fishermans-two-ropes.jpg

When the two ropes are pulled away from one another, the knots come in contact with each other. These knots are strong!

triple-fishermans-connecting-ropes-together.jpg
 
CraigHardy

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  • #4

Flemish Bend/Figure 8 Bend​

This is a very popular knot that's considered very solid. It can hold a good amount of weight. As you'll see below, it's not likely that this knot will pull out. It's great for connecting two ropes together.

I'll need two ropes for this knot. To start off, I'll tie a figure 8 in one of the ropes.

flemish-bend-figure-8.jpg

Next, I'll introduce the next rope. My goal is to trace the figure 8's curves with the second rope.

flemish-bend-second-rope.jpg

I'll continue matching the orange rope with the black rope, turn for turn.

flemish-bend-second-rope-matching-turns.jpg

flemish-bend-second-rope-duplicate-turns.jpg

To tighten this knot, I'll pull the ends of both ropes. This is what the finished knot will look like.

flemish-bend-knot.jpg

If I wanted to get fancy, I'd use the loose working ends to tie Overhand safety knots.

flemish-bend-safety-knots.jpg

And if I wanted to get really fancy, I'd leave extra long working end tails so I could tie Double Fisherman's safety knots, but that's a story for another day.
 
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  • #5

Alpine Butterfly Loop​

This knot is super helpful in so many ways. It basically creates a loop along a run of any rope, without the need of having an end of the rope available. All you need to tie this is some slack. Once the loop is tied, anything can be hung from it in either direction. This is a strong knot that's not going to come loose. It can form anchors and clip in points along any point of the rope. Thinking of how this one may be useful with tree work, tying this knot and then lowering it down to a ground guy to clip a new saw or tool to comes to mind. I also think it would be helpful to tie near my saddle so I have an additional clip in point for complicated pruning or takedowns.

Another less thought of use for this knot would be to isolate an area of damaged rope. Say you nick a piece of rope and you don't trust it anymore. You think it may break if pulled on. You can tie the Alpine Butterfly loop to essentially take the damaged part out of operation.

To tie this knot, I used my black rope, which is definitely the most flexible one I've got. The twists and turns don't show as well as my other colored ropes, but try to keep an eye on what's overlapping what.

To start off, I made a bight in the middle of the rope.

alpine-butterfly-loop-bight-in-rope.jpg

Then, I gave the bight two twists.

alpine-butterfly-loop-two-twists.jpg

If you'll notice, there are now two loops, one on top and one on bottom. I'll take hold of the one on top and fold it under the one on bottom.

alpine-butterfly-loop-smaller-larger-loop.jpg

Again, I've got two loops. This time, I'll take hold of the bottom one and pass it through the smaller one on top.

alpine-butterfly-loop-top-bottom-loop.jpg

To finish things off, I'll pull that loop all the way through until the knot is tight.

alpine-butterfly-loop.jpg
 
CraigHardy

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  • #6

Clove Hitch​

The Clove hitch is one of the most popular knots in the world. For good reason. It's a self tightening knot, meaning, the most tension that's put on it, the tighter it will get. This is an especially important knot for tree work. Whether it be climbing or lowering limbs, this one comes in handy all day long.

To tie this knot, I first made two loops with my rope. Take a look at the photo below and keep your eye on how the ropes are positioned. Do you see how the rope leaves the loop on top on the left side, but on the right side, it leaves the loop underneath? That's important.

clove-hitch-two-loops.jpg

Next, I took the right loop and slid it over so it sits on top of the left loop.

clove-hitch-loop-over-loop.jpg

Then I clipped my carabiner onto the loops. Notice how the ends of the rope exit the knot between the loops.

clove-hitch-loose-carabiner.jpg

To tighten the knot, all I did was pull the ends of the rope.

clove-hitch.jpg

If I were to use this as some sort of termination knot, I'd certainly tie a safety stopper knot at the end of my rope. Also, if I were going to use this knot to lower limbs, I'd finish things off with a double overhand knot or something with the two ends of the rope.
 
CraigHardy

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  • #7

Prusik Knot​

This knot is universally accepted as one of the most popular and useful climbing knots out there, not only for rock climbers, but for tree climbers as well. This one is extremely helpful for ascending, maneuvering around the tree when you're saddled in, self rescue, and descending. The knot easily slides along a climbing rope when there's no tension on it, but locks right up the moment weight is put upon it. It's also bidirectional, meaning, it slides and locks in both directions.

To tie this knot, I first created a Prusik loop with an 8mm diameter rope. Then, I made a bight with one side of the loop and placed it on top of my climbing rope.

prusik-knot-first-pass.jpg

Next, I bent the bight around the climbing rope.

prusik-knot-bight-over-climbing-rope.jpg

After that, I lifted the end of the bight so I could easily pass the other side of the Prusik loop through it.

prusik-knot-loop-through-bight.jpg

And finally, I gave the climbing rope two and then three wraps with the Prusik loop.

prusik-knot-two-wraps.jpg

prusik-knot.jpg

After I pulled the ends tight and dressed the knot, it was ready to go.
 
CraigHardy

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  • #8

Munter Hitch​

If you ever go looking for belay devices for either rock climbing or tree work, you'll find yourself in a sea of steel and aluminum. There are tons of things that will help you descend from a rock or a tree. If you're a climber, you really should pick a device up. They range in cost from just a few dollars to $100 and up. I saw a figure 8 I liked the other day. I think it cost $7.99. That's not bad.

Sometimes, belay devices break, fall out of trees, or just get lost. It's times like these you'll want to employ a backup belay...knot. That's where the Munter hitch comes in. It's basically a knot that can be used with a regular carabiner. No additional fancy device needed. The trouble with this hitch is that it can be hard on climbing ropes, so you wouldn't want to use it all the time. Every so often is fine, but it can add a lot of wear and tear to whatever you use as a rope.

To tie this hitch, I made two bights in the middle of my rope. If you were at the top of wherever it was you'd want to descend from, you'd created your bights right in front of you.

munter-hitch-two-bights.jpg

Next, I'll give the bight on the right two twists. Notice which way I twist. I bring the far side under, toward the other bight.

munter-hitch-two-twists.jpg

I'll take my carabiner and clip to the ropes from underneath.

munter-hitch-carabiner.jpg

And finally, I'll pull both ends of the rope and I'll have a wonderful Munter hitch. Notice how the bottom rope is away from the gate of the carabiner. This is for safety. Make sure yours is like this too.

munter-hitch.jpg
 
Must Know Climbing Knots was posted on 05-28-2021 by CraigHardy in the Outdoor Forum forum.

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